borrowing the picture from Reversing Verses
By Benjamin H. Liles
If someone obeys God’s teaching, then in that person God’s love has truly reached its goal. This is how we can be sure we are living in God: Whoever says that he lives in God must live as Jesus lived. ~ 1 John 2:5-6, Expanded Bible
I truly believe one of the best ways to live as Jesus did is to seek the best in everyone. Paul wrote, "If you love someone, you will be loyal to him no matter what the cost. You will always believe in him, always expect the best of him, and always stand your ground in defending him" (1 Corinthians 13:7, Living). To me, this means simply that regardless the circumstance, regardless of the way I feel I will defend those I am to love, believing the best in that person. Scripture is clear on that.
The way the world stands, at this moment, we hear daily, "If that's the case you have to accept everyone as they are, where they are." This world demands those who follow Christ break God's word to accept others who live sin-filled, sin living lives. Jesus didn't. When He encountered someone who truly wanted change He commanded, "Go and sin no more" (John 8:11). And this means when the radical touch of Jesus comes on you, you desire a change of station.
Think about it this way: a sin-filled life is like living life in the alley ways, the byways, life among the dregs of humanity. Then on this particular day the most peculair thing happens, a man appears and he simply hands you the whitest of white gowns. It will never receive a stain, a wrinkle or a spot. All he says to you is, "Come and follow me. Live as I live and you will never have to live as you are now." That's all he says to you.
How many people did Jesus extend that invitation to and didn't they do amazing radical things because they chose to accept His offer? Many. A lot. Paul went on missionary journeys practically into the heart of Europe instead of remaining in Israel preaching to the Jews there. Paul was a man who knew God's word frontwards and backwards. And he gave up his zealous, perverted ways - from killing Christ followers - to being the most well championed follower of Jesus the Messiah until his dying day.
It's not the easiest thing to live in this world and to do as Jesus did. It's an amazingly hard life. Jesus didn't say, "Oh, once you are able to do what I am able to do, you will have it easy." No. Jesus, however, did say, "I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation (trouble, suffering). But take courage; I have overcome the world!" (John 16:33, Berean Study). Does this world offer the kind of peace Jesus gives? Not that I am aware of.
Yes, it's a hard thing to live in this world, to not go back to living life on the streets. It's far easier to say, "You know, Jesus, I don't want your white robe. It's hard living here. I can't obey because I'm so used to street life." No one who truly encountered Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah, that desired change and a change of heart wanted to keep living in filth. And that of course is what a sin-filled life looks like.
A sin-filled life looks like "It's all about me." This kind of life lived may look clean and pure, but it's living life among the bogs. Forget the living in the streets analogy. It's living a swamp lifestyle. It's the kind of life where you think you have a house in the sand kind of life. This house won't endure because it isn't secured on any rock. Without a house on the rocks, with a strong foundation, this house will be destroyed when the reality of life and the storms of life come. Yet, the sin-filled life says, "Hey, I can rebuild." Rebuild on what and with what? More quicksand?
The life Jesus desires for us means we dig into the things of God. We find out more about ourselves. It means giving up the life among the weeds and reeds. It means coming out of the quicksand and tar pits of life. It doesn't mean we won't get dirty. It means the robes God's given us won't stain. John wrote this, "Someone may say, “I am a Christian; I am on my way to heaven; I belong to Christ.” But if he doesn’t do what Christ tells him to, he is a liar" (1 John 2:4, Living). It is so easy to say, "I live for Christ," but in actuality this person does nothing to show or prove they actually do. No, this person lives in that quicksand. This person lives among the marshes, quicksand and tar pits. This person refuses to stand on the rock.
Living as Jesus did means having that secure foundation. It means diving deep into God's word regardlesss the struggle of understanding the word. It's the attitude that says, "Hey, I may not get it, but I don't want to quit it." It means looking hard and long in the mirror, kowing every line on your face, every wrinkle, and doing something about it. It's the kind of faith that is so securely planted on and in God that when storms and all sorts of what life can throw at you shows will not ever be destroyed (see Jeremiah 5:18-19).
Living as Jesus did means looking to God in all things. It doesn't just believe the best for others, looking out for one another, defending one another, or even being loyal to the very end. It means you stake your life that God is true. It means that no matter what comes your way, no fire, no lion can harm you over what the God of this universe can do. As it is written, "For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge His people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God...So do not throw away your confidence; it holds a great reward. You need to persevere, so that after you have done God’s will, you will receive what He has promised" (Hebrews 10: 30-36, abbreviated for brevity).
If you honestly and truly feel Jesus the Messiah has called out to you to give you His desires and His will, then do more and be more. Stand for what He truly stands for. It means taking a hard stand against extravagant sinful living. It means no more excess. It means living to see others succeed. It means lending a hand when you can and are able. It means denying yourself. It means picking up your cross and following Jesus to where He goes. Laying down that cross for anything short of the glory of God means you didn't care for the things He cares about. So, pick up that cross you have. Get out of the marsh of sinful life. Get out of the quicksand. Build your house on solid rock.
Father God, I know I don't always live tlife as You desire of me. I know You can and will help me with this. It means I forego all those things I am used to and have desired. I don't want the dregs of life, just barely getting by anymore. I want You, Lord. I want to see things as You do. I want to do the great and mighty things You allowed others to do in Your name. I want Your will. I want Your ways. I see what You see in me. I want that white robe that never stains. I want to be able to celebrate You even when those storms come. That's what I want. This is my heart's desire. No more quicksand, no more marsh life of living. I want the Rock that is higher than I. I want Jesus. Give me Jesus. In His name I pray. Amen.