—Treasure Beyond Measure

The Christian Walk

What is the goal of our Christian walk? How do we grow in the things of God? Where is God's will for you? In my earliest days as a Christian I wandered about aimlessly, not knowing what was right, who I was, or where I should be going. I only knew that Jesus was the Son of God and somehow through the cross he saved me. I knew that through my relationship to him I was going to end up in heaven. That was pretty much it.

I was spiritually an infant and there was no one around to help raise me in the knowledge of God, so I sought him out on my own. Because I was alone I made many unnecessary and painful mistakes. There is a better path than the one I trod upon.

Now that I have heard the gospel message and have believed that Jesus is the Son of God and have been baptized into his name, and now have a relationship with him, what do I do now? What is my short term goal? What is my long term goal? Do I in fact have a role to play or is it all God? These are important questions. Let us look into the Bible for the answers.

Romans 8:29

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (NIV84)

Jesus is the Son of God. He is the perfect image of what a child of God looks like. He is the goal. We are to be conformed into his likeness. See 1 John 2:3-6.

Your goal as a disciple of Christ is to be so like him, that if you and Jesus were to show up at a party, the other guests would think in their hearts; "You can sure tell that they are brothers," or "You can sure tell that they are brother and sister." There should be a loving bond of family between you and him, and a corresponding likeness in attitude and behavior.

Ephesians 5:1-2

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (NIV84)

The Holy Spirit here is admonishing you to offer up your life as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God, just like Jesus did. As Jesus did not live for his own pleasures, so you are to live for the glory of God, and the well being of his body, that is, the Church.

Do you think this is extreme? It is not extreme. It is fitting and right for God's holy children. Ah my brothers and sisters, I encourage you to have faith in God. Seek to be conformed into his image with your whole heart. Have faith in God. Empty yourself that you might be filled. Set your eyes upon the target and never turn back.

Let me show you a truth. Whatever you look at, will become bigger. For example: If you start reading magazines on computers and then buy one, spend time using it, then you buy books on computers--maybe a little programming on the side--then the Internet--maybe your own web page--more books--magazines--computer time... If this cycle extends over a period of a few years then computers will be much more important to you than the average person. The more you know, the more you want to know. You start to identify yourself with computers and can't imagine not having one. Maybe you wear a computer T-shirt, or put a bumper-sticker on you car or whatever. The point is, because you set your heart to know computers, they became an important part of your life. This is true of anything; stamp collecting; reading books; cars; girls/boys--whatever you give your time to will become bigger in your eyes.

Mark 4:24

Consider carefully what you hear," he continued. "With the measure you use, it will be measured to you -- and even more. (NIV84)

Notice Jesus said to be careful of what you give your attention to and how much attention you give. If you want to grow in the things of God, then seek God with your whole heart.

Hebrews 12:1-3

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (NIV84)

God has placed the joy of his promises before you too. The promise of an eternal union with him, entrance into his holy house and an endless life of love, joy, and peace. Considering the benefit, the eternal benefit, contrasted to the seventy or eighty years allotted to us here, should we live to please ourselves here and now, or would it be wise to deny ourselves now, and seek God fully, so as to inherit an eternal reward? God has given you this choice. Have Faith in God.

My brothers and sisters in the Lord, I am encouraging you, by God's Holy Spirit, to stop living to please yourself and fix your eyes upon Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith. Seek him with your whole heart. Seek him.

Don't think that because you have prayed the 'sinners prayer' and go to church that you have arrived.

Matthew 13:44

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. (NIV84)

God's gift to you is worth infinitely more than the entire earth and all it's false pleasures. Have faith in God. If you discard everything that is meaningless, like dross, and seek him with your whole heart, you will be rewarded a hundred times over.

Matthew 13:45-46

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it. (NIV84)

What these Scriptures are saying is that even though entrance into the Kingdom of God is free, you must pay with everything you have.

Matthew 10:37-39

Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (NIV84)

As Christians we are children of love; always searching for the opportunity to help or encourage. We are patient, gentle, and kind to everyone, even to the person who doesn't deserve it. We are imitators of Jesus. We walk like him, and talk like him.

How can we be children of love? By seeking to know God. By giving our time to his word and by walking in Jesus' steps.

I am not saying we should be more religious, that is, obeying rules so that we are more righteous. Rules are for unbelievers. We are to become like Jesus through our obedience to the commandment to love. Seek love. Seek to understand the love of God.

This is my advice to any who would receive it. Jesus is the Bread of Life and as such he is our spiritual food. The Word of God, that is, the Holy Bible, is a physical manifestation of the Bread of Life. Eat from the source of life for as many minutes a day as you eat physical food. Before you eat though, pray and ask God your Father to open up its meaning to you. Declare to him that whatever he makes known to you, you will do, (unless this is your plan he will not give you the understanding.)

Also take care to eat from the whole loaf--Old and New Testament. Take care not to eat too much preprocessed bread. What I mean by this is that people tend to eat only the part of the grain that tastes best, so they strip out the vitamins, oils and fiber and eat white bread. It is the same with most Christian studies. They are preprocessed and contain only the part that people like to eat. If this is your sole diet you shall surely die. It's okay to read the little studies from the Christian book store, the Word of the Day, or the Daily Bread etc., but understand that they are like candy. They taste good, but lack balanced wholesome nutrition. Partake of them with restraint, but eat frequent and filling meals from the Bread of Life.

Psalm 119
2 Blessed are they who keep his statutes
and seek him with all their heart.
10 I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.
15 I meditate on your precepts
and consider your ways.
16 I delight in your decrees;
I will not neglect your word.
18 Open my eyes that I may see
wonderful things in your law.
20 My soul is consumed with longing
for your laws at all times. (NIV84)

If you don't see yourself as thinking like these verses it means that you're not giving his Word enough of your attention. Please turn your attention to God, pray and obey, and he will fill you with these desires.

Psalm 119:
24 Your statutes are my delight;
they are my counselors.
27 Let me understand the teaching of your
then I will meditate on your wonders.
30 I have chosen the way of truth;
I have set my heart on your laws.
32 I run in the path of your commands,
for you have set my heart free.
33 Teach me, O LORD, to follow your decrees;
then I will keep them to the end.
34 Give me understanding, and I will keep your law
and obey it with all my heart.
35 Direct me in the path of your commands,
for there I find delight.
37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
preserve my life according to your word. (NIV84)

O Lord, may all who read this paper consider the temporary nature of the world and its fleeting pleasures and grasp the eternal nature of your blessings.

Forget yourself and become like Jesus, imitate him, reverence him and show him your love through your willingness to please him. See Philippians 2:5-11.

Psalm 119:
40 How I long for your precepts!
Preserve my life in your righteousness.
44 I will always obey your law,
for ever and ever.
45 I will walk about in freedom,
for I have sought out your precepts.
47 for I delight in your commands
because I love them.
56 This has been my practice:
I obey your precepts.
57 You are my portion, O LORD;
I have promised to obey your words.
58 I have sought your face with all my heart;
be gracious to me according to your promise.
59 I have considered my ways
and have turned my steps to your statutes.
60 I will hasten and not delay
to obey your commands. (NIV84)

This Psalm has always been my favorite section of the Bible. I could replace this article on the Christian walk with just this psalm. It conveys perfectly the attitude of the seeking child of God. I frequently pray its requests back to God, that is, I ask him to give me understanding so that I might be pleasing in his sight. I love to please God. It's my greatest joy; when I get it right and know that he is smiling.

O my brothers and sisters, whom I love, this is my earnest desire, that you seek God in truth, by reading your Bible, and that you grow in the image and likeness of God, that is, you become like your elder brother, Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 3:16-19

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge -- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (NIV84)

For those who think that they have arrived I ask; have you been filled to the measure of all the fullness of God? That is a promise worth seeking; worth denying myself TV time; I would give everything for that!

Romans 12:1-2

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God -- this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is -- his good, pleasing and perfect will. (NIV84)

People go to church and call their assembly a worship service, but true worship of God is shown by our willingness to empty ourselves of selfish desires and to give ourselves over to God, completely.

This is worship of God: To pray and ask God to reveal his truth in us, then to read from the Bible, and when God shows you something say; 'Yes Lord, I see that. I will correct that in myself.' When you do this, the Lord usually provides a test, to see if you truly will obey him, so expect it, and obey. Your obedience in this way serves to conform you into his likeness, that is, you start to understand God more correctly. You become more like God and so you begin to understand his will for you. This process has a fancy name, that is, sanctification, but this is what it means.

Please don't be deceived and think that the Kingdom of God is a matter of words. It is not words, but the Spirit that lives in the words. Please don't think that you can live your life as your own boss and be in God's Kingdom. If Jesus is your Lord, then he is your Lord. If he is your Lord, then when he says: 'Do this,' then do it.

Should I give you candy, or should I give you whole grain bread? You decide. Please don't think that what God is asking you is hard. It is not hard, it's easy and light, See Matthew 11:28-30 but it requires you to trust in God, that is, to believe that as you relinquish control over your life, that he will protect you and fill you and pour out his love in you. This is what faith in God really is, trusting he will care for you, See Hebrews 11:6.

Jesus summed up the Christian walk with this sentence. "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Matthew 6:33. (NIV84)

This is a letter of love to any who will receive it. It is because I love you that I am admonishing you. When the Lord comes I want to hear these words: "Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!', not only spoken to me, but all my brothers and sisters. Open your heart and listen to me, actually not me, but the Scriptures. Look at this:

Revelation 3:14-22

To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:

These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm -- neither hot nor cold -- I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, "I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.

21 To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. (NIV84)

This letter is from Jesus to the Church. If you are a lukewarm Christian he sees it and doesn't like it. If you love him so little that you don't care if he is pleased with you or not, then consider what Jesus means when he says that he is about to spit the lukewarm Christians out of his mouth. The Christians in this letter think that everything is okay, but it's not okay. They have no fire for the Lord. They are 'White Bread' Christians, who think that God doesn't see their sin.

I love the Lord and I care very much what he thinks of me. It is my hearts desire to be pleasing in his sight. Jesus has made it possible for me to walk holy and pure before him, but I must walk that walk. I am his servant. My actions are not dependent upon what I want, but on what he wants.

This lack of fire problem in the Church is primarily caused by people's lack of attention to building a loving relationship with the Lord. Someone has somehow convinced many in the Church that the relationship is forged and maintained solely by the Lord. A relationship takes two people. You have a part to play. A relationship with the Lord is a relationship of love, and Jesus said that if you truly love him you will obey him.

You cannot spend too much time or effort building a love relationship with your God. Nor is anything you will ever do more important. God is everything. He is more important than your spouse, your children, or your job. He is more important than what people think of you. He is everything.

The better you know your Lord and God, the more you love him, but don't be deceived like so many today and think that he is not coming to judge the world. As I quoted the Lord above regarding receiving praise from his lips at his return, there are those servants of his who have used the Lord's Grace unwisely, and they will receive a different declaration from the lips of the Lord. They will hear: "You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. 29 For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 25:28-30.

So I guess it comes down to this: How much do you love the Lord? Are you willing to seek him with all your heart? Do you want to be pleasing in his sight? You must decide what you really want and then go for it with your whole heart.

Matthew 22:37-40

Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. (NIV84)

Have Faith in God

Due to a lot of questions about this article I have written a second article titled, The Christian Walk 2.



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