Thursday, September 08, 2011

The better life Jesus brings

When the gospel gets into you, things come out of you. Good things. Great things even. But there's an order to it. It's grace in, results out. If we confuse this order of things, we end up attempting to "be better" and "live like Jesus" in order to prove the validity of our lives by how we perform. That's deadly. 

In contrast, the Gospel brings us to fully rely on Jesus for lasting hope, humbles us so that we can admit our weaknesses and be open to growth, and changes our perspective and attitude so that we can do things differently. But, and this is crucial, it is God's work in us to do that. What comes out is the fruit of what God is putting in by his grace and kindness.

Here's a list from Romans 12 I jotted down some time ago of things that I'm realizing come out of a grace-filled life:
  • We refuse to be a conformist. (verse 2)
  • We stop thinking we are better than other people. (verse 3)
  • We hate whatever is evil. (v9)
  • We work to outdo each other out of love, not competition. (v10)
  • We let mutual affection grow so that we love deeply. (v10)
  • We are open to people being in our life that we didn't expect or with whom we wouldn't normally hang out. (v13)
  • We respond to the inevitable curses and blows we get in relationships with blessings (because we've decided--with Jesus as our example--in advance that's what we'll do). (v14)
  • We are happy for someone when good things happen to them. (v15)
  • We cry with someone when they are crying. (v16)
  • We live in harmony with other people (note: harmony means we sing a different part, not the same part!) (v16)
  • We aren't proud or arrogant. (v16)
  • When someone does us wrong, we do something noble back. Again, we've decided in advance to live like this. (v17)
  • We do our best to live at peace with people who are hard to live with. (v18)
  • We don't spend our time trying to avenge ourselves when thing go wrong. (v19)
  • We feed our enemies instead of feeding our hatred of them. (v20)
  • We don't let give in to being overwhelmed by pain, perceived slights, real slights, slander or gossip--instead, we overcome that with good. (v21)

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