Last week I posted the first four points on how to pursue more of Jesus (here) and so experience joy, blessings and victory in your life. As promised, here are the next five which form the second part of this three-part series.
Pursue more of Jesus’ death in your life
Just as Jesus died on the cross so that you can be spiritually alive, He wants you to die to your own desires so that you can experience more blessings and the best life possible. And boy, is this “dying to self” difficult! God uses pressures, problems and pain in your life as nails to pin you to a cross of your own. If you submit to Him while you go through these trials and tribulations, you’ll experience what it’s like to die to yourself so God’s power can live through you. "Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of the sinful nature to His cross and crucified them there." (Galatians 5:24) Every kind of brokenness you experience can lead to a corresponding blessing if you’re willing to die to sacrifice your own will, goals, dreams, desires, expectations, plans, rights and reputation. If you choose to die to yourself, God will pour out blessings like a character that reflects His own, a witness that leads to other people’s lives being transformed and rewards from the Father Himself.
Pursue more of His dirt on your hands
Just as Jesus was willing to get His hands dirty serving others willingly, humbly, obediently and gladly, He expects you to do the same. Choose to serve other people whenever God calls you to; even when it’s not convenient or when you’re struggling with problems of your own. (As I said in the paragraph above, it’s not easy...) Shift your focus from yourself to Jesus and the people He wants you to serve. In the process your own problems will become more manageable. Never think of yourself as being “above” any type of service: changing diapers, mowing grass, inviting a lonely person for tea, visiting the sick or those in prison, etc. When you do any task God calls you to do, you work, no matter how humble, will become important because you’re answering God’s call.
Pursue more of His hope in your grief
Let the hope of heaven sharpen your focus to help you see that any difficult situation you’re going through is temporary now compared to a joyful eternity with Jesus. Look forward to the reality of seeing Jesus face to face and enjoying the company of loved ones who have gone before you, when it’s your time to go to heaven.
Pursue more of His fruit in your service
If your service for God lacks the fruit of changed lives, you don’t have to try harder, pray more, or claim greater territory for service. Instead you should examine your personal relationship with Jesus to see how closely you are connected to Him. It’s the quality of this relationship that will determine whether or not you’ll have the power to bear good fruit for His kingdom. The fruit you bear isn’t through your own efforts, it’s produced through the Holy Spirit in you as you rely consistently on God. In my post on Saturday about my application for a new passport at the Home Affairs, (here), a fellow blogger commented that I must be a calm and patient person. I replied that I indeed am. But here I must add that this is nothing to do with me. I endeavour daily to practice the fruit of the Holy Spirit as stated in the Bible, Galatians 5:22. “But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, He will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Herein there is no conflict with the law.” With God’s grace, this discipline stands me in good stead in most of the time, but I’m not perfect, by any means. On Friday I was busy on the telephone when John, the gardener, rapped on the office window calling me urgently. (I later learned that there was a strange bird in the garden – more about this in a later post) I crossly flapped my hand at him and told him I was on the phone, he should to wait! When I finished my call, I went outside and apologised to him for being unkind. I realised that in the heat of the moment, I hadn’t practiced the fruit of "kindness" but praise God, through being convicted by the Holy Spirit, I immediately made amends.
I say it again: “dying to self” ain’t easy, but with God's help and grace, it CAN be done.