photo courtesy of usfs region 5
Dear Fellow Disciple-Maker,
About thirty years ago, I had a relationship with God that was good enough to get me to heaven, but not quite good enough to get me through the day. But over the years, God has helped me recognize four spiritual privileges that have become the foundation for my own relationship with Him. What is even more amazing is that I discovered that God used the very same spiritual privileges to shape the heart of his Son, Jesus.
While on earth, Jesus was fully God and fully man. This is a mystery we will never fully understand. In short, the Bible teaches that as God, Jesus was sinless. But as a man, his heart needed to be shaped and prepared. Jesus grew from infancy, to childhood and to adulthood, just like us.
spiritual privileges that shaped the heart of Jesus are the same gospel
privileges God uses to change our hearts. They are: (1) A Father / Son
Relationship, (2) The indwelling Holy Spirit, (3) Access to God through Prayer,
and (4) A Unique Life Story. The way Jesus responded to his Father is our
pattern for becoming like Him.
Privilege #1 – Father / Son Relationship
favored him and Jesus knew that God was his Father. His birth and childhood
were all marked by miraculous episodes of God's love and favor. Jesus referred
to God as "my Father" over forty times in the gospels. Likewise,
because of the death and resurrection of Jesus, God has accepted us into his
family and we know we are children of God. God forever changes the way we see
ourselves. God is the only one who loves us for ourselves. See what kind of love
the Father has given to us, that we should be called the children of God; and
so we are (I John 3:1).
Privilege #2 – Holy Spirit
God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and Jesus depended upon God’s presence and power throughout his ministry. Likewise, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts and we are called to recognize His presence and cooperate with His guidance. We are Spirit-born, Spirit-filled, Spirit-formed, and Spirit-led. We are conscious of His presence. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? (I Cor. 6:19).
Privilege #3 – Access to God
God promised him direct access to the power of heaven and Jesus devoted himself to prayer. The closest relationship Jesus had on earth was his heavenly Father. He habitually took time to be alone with his Father in prayer (Mark 1:35). Likewise, God is willing and able to act on our behalf. He is inclined toward us and intervenes for us. We acknowledge His power and call on the name of the Lord. The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them (Psalm 145:18-19).
Privilege #4 – Unique Life Story
designed the story of his life, and Jesus took up his part in the storyline of
history. Likewise, God has providentially authored the story of our lives and
we are called to take up our part in the storyline of God. In the Bible, there
is no God-fearing person who chose the life he wanted and then informed God of
the decision. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me
were written in your book before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:16). The
storyline is His – the privilege is ours.
Author: Paul Schlieker www.bible-study-lesson-plans.com
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