How God Shaped the
Heart of Jesus

Free Bible Study Materials for Christian Discipleship
 November 2017

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.

Gospel Privileges

The 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

God greatly 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).

photo courtesy of ian burt

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

God uniquely 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

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