Title: Living Like Christ Will Not Be Easy
Text: Luke 6:20-26, 31-33
(When Jesus first called his disciples together and they were about to meet and greet the first crowd of people, Jesus gave these instructions to His disciples – the first Christians. A message for all those who desire to follow and be like Christ.)
“You’re blessed when you’ve lost it all. God’s kingdom is there for the finding.
“You’re blessed when you’re ravenously hungry. Then you’re ready for the Messianic meal (having fellowship with God).
“You’re blessed when the tears flow freely. Joy comes with the morning.
“Count yourself blessed every time someone cuts you down or throws you out, every time someone smears or blackens your name to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and that that person is uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—skip like a lamb, if you like!—for even though they don’t like it, I do… and all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company; my preachers and witnesses have always been treated like this.”
(So in comparison to the attitudes blessed above, see how Jesus wants us to act when we choose to behave and act like the rest of the world.)
“But it’s trouble ahead if you think you have it made. What you have is all you’ll ever get.
“And it’s trouble ahead if you’re satisfied with yourself. Your self will not satisfy you for long.
“And it’s trouble ahead if you think life’s all fun and games. There’s suffering to be met, and you’re going to meet it.”
(Although reading through all of Chapter 6 will be helpful, here is the summary when in doubt about how to behave when you are in contact with other people in your life – family, friends or strangers.)
“Here is a simple rule of thumb for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them! If you only love the lovable, do you expect a pat on the back? Run-of-the-mill sinners do that. If you only help those who help you, do you expect a medal? Garden-variety sinners do that.”
Truth: All Christians are called to make a difference in their world by their actions, attitude, and their words that they share with others. All Christians should know it is God Himself who they are trying to please, not the people of this world. Likewise, you are not to respond to others in the same manner they may treat you, but in the manner that you, a follower of Christ, know is the right way even you would like to be treated.
Thoughts: In this world, this is a fact you will learn by experience: You will never cause someone to like you because you tried to be like them and let them take advantage of you. Also, that does not mean you can change them because you fought with them to show them that you were better and stronger either! That is how wars get started!
What Jesus reveals is that you will win more people by treating others as you want to be treated. You will be surprised that all other people desire from a friend is to be valued and feel that someone genuinely cares about them. Isn’t that exactly as Jesus did when He was around people? Isn’t that what you would like from others?
In walking with the right attitude as a Christian, Jesus summed it up as you read above this way:
1. Don’t focus on what you or others have or do not have. God does not measure the value of a person by the things they have accumulated in this life, nor should you value others by whether they are rich or poor, or what you can get from having them as a friend. There will always be people richer than you, and certainly more that are poorer when it comes to money and things – but if you have a real love relationship with God, you will always be rich in this lifetime.
2. Don’t focus on your needs in life as your priority. God knows what you need and He promises to provide for you. Focus your life on the needs of others. If all you focus on is yourself, life will be a very lonely place to be for you. God wants you to enjoy not only His fellowship, but also the fellowship of others who share the same concerns for each other. A friendship circle is to be cherished and nourished because genuine friends take care of friends, and no lone is left out or left behind.
3. Do not think bad things do not happen to good people – tough times can happen to us all. God did not stop the people from beating and humiliating Jesus, nor did He stop them from even killing him on the Cross. Life will have tough times for you and your friends, but remember God always has our best interests in mind through the bad times too! There will be people who will pretend to be your friends but disappoint you and even try to hurt you, and there may be people you do not even know who do not like you because you represent Jesus. These people hate Jesus so much that they will seek to harm you to get even. But know that God loves you and will protect you whenever that happens.
As long as you have a strong circle of friends and family, you will be rich in this lifetime. Love and friendship have far more lasting value than gold! That is why Jesus shared also with His disciples: You cannot worship “money” and “God” at the same time. Think carefully which should be the focus of your life, the choice will have an impact on all the relationships you will have in this world.