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September 26, 2017

Most of you who see this post will only read the first line or two and ignore the rest. This will be mostly due to the fact you won’t find anything in the first few lines that will appeal to you or your ‘self’ nature. I understand. This post isn’t about what you can get, learn or how great you are. There are no syrupy words here that will make your life great. No, the truth is that this post is about practicing what we preach or living our faith. It is about how we live our lives and how people don’t hear what we say but watch what we do.

At birth, babies do not understand language but they are masters at observing. Babies watch anything and everything. They may not understand what mom and dad are saying but they know when people around them are angry, or sad, or happy. They also learn how to behave by what they watch. Most of how we behave comes from watching how others behave. We can expand our brain by education and knowledge but how we live our lives, what we do, is almost entirely determined by what we see others do. This is how we were created. God has made us to be imitators, to learn by watching others and then doing likewise.

In His wisdom God made us to be imitators so that we had to learn how to behave from those older and more mature than us. What was supposed to happen was that we would, as children, learn how to behave and act in this world from those more mature than us. Then as we matured we would then, in turn, teach the young how to behave and act so they would mature and keep the process going. Problems began soon after creation when Adam gave way and allowed the ‘self’ nature to take root in his spirit core. Once that happened mankind began to behave badly, and to teach their children how to behave badly so they did not learn to mature. Fast forward to today and you have many, many immature children running around in adult bodies, letting their ‘self’ nature run wild because they never learned from a mature adult how to put ‘self’ to death and act maturely.

Now God knew that ‘self’ would come into man and try to destroy the maturing process He had placed on the earth. The Father’s corrective plan was simple. He gave us examples of people who learned to mature through faith and obedience to Him. He began teaching man that the only path to maturity was through faith, obedience to the Creator and following the example of those that did those things. This finally led to Jesus who came as the perfect example of a man who learned to trust the Father in perfect faith and obedience. Jesus’ perfect example was given to us so we would know how to put down ‘self’, live and grow into maturity. By following His example, we would mature and then be able to teach others how to live with our lives being an example to them. Even though satan tried to spoil the process of maturity God thwarted his plans.

The only problem is that virtually no one follows the example of Jesus today. Oh, I don’t mean that we don’t talk about Him or wax eloquent about how great He is. No, I mean virtually no one lives as Jesus did, following His perfect example. You see we talk about Jesus but we don’t live a life of faith as He did. We are a generation of hypocrites that think that all people care about is what they read and hear. The problem is that people aren’t listening to us, they are watching us. They are watching you all the time. They see how you live your life and comparing it to their own. If you proclaim loudly about knowing Jesus they hear that and look to see how you live to see if you really do know Him. It usually does not take them long to figure out that your life is no different than their own. Then they begin to think, why would I want to follow Jesus when those that follow Him do the same things I do?

Where are the people today that are willing to give up all to follow Jesus into the wilderness and thereby grow into maturity? Please don’t tell me that our family are the only ones currently on this earth that have sacrificed everything for Him so we could grow up and be an example to others. That simply is not, and can not, be true. Surely there must be more out there that realize that there is a stagnation amongst believers caused by their lack of obedience and faith. Others must see, as we do, that the reason believers are failing is that they are not following the example of Jesus and therefore are wandering about immature, lost and aimless. There must be those that see this and understand that it is only by living a life of faith that others around them will change as well. I am calling out to those that will listen, Follow Him! Follow Jesus into the wilderness so He can strip off of you that ‘self’ nature that causes you to wallow in immaturity. You are to be an example to those around you of how to live. Not by telling people what to do but by living a life of sacrificial faith. This is the only message that others will be able to understand.

When our family visited Israel in 2008 our tour guide took us to Golani Junction where we learned an important truth about leadership from the Israeli army. Our guide taught us that the leadership of all Israeli commanders revolves around two Hebrew words, בוא אחריי, translated it means ‘follow me’. You see the Israeli army understands that men will follow a leader. In battle if the leader goes first, crying out “FOLLOW ME!”, his men will follow him. God understands the same thing. This is why Jesus came first as our example. We, as believers, were then to follow His example, get rid of the ‘self’ nature, mature and then lead others. This is, in essence, the process of discipleship. The problem is that our ‘self’ nature is lazy and cowardly. We want to lead from behind and tell others how to live, behave and go into battle without leading by example.

Living faith, or practicing what you preach, is the only example that people will follow in the days ahead. I will give you my personal guarantee that those who simply talk, but do not live their faith, will be swept aside and forgotten in the judgments that are coming on the earth. No one will escape. In order to survive the days ahead believers must turn into disciples by following in faith and obedience the example of Jesus. Nothing more and nothing less. I cannot stress this enough that for your personal safety and for the safety of all those that are watching how you live your life you had better be anchoring your life solidly on sacrificial obedience to Jesus.

I will leave you with this encouragement of Hebrews 6:12, “In order that you may not grow disinterested and become [spiritual] sluggards, but imitators, behaving as do those who through faith (by their leaning of the entire personality on God in Christ in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness) and by practice of patient endurance and waiting are [now] inheriting the promises.