Resurrected Living
"What are you going to do with your new resurrected life? This is the heroic question." Richard Rohr

Taking Jesus Seriously

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In recent years there has been a renewed interest in spiritual disciplines. Spiritual disciplines are practices that allow a person to draw closer to God. Activities such as praying, reading Scripture, fasting, rest, and others have led people to strengthen their relationship with God. Sometimes these disciplines are radical and demand great focus, but often they are little practices we insert into our day as a way of caring for our soul. These disciplines help to keep us on the right path and remind us of what is important in life.

I want to suggest a new spiritual discipline for Christians to try. I think we should all try taking Jesus seriously. Now you may already think you do this, but let me explain. Following Jesus is not just about what we believe, it is also about what we do. Jesus gives us many practices and ways to live that are not hard to understand, but they are radical when we begin to live them out. Because these practices are radical and they often go against the culture we are living in, many Christians have found ways around them over the years. Christians have believed in Jesus the person. They have accepted him as their Lord and Savior, but they have not taken him seriously. They have not faithfully practiced the simple and easy to understand commands that are sometimes difficult to follow.

I think we should all try taking Jesus seriously. Read through the Gospels and pay attention to what Jesus teaches his disciples and what he tells them to do. Most of the commands he gives are simple and straightforward. We know what Jesus means, but doing them is another thing. Over the years various arguments have been made and interpretations given, all as a way of getting around some of these commands. Although I believe church history and biblical interpretation are absolutely crucial, I think for this exercise we should put them aside. This spiritual discipline should include three steps.

1.) Read What Jesus Says – Read through the gospels and highlight, underline, or write down any commands Jesus gives pertaining to how one should live their life.

2.) Take What Jesus Says Seriously – Do not dismiss it in anyway. Do not give any excuses like, “That’s cultural” or “That was just for the 1st century disciples and not us.” Take him at his word.

3.) Do What Jesus Says – Incorporate these practices into your everyday life. Begin to live the way Jesus would have you to live.

When you begin to do this it may be a little overwhelming at first. You may find more commands in the Gospels then you thought were there. You may have not realized just how radical some of Jesus commands were. Do not give up on this practice just because it seems too daunting. Ease into it. Choose two or three commands at first. Once you think you have those down pretty good add another two or three. It’s ok if you have to take baby steps. A person does not become a mature Christian overnight. One purpose of spiritual disciplines is to look more and more like Jesus. This takes time, patience, and discipline. To get you started here are a few commands in Scripture to start taking seriously.

“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matt. 5:44

“And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” Mark 11:25

“If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also.” Luke 6:29

“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Luke 6:31

“Sell your possessions and give to the needy.” Luke 12:33

“Love your neighbor as yourself.” Mark 12:31

“If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35

“Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.” Matt. 5:42

“Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” John 7:24

“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35

Some of these commands you may already be practicing, while others may be very challenging to you. Take it one step at a time. There are many of these simple commands found within the Gospels. The commands in Matt. 5-7 and Luke 6 can keep a follower of Jesus busy for a lifetime. We are not to master these commands. We are to do them. Some days will be harder than others. That’s ok. Do not be discouraged. Pray and ask God for help. These commands are not about earning God’s favor. They are about living faithfully before God and being molded and shaped into the image of Jesus. Through the practice of these commands we experience abundant life. We begin to see the world differently. We become more like Jesus. Our lives change for the better the moment we start to take Jesus seriously.

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One Response to “Taking Jesus Seriously”

  1. Paul took what Jesus said seriously.
    http://textsincontext.wordpress.com/2012/05/31/romans-13-in-context/

    Christians at the beginning took Jesus serously
    http://christianpacifismblog.wordpress.com/2013/05/10/early-christians-and-the-sword/

    Faithful preachers like Moody and Spurgeon took what Jesus said seriously
    http://spurgeonwarquotes.wordpress.com/

    How do we American evangelicals compare with these?


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