Tuesday, June 07, 2011

The Way of Christ

by Steve Bray

Since a Christ-like walk is a description of “life” in the authentic Christian faith, we must then define how Jesus walked. To begin, Scripture describes how the Son of God emptied Himself of His own power and glory as God to become a man. As a man, the Son was called the Second Adam because He came to live as the first Adam had been created to live. He lived in total dependence upon the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Son did not use the power He possessed as God when He became a man. In the likeness of the first Adam, as Adam was able to live before he lost the indwelling presence of the Spirit, Jesus was expected to rely on the Holy Spirit to show forth the life and work of the Father through Him.

The reason why so many Christians do not know anything about the indwelling nature of God is because they have not been willing to enter through the one small gate into the presence of His heavenly life. They have not followed the path of the firstborn Son. An essential prerequisite to being filled with the life of God is to first permit the Spirit to empty us of our own power and glory. Jesus emptied Himself of a power and glory that He had a right to possess. In our fallen state, we have tried to be like God by using all of our efforts to fill our life with our own glory. If we hope to become like the Son and walk as Jesus did, we must give up our own glory in order to become an instrument of God’s power and glory.

No one will ever be in a condition to manifest God’s glory while they remain filled with self-exaltation. In effect, the self-seeking nature that seeks its own glory is the essence of the evil in fallen man. This is what keeps their soul from being exalted by the power of the Holy Spirit into the presence of God. “Your attitude should be the same as that of Jesus Christ: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him...” (Phil. 2:5-9)

If you want to be highly exalted into the heavenly realms by God’s power and begin participating with Christ in His divine nature, you too must permit your self-life to be taken to the cross. This is the basic premise of the true Christian faith. (Luke 14:27,33) “For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.” (Rom. 6:5 KJV)

The spiritual law of pride and humility works as consistently as God's natural law of gravity. God does not show favoritism. (Acts 10:34; Rom. 2:10) If we try to exalt ourselves, God will be working to bring us down spiritually. If we will humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand by living under the control of His Spirit, He will use His divine power to lift us up in due time. (1 Pet. 5:5-6)

When Jesus emptied Himself of His own glory to become “nothing” in Himself in order to walk as the Second Adam – to live as a man in the way that God had planned for man to live – He no longer had a will of His own {His will was united with the Father’s will}. He only had one purpose during His life as a man: He was here to freely submit Himself to do the will of the Father.

This was the glory of man and his source of blessedness before the Fall. We were to receive the blessings of divine life by living in the will of God. Jesus said to them, “My food {or source of spiritual sustenance} is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.” (John 4:34 NKJV)

Based on Christ's example, the only way anyone will ever walk as Jesus did is by giving up their own will. Every true disciple of Jesus Christ will permit the Spirit to lead them through the cross and a death to self-will so they may be lifted up into God's heavenly life and will. And so we pray –

“Your kingdom come {into our heart}, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matt. 6:10)

“This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” (1 John 2:5-6)

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this {proud and willful} world... Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Rom. 12:1-2)

Jesus “made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” (Phil. 2:7) The likeness of a “human,” as God had planned, is to be nothing in self. God did not intend for us to live for our own will and glory. The blessedness of the eternal life can only be known when God becomes our “all in all.” (1 Cor. 15:28) Beginning today, and lasting throughout all eternity, God wants to be our one source of spiritual life. In effect, it is only when we are in a condition of nothingness that we can expect to be spiritually exalted by the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit into the fullness of Christ's life. (John 10:10)

“I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.” (Jude 3)

“I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him...in the heavenly realms...” (Eph. 1:18-20)

“Praise be to the God...who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with {the reality of} every spiritual blessing in Christ.” (Eph. 1:3)