The Victorious, Christ-Centred Life
The Lord Jesus Christ says that we must deny ourselves, and follow His teachings in order to be His disciples and be a part of the family of God. He says, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matt. 10:39) Being selfish, self-centred and serving ourselves results in bondage, defeat and death. Being Christ-centred, unselfish and serving God results in freedom, victory and eternal life.
The Apostles teach that Christ’s followers must crucify their carnal, selfish nature through the power of God, and walk in the Spirit, and practice the fruits of the Spirit as a new creation in the likeness of the Lord Jesus. (Eph 4:22-24) (Gal 5:16-25) The Apostles speak of the carnal Christian as being a baby, drinking only milk and creating divisions. We are commanded to be spiritual, and grow up to maturity by eating solid food, and be reconciled to God and to each other, which creates unity. (1 Cor 3:1-4) (Heb 5:12-14)
Suffering is the Path to Victory
God uses various types of suffering in our life to transform us from a selfish, carnal, immature Christian, into an unselfish, spiritually mature Christian. Suffering is necessary for us to learn obedience, and for spiritual growth to occur. We should not run away from suffering or complain about it. We must learn to rejoice in suffering and be thankful for it. (Heb 5:8) (Heb 12:3-11) (2 Cor 1:8-10) (1 Peter 3:8-4:19) (James 1:2-4) (Col 1:24) Criticisms, insults, problems, false accusations, trials, persecution, pain, sickness, loneliness and all types of suffering are truly a blessing. (2 Cor 11:23-12:10) There is no victory without suffering!
How we respond to trials and suffering is a good test to see if we are self-centred or Christ-centred. To the degree that we are unhappy, complaining, critical, rebellious, impatient, angry and causing division we are self-centred. To the degree that we are joyful, thankful, forgiving, submissive, patient, loving and creating unity we are Christ-centred. Test your thoughts, emotions, motives, words and actions throughout the day to see if you are self-centred or Christ-centred. You will be surprised at what God teaches you about your motives, based on how you respond to the trials, problems and suffering He allows into your life!
Spiritual Practices and Habits for the Journey...
1) Regular confession of sins is essential! Without confession there is no forgiveness. We must also
forgive others in order to be forgiven ourselves. (Matt 6:14-15) (1 John 1:7-9) (James 5:16)
2) Read and memorize Scripture! Let the word of God dwell in you richly. The word of God is a spiritual
weapon that is both offensive and defensive. (Heb 4:12) (Matt 4:1-11) The other weapons Paul lists
in the armor of God are primarily defensive. (Eph 6:10-17)
3) We must control our tongue! Only say what is edifying. (Eph 4:29 & 5:4) Talking should be minimized.
(Matt 12:36) With excessive talking there is always selfishness. People often talk a lot to get things
for themselves, and to get their own way, and to get attention for themselves. People should think
before they speak, and say as little as possible. What we say steers the direction of our whole life.
(James 1:19 & 3:1-8) With a lot of talking there is a lot of sin. (Prov 10:19)
4) Pray alone and with others on a regular, daily basis. (Eph 6:18)
5) Make a habit of Godly singing to inspire and lift your mind, heart and spirit. (Eph 5:18-21)
6) Share and be generous. Give your time, possessions and abilities to help those in need and bear each
others burdens. Have regular heart to heart spiritual fellowship with followers of the Lord Jesus.
7) Buffet your body! (1 Cor 9:24-27) Physical, mental and emotional hardships are good. Fasting, and
denying bodily desires are effective spiritual disciplines.
8) Work with your hands and do your own business to provide for your needs, and the needs of others.
9) Set time aside on a regular basis to connect with your spouse, children, parents and siblings.
10) Try and have someone with you throughout the day as a witness, and for moral and spiritual support.
This is a necessity when going into a town or city, or into any worldly environment, or if you have a
sinful weakness that needs constant supervision.
11) Avoid worldly environments and worldly influences as much as possible.
12) Have a mentor that you are accountable to. It should be someone who is spiritually mature, and who
doesn’t have the same areas of weakness as you do.
"Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."
- Eph. 4:32 & 5:1-2