In our bible study we are focusing on living from the spirit versus the flesh. After I spoke on discerning truth from lies, God put on my heart to unpack how to steward truth. This is an active posture we make a choice to assume daily.
Our opening scripture is in Acts 16: 14-34
Several keys moments are happening throughout this passage but I will zero in on the question our trembling jailer makes moments after he started to take his life: "what must I do to be saved?" Paul's answer was Jesus. The desperate jailer was at once overcome by the mercy, kindness, power and truth of Christ in one fragile moment. His life changed, his family was changed and everyone in the jail was changed. Christ was the answer.
This critical conversion begs to be examined from the opposite side especially in our culture. I would like to propose the question, "what must I do to be lost?", requires just as much thought and reflection. The answer itself is quite haunting. The answer is quite surprising. The answer is 'nothing'. In order to be lost you can do 'nothing' and that will suffice because the pull of the world will drag you along without you having to do one thing.
The danger of nothing is staggering. It is the danger of being present but deaf. The danger of being in full view but blinded. The danger of following but unclear who leads you...when you pause you begin to realize there really is no such thing as 'nothing' because 'something' is always where 'nothing' tries to hide. Nothing is a lie. Our natural world has no vacuums of nothing. Our bodies do not contain compartments of nothing. 'Nothing' becomes a convenient blinder for many.
There is only one person who wants you to buy the lie of 'nothing' and that is the enemy. Because sitting in 'nothing' keeps you unaware of how 'something/someone' is corrupting your soul and hardening your heart.
This is why it is so important we learn to steward truth. What is the most important revelation about truth? Truth is a person and His name is Jesus Christ. In our passage above Paul has one answer for his new friend and Paul answers with the Answer, Jesus Christ. He doesn't answer with a program, a ritual or behavior modifications. Jesus is not a concept we have to strive to grasp. He is God...He is a person and we can only understand this spiritually first before our relationship with Him manifests in our lives.
Jesus says: I am the Way (there will be other ways offered even the way of nothing) I am the Truth (there will be other narratives offered but I am the truth) I am the Life (apart from me is death/separation)
Truth is a person, Truth is Jesus.
Secondly, we must come into the understanding of who Jesus truly is. Read Hebrews 1:1-4. It is so important that we pause and make a list of how the author of Hebrews is revealing Jesus to us. Below I have lined out some powerful truths of who Jesus is:
Jesus is the message from God. God spoke directly to us through Jesus.
Jesus is the son of God. He is begotten meaning Jesus is equal in substance to God. The Father and Son share the same being.
Jesus is the heir of all things. Jesus is preeminent.
The universe is made through Jesus. He is first born overall creation. The very ages made through Him.
Jesus is the radiance of God's glory.
Jesus is the exact representation of God. He is God's personality.
Jesus sustains all things by His powerful word.
Jesus purified us from sin. He shows us no one else can do that for us and we cannot do that for ourselves.
Jesus is seated at the right hand of God. This is a position of majesty and it is not passive.
Jesus is superior to the angels as is His name.
Everything is under Jesus.
Jesus suffered death for all.
Jesus remains the same.
Jesus is our merciful and faithful high priest. He prays for us.
Jesus suffered when he was tempted so He could help us who are tempted. We cannot do this alone.
I encourage you to add to this list and keep it near you to refer to often especially when you don't know what to pray. Pray His sovereignty into your situation.
When we read all that Christ truly is, what is left that Jesus cannot do? When you feel overwhelmed ask the Holy Spirit to give you a revelation of who Jesus is. When you pray to the answer (Jesus), He will bring an answer for you.
Jesus tells us in John to remain in Him and for His words to remain in us. We must commit to know who Jesus is and what He sounds like.
Jesus asks a very powerful question to his disciples in Mark 8. He says, "who do people say that I am?" They reply, "some say you are John the Baptist, some say Elijah and others prophet." Jesus then asks them directly, "who do you say I am?" Peter responds, "the Christ, the Messiah".
Jesus is showing them the difference between answering from the flesh versus the spirit. The flesh will want to rationalize and compartmentalize while the spirit soaks in truth through revelation brought by the Holy Spirit.
Thirdly, it is vital we learn to uphold (to foster, nature and support) our relationship with Jesus. None of us get into a relationship and do 'nothing'. We are active in learning, sharing and taking time to invest in one another.
John 15 states: "No branch can bear fruit itself". The word will trick us to put our importance elsewhere but allow the Holy Spirit to lead you back to upholding your relationship with Christ.
Daniel is a wonderful example of someone who understood who He served. He along with his brethren were taken into captivity and plucked from their homeland. They became captives under the brutal dictatorship of King Nebuchadnezzar who was a ruthless, violent man. He took Daniel and his friends into his palace to grom them for work in the royal household. He renamed them, reclothed them and offered them food and wine from his table but Daniel knew to put his relationship with God above all else. Read Daniel 1:3-8
Before we read about what God did in Daniel's life, we learn what Daniel did to protect his relationship with God. Daniel was consistent and faithful. He was determined to stay connected to God and not allow the tainted 'gifts' from the King to corrupt him. He never asked for an escape, he never disrespected the King and he refused to be intimidated even though the Babylonians took his name, his home, his family, and his culture. They wanted to erase Daniel and reprogram him with the ways of Babylon.
Yet, he refused to be corrupted and God rewarded His faithfulness with favor and the ability to prosper even in captivity. We can learn much from Daniel to stay sober minded and alert to protect our relationship with God.
Faith is our determined resolve to uphold our relationship with the Lord and not fall away no matter what presents itself.
1Peter 5: 8 states "Be self controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings."
We are called to live with integrity and to allow ourselves to be quickened by the Holy Spirit. We must not delay and unknowingly fall into 'nothing'.
It is so important to know why you are alive. You are to be in relationship with God and made in the image of Christ, daily. This is the great work of God in us...to be so focused in Him we become a reflection of His goodness here on earth.
"Now may the God of peace who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood that sealed and ratified the eternal covenant, equip you with every good thing to carry out His will and strengthen you (making you complete and perfect as you ought to be) accomplishing in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen." He's 13:20,21 Amp