“If we want to live the way Jesus lived, we must centre our lives on what was at the core of His life.”
I’d like to continue with the question I put forward in my last column: “If Jesus were physically living in Canada today, how would He spend His time, energy and money?”
As followers of Jesus Christ, we have the amazing privilege of knowing Him and being conformed to His image. In light of that fact, our passionate desire should be like Paul’s: “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ … I want to know Christ … ” (Philippians 3:8,10a).
Everything Jesus said and did originated from His intimate relationship with the Father. Jesus received affirmation and direction through His consistent communion with the Father. Jesus’ oneness with the Father gave Him both a clear sense of calling and the Spirit’s power to proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God.
We can see a demonstration of this intimate, affirming relationship at Jesus’ baptism. “When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased’ ” (Luke 3:21,22).
As Jesus lived in intimate relationship with the Father, so He taught His disciples that they needed to be intimately connected with Him. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). To bear the fruit of the kingdom in their lives, the disciples needed to live in intimacy with Jesus, just as He did with the Father.
Another dimension of Jesus’ intimate relationship with the Father was the empowering companionship of the Spirit. “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,” Jesus declared in the synagogue in Nazareth, “because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free” (Luke 4:18). The disciples witnessed the Spirit’s companionship in everything Jesus accomplished. They witnessed first-hand what it meant to have the Spirit providing truth and wisdom for life. And Jesus invited His followers to experience this intimate relationship as well.
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth” (John 14:16,17a). “I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
Through the Spirit’s power the early church bore witness of Jesus and carried on doing the works He had done. The Spirit’s empowerment was not an option; it was an essential component of living out the life of Jesus. As it had been for Jesus, so it was in their lives. The Book of Acts is clear evidence that His disciples understood and followed Jesus’ example of intimacy with the Father and dependence on the Spirit.
If we want to live the way Jesus lived, we must centre our lives on what was at the core of His life. In the midst of the clutter and complexity of life, our greatest need is to be in an intimate relationship with our Lord. Read Every Day and Pray Every Day are not religious duties—they are our very life. Daily reading of God’s Word gives us direction for our lives in matters small and large. Daily prayer empowers us by the Spirit to live life on purpose, to expect the kingdom of God to break into our daily contexts in both mundane and monumental ways.
Intimacy with the Father and dependence on the Spirit—that’s how Jesus lived His life. And it’s how we must live our lives today if we would be like Him.
Join me in this prayer: Father, what an unbelievable privilege You have given us to be in an intimate relationship with You—to know Your heart and mind and to be transformed by Your Word and Spirit. Thank you. Holy Spirit, empower us to be like Jesus in every context of our lives. Amen.
This article appeared in the July/August 2017 issue of testimony, the bimonthly publication of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada.