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The balanced Christian life… May 3, 2013

Posted by JP in Bible Study, Discussion, Faith, Scripture.
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Wheel

The Christian life is much like a wheel; with a hub and four spokes.  The hub, and each spoke, are essential foundations to maintain spiritual balance, allowing the faithful to travel the road to continual sanctification – the wheel functions smoothly only when all the spokes are present and in proper balance. The wheel is dynamic and represents a spiritual synergism (the sum of the parts is greater than the whole) that cannot be attained otherwise.

The Hub:

A wheel gets its driving force from the hub.  In the Christian life, Christ is the hub – the source of power and motivation for living a Christian life.  He lives within us in the person of the Holy Spirit, whose expressed purpose is to glorify Christ.

John 14:20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.

John 15:4-5 Dwell in Me, and I will dwell in you. [Live in Me, and I will live in you.] Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in (being vitally united to) the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me.  (5)  I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing.

John 16:13-14 But when He, the Spirit of Truth (the Truth-giving Spirit) comes, He will guide you into all the Truth (the whole, full Truth). For He will not speak His own message [on His own authority]; but He will tell whatever He hears [from the Father; He will give the message that has been given to Him], and He will announce and declare to you the things that are to come [that will happen in the future].  (14)  He will honor and glorify Me, because He will take of (receive, draw upon) what is Mine and will reveal (declare, disclose, transmit) it to you.

Making Christ central in your life; giving Him the place of true lordship is really a decision of your will. Lordship is totally voluntary, based on your own choices, and yet is completely necessary for continual sanctification.

Gal 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ [in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ (the Messiah) lives in me; and the life I now live in the body I live by faith in (by adherence to and reliance on and complete trust in) the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

The rim of the wheel represents you, the Christian, responding to Christ’s lordship through your wholehearted obedience to Him.  This obedience involves your faithfulness in basic principles of Christian living.

Rom 12:1  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service.

John 14:21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”

1Jn 2:3-6 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.  (4)  Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him,  (5)  but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him:  (6) whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

The spokes of the wheel represent the means by which Christ’s power reaches our lives:

The Word:

When Christians have a vital, studious, personal intake of the Word of God, they are usually spiritually healthy and growing. In practice, this spoke is crucial to a balanced Christian life. As God speaks to you through His Word, you will be sensitized to important issues, see how to put His Word into practice, and recognize Christ as worthy of your love and allegiance.

Joshua 1:8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

Matthew 4:4 But He replied, It has been written, Man shall not live and be upheld and sustained by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God. [Deut. 8:3.] 1.  The vertical spokes concern our relationship to God through the Scriptures and prayer.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action), (17) So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 2:15 Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth.

Prayer:

As you pray, and as others pray for you, God creates within you a desire to choose His way which expresses His lordship in our life.

John 15:7 If you live in Me [abide vitally united to Me] and My words remain in you and continue to live in your hearts, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.

Ephesians 3:12 In Whom, because of our faith in Him, we dare to have the boldness (courage and confidence) of free access (an unreserved approach to God with freedom and without fear).

Philippians 4:6-7 Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.  (7)  And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Hebrews 4:16  Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it].

Prayer is our communication channel with God. Through prayer we seek His will in our lives, share our hopes, fears, joys, needs, and seek His counsel; through prayer we open ourselves to the ministering of the Holy Spirit.  According to Scripture, the Holy Spirit knows the mind of God (11), which He reveals (10) and teaches (13) to those whom He indwells. This activity of the Holy Spirit is called illumination, and this illumination comes through prayerful mediation upon His Word.

 1 Corinthians 2:10-11  Yet to us God has unveiled and revealed them by and through His Spirit, for the [Holy] Spirit searches diligently, exploring and examining everything, even sounding the profound and bottomless things of God [the divine counsels and things hidden and beyond man’s scrutiny].  (11)  For what person perceives (knows and understands) what passes through a man’s thoughts except the man’s own spirit within him? Just so no one discerns (comes to know and comprehend) the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.

The Hub and these first two spokes (the Word and Prayer) represent our relationship to God. The other two spokes represent our relationships to other people, both believers and unbelievers, through fellowship and witnessing.  When you purposefully choose to walk in God’s way, it shows in your outward lifestyle. People can see that Jesus is in you. Although obeying God starts internally and has to do with attitudes, habits, motives, values and day to day thoughts, it will eventually surface in our relationships with other people. The proof of our love for God is our obedience to Him especially in relationships.

Fellowship:

The idea of fellowship has many nuances, many ‘definitions’, and comes in many forms. For the sake of time I will try to capture the ‘essence’ and leave the exposition for another time. In essence, fellowship is the idea of believers meeting together to commune, teaching, learn, worship together, share something with someone, and esteeming others higher than ourselves (accepting each other with our faults, problems and failures)

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10  Two are better than one, because they have a good [more satisfying] reward for their labor;  (10)  For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!

Matthew 18:20 For wherever two or three are gathered (drawn together as My followers) in (into) My name, there I AM in the midst of them. [Exod. 3:14.]

Hebrews 3:13 But instead warn (admonish, urge, and encourage) one another every day, as long as it is called Today, that none of you may be hardened [into settled rebellion] by the deceitfulness of sin [by the fraudulence, the stratagem, the trickery which the delusive glamor of his sin may play on him].

Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider and give attentive, continuous care to watching over one another, studying how we may stir up (stimulate and incite) to love and helpful deeds and noble activities, (25) Not forsaking or neglecting to assemble together [as believers], as is the habit of some people, but admonishing (warning, urging, and encouraging) one another, and all the more faithfully as you see the day approaching.

If we look at the book of Acts we see an example for us today:

Act 2:44-47 And all who believed (who adhered to and trusted in and relied on Jesus Christ) were united and [together] they had everything in common; (45) And they sold their possessions (both their landed property and their movable goods) and distributed the price among all, according as any had need.  (46)  And day after day they regularly assembled in the temple with united purpose, and in their homes they broke bread [including the Lord’s Supper]. They partook of their food with gladness and simplicity and generous hearts, (47) Constantly praising God and being in favor and goodwill with all the people; and the Lord kept adding [to their number] daily those who were being saved [from spiritual death].

(This is an excellent treatise on Fellowship by Cooper P Abrams III, please read. )

Witnessing:

The natural overflow of a rich and vibrant life in Christ should be sharing with others how they too can have this life. Effective sharing requires skills that can be learned and sharpened. God will use you in the lives of others as you gain experience and improve your skills in witnessing.

Matthew 4:19 And He said to them, Come after Me [as disciples–letting Me be your Guide], follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men!

Romans 1:16  For I am not ashamed of the Gospel (good news) of Christ, for it is God’s power working unto salvation [for deliverance from eternal death] to everyone who believes with a personal trust and a confident surrender and firm reliance, to the Jew first and also to the Greek,

1 Peter 3:15 But in your hearts set Christ apart as holy [and acknowledge Him] as Lord. Always be ready to give a logical defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope that is in you, but do it courteously and respectfully. [Isa. 8:12, 13.]

When all is said and done, balanced wheel of the Christian life can be viewed in terms a healthy, vibrant, physical life: a strong heart at our center (the ‘hub’ of Christ Jesus), we must eat healthily (the Word), we must breath (Prayer), rest and restore (Fellowship) and we must exercise (Witnessing).

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