Don’t Cheat Yourself

I have another interview with Rudy Ross on the End Times message of Luke 21. Rudy has devoted years of study to the End Time.

He brings a Hebrew background to the study, along with a love for Jesus. Put on your “thinking cap” and spend some time learning from Rudy’s teaching on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.

Blog articles today and the next two will feature some thoughts on a book I am reading by Anthony Coniarius.

The title for the article comes from one of my workout partners from the gym. When I lifted weights, I had a tendency to stop short of completion of an exercise.

He would often say to me, “Don’t cheat yourself.” His words were true in the gym, but they are also true for the spiritual life.

The abundant life that Jesus came to give us (John 10.10) is far greater than what many of us experience. I’m afraid that we are cheating ourselves by not giving our best to live with the Savior.

Our Potential

Praise God for the gift of forgiveness and salvation from sin. Dietrich Bonhoeffer called it “cheap grace,” when people accept God’s forgiveness but continue to live like the rest of humanity.

Not only does “cheap grace” dishonor Jesus’ sacrifice, but it cheats us from God’s best for our lives.

In his High Priestly prayer, Jesus prayed for our destiny to be fully realized.

John 17.25-26 – “Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me.

“I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

Jesus’ desire for us is to participate in the life of God. He prayed that we may experience the same kind of love relationship that is present among the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Jesus told his followers in the Sermon on the Mount, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5.48).

What may seem like an oppressive demand is actually a generous offer by our loving God. Let’s remember that God always gives what he demands.

He offers us the gift of being perfect, complete, and whole in the same way that the Father is perfect, complete, and whole.

This is God’s gift to us. Let’s not cheat ourselves by settling for the “cheap grace” of accepting forgiveness, but remaining conformed to the behavior of this world.

The Synergy of Grace

Paul described his work with Apollos in Corinth by writing, “For we are God’s servants, working together; you are God’s field, God’s building” (1 Corinthians 3.9).

“Working together” is the compound Greek word “synergy” that means that someone “works with” another.

Not only did Paul work with Apollos, but he also worked with the Holy Spirit.

If we are to experience the abundant life that Jesus prayed for us to receive in his High Priestly Prayer, we must work together with the Holy Spirit.

James wrote, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you” (James 4.8). Our part of the work is to “draw near to God.” His part is to draw near to us.

The truth is that God reaches out to us before we ever consider drawing near to him.

Jesus said, “Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me” (Revelation 3.20).

Jesus knocks at the door of our hearts, desiring to draw near to us and live as our best friend. It is up to us to open the door and draw near to God.

When I believe someone is playing games with God, I say to them, “Are you asking how far you live away from God and still go to heaven when you die?”

Jesus knocks at our door so that we can draw near to him. When we respond to his love and “draw near to God,” he is free to answer Jesus’ prayer and draw us into the kind of love that transpires within the Trinity.

How?

How can we experience the abundant life Jesus came to give us? How can we experience the love relationship that is present between members of the Trinity?

God does his part. In fact, he does 99.9% of the work. What is our .1%?

We can begin to say “no,” so that we can say “yes” to the greater things God has for us. We can stop cheating ourselves by stopping short of fully drawing near to the Lord.

Henry Blackaby’s words often resonate in my mind. “You can’t go where Jesus is and stay where you are.”

Paul described how to work with the Lord. He said, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.

“And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2.19c-20).

(1) No – When Jesus died, we died with him. This is the ultimate self-denial.

(2) Yes – Jesus lives his life through us.

(3) Faith – We trust Jesus to live his life through us.

— We have Jesus’ wisdom and guidance when we trust him to live through us.

— We have his victory over temptation when he is being victorious through us.

— We experience an intimate relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as he lives within us.

More Tomorrow

Please take 8 minutes to listen to Rudy Ross today, as he speaks about the End Times. You will be happy that you did.

I will continue this article tomorrow and give some ideas of how the work of the Holy Spirit and the Bible will assist us in living the life Jesus prayed for us to have.

Please email your prayer request to bsprad49@gmail.com. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.

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