Summary: Christian Survivor Series; Living Godly in a Godless World -- Developing a Christlike character is possible, and just what we all need.
So You Want To Be Unique?
(Christian Survivor Series; Living Godly in a Godless World) Developing a Christlike character is possible,
and just what we all need.
James 1.19-27 February 4, 2001
Post this at all the intersections, dear friends:
Lead with your ears,
follow up with your tongue,
and let anger straggle along in the rear.
God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger.
So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage.
In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.
Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other.
Act on what you hear!
Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror,
walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are,
what they look like.
But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—
the free life!—even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it,
is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action.
That person will find delight and affirmation in the action.
Anyone who sets himself up as “religious” by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air.
Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight,
and guard against corruption from the godless world.
The Message: New Testament
What’s your definition of unique? The words rare, uncommon, strange, odd and peculiar come to mind.
If you listen to the worldview of today’s cultural movers and shakers, unique is to be found in accomplishment, accumulation and applause. You do stuff, gather stuff, and people take note!
There have been many notable unique people in history (according to the previous definition). Consider what the world will consider unique:
Music -- Elvis, The Beatles, Whitney and Brittany – their music changed the definition of music. Unique!
Dress and hair –Victorian button-up and down, to leisure suits (remember?), and then punk, skateboard, and gothic. Unique!
Cars – Rolls Royce to Rusty Wallace. Unique!
Logos – Nike’s to Tommy Jeans. Unique!
Super Bowl Commercials are unique. Last year’s Budweiser men shouted Whassssssup? to each other on the phone; this year it’s perfectly calm and calibrated, What are you doing? Unique!
Sports – If you can slamjam, slug it, or spike it, you’re unique.
What REALLY makes someone unique? The religious answer would be, We’re created in God’s image. Well, in reality, that gives us identity, not uniqueness. The fact of uniqueness is bound up in the fact that we are individually loved and cared for by the God who created us…now THAT is unique! He has given us fingerprints, eye-prints, and even DNA prints that are completely unique. No one else in the universe has ever matched the “you” God created.
The question then becomes, How much more unique can you get? The answer is bound up in the model God the Creator would have us pattern after, His perfect and unique Son, Jesus the Christ.
Consider His uniqueness:
Pre-incarnate existence. Jesus didn’t come into being in a manger. He existed in eternity with the Father. No one else can make that claim.
Virgin Birth. There have been plenty of single Moms throughout history – but no virgins. Jesus was born of a virgin. No one else can make that claim.
Sacrificial Atonement. Jesus’ death on the cross was not just an unfair treatment by a harsh Roman government, or an angry Jewish mob. It was chosen before the foundation of the world for Jesus to die for our sins. No one else can make that claim.
Resurrection. The dead man got out of a tomb and walked. Plenty of medical miracles in history and revived persons who were thought dead – but not a one who didn’t eventually die. Jesus’ resurrection was permanent. No one else can make that claim.
Ascension. When the time came, Jesus simply left this earth and went to the Father in heaven. He never died… No one else can make that claim.
Is there any doubt of the uniqueness of Jesus Christ – far above an Elvis or Madonna? There’s never been anyone like Jesus. And, to top it all off, the most startling uniqueness is that he loves us and is coming back for us, and wants us to be with Him…and like Him.
…that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
James 1.18b KJV
For those who have accepted Christ, what follows in the text of this letter we have from Jesus’ half-brother, James, is advice on How to recognize the uniqueness of Christ growing in you. There is a danger of imagining these are what we do to become unique. But that is not so.