Summary: The Way of Jesus is an initiative of my denomination, Evangelical Missionary Church of Canada. As prep, we're doing a 7-part series. The first message is on the first marker of the Way of Jesus: I have begun to follow Jesus, depending on the God's Spirit.
The Way of Jesus #1 - “I have begun following Jesus, and am depending on the Spirit of Jesus in my journey”. - January 8, 2017
It's the new year, still, but I don't want to talk about New Year's resolutions. I don't want to talk about the effort involved in adjusting our lifestyle, changing bad habits, focussing on fixing ourselves.
I don't want to talk about any of that stuff because personally, I have found that it almost never works.
I guess you could say I've been around long enough to know the limitations of my own self-discipline and my own determination.
Rather, today I’m looking for us to share in an adventure. It’s an adventure that takes the focus off ourselves.
It takes the focus off of ourselves and onto God and God’s kingdom. Off of thinking about ourselves so much and onto focussing on the well-being of others.
I’ve come to the conclusion that when we live in our own heads, when we put our energies toward trying to make ourselves happier, we never achieve that goal.
When we make the choice to not live in our own heads and instead focus on caring for others, that’s when our own lives start to come together.
Personal happiness never comes from seeking personal happiness. Joy, which is much deeper than happiness, comes from living for God and living to be a blessing to others.
So what I want to talk about today is the first message of what is going to be a seven-part series on the Way of Jesus.
On Wednesday, February 15 in this space those who are interested will gather at 6 pm for an introduction to the actual Way of Jesus platform, but over these next weeks we will look in some depth at the 7 markers of the Way of Jesus.
Those 7 markers are:
1. I have begun to follow Jesus, and am depending on the Spirit of Jesus in my journey.
2. I am being sent by Jesus to bless others and invite them to follow Him.
3. I am learning to be like Jesus in my attitudes, behaviours, character.
4. I am learning to love God and to love others.
5. I am learning the teachings of Jesus.
6. I am helping someone and someone is helping me to be a growing follower of Jesus.
7. I am participating in a community of followers of Jesus on mission to the world.
What I have experienced in my life is that transformation, real positive change, comes through following the way of Jesus, aligning ourselves with His will and His ways.
The way of Jesus is God's way for us to lead the best possible lives.
Today we are looking at the first marker of the Way of Jesus platform. It is about beginnings and it is about dependency. It’s also about honesty and humility.
1) “I have begun following Jesus, and am depending on the Spirit of Jesus in my journey”.
It makes sense that the first marker is one of beginnings, and one that recognizes the person of the Holy Spirit in the beginning.
The Holy Spirit is always around for good beginnings. The first book in the Bible, Genesis chapter 1 says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters”.
Over all good beginnings, the Holy Spirit hovers. When faith begins blossom in a person’s life, it is the Holy Spirit Who is there, hovering, waiting, working to bring life where there is none, bringing hope where there is despair.
The Holy Spirit is the 3rd person of the Trinity - Father, Son and Holy Spirit - and so it’s important for us to remember that the Holy Spirit is God at work in us.
“I have begun following Jesus...”. When I was in Kitchener in June 2015 going through the training for the Way of Jesus, the President of my tribe, my denomination, Phil Delsaut, said that of the seven markers, this one was his favorite.
What's interesting is that at that point President Phil had been a Christ follower for 54 years.
So while this is the first marker of 7 that we will explore in the coming weeks,
part of the beauty of the Way of Jesus is that we have this reminder that we circle back to on a regular basis that we have really just begun. In the light of eternity, we’ve spent very little time following Jesus. 1 year? 20 years? 54 years? That’s very little time.
But also, I have found that there is a continuously renewing freshness to the life of a Christ-follower. God’s mercies are new every day.