Welcome and thanks for participating in day 6 of the ARISE fast and devotional blog. If you haven’t read the previous days, please go back and read them before reading todays as these thoughts will build off of one another.
Day 6: Incarnational Living
“Now the whole offer which Christianity makes is this: that we can, if we let God have His way, come to share in the life of Christ. If we do, we shall then be sharing a life which was begotten, not made, which always existed and always will exist. Christ is the Son of God. If we share in this kind of life we also shall be sons of God. We shall love the Father as He does and the Holy Ghost will arise in us. He came to this world and became a man in order to spread to other men the kind of life He has — by what I call “good infection.” Every Christian is to become a little Christ. The whole purpose of becoming a Christian is simply nothing else.” – C.S. Lewis
This March will mark my 4th trip to Israel. I love the history, the landscapes, the people and the unique culture. My favorite place in Israel is the area of Tiberias… you may not recognize the name Tiberias, but you have probably heard of the body of water on its banks… the Sea of Galilee.
Due to a mixture of time change, jetlag, and excitement, I usually wake up well before dawn while in the Holy Land, and without a doubt my favorite thing to do on those early mornings is to watch the sunrise on the Sea of Galilee.
As I sit on the rocky shore listening to the waves find the shore, I can’t help but imagine Peter fishing while Jesus calls to him from the shore to cast his nets on the other side of the boat. I imagine Jesus and Peter walking on water together. I imagine Jesus, like myself, walking along the Sea early in the morning praying and seeking His Father’s face. It’s a special location full of special moments.
So you can understand my surprise when on each of my trips God has reminded me that He is not physically present in Israel anymore… and that it’s a good thing. It was on my last trip that I wrote these words in my journal:
“The Holiest Ground – The ground most fertile to the move of the Spirit – The ground most potent for allowing God to speak to you – The ground you will see the risen Christ walking on and meet him there. That ground is not found in Israel. That ground is found in the place you have been uniquely called and anointed to serve in.”
You see we often make Israel a sacred location because Jesus walked there. But one thing I’ve been reminded of on each of my trips is that Jesus is no longer there. What do I mean? Well, people used to walk for miles during His three years of ministry just to listen to His teachings. They had to because Jesus was physically there, in Galilee (or some other place) teaching, healing the sick and advancing a new Kingdom. However, after the Resurrection and subsequent outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus now resides in all believers.
Through believers, Jesus is now in Hong Kong, Scotland, Cambodia, Argentina, Australia and every country that has disciples of the Lord. He is in the “uttermost parts of the earth” through His followers!
While we wait for His return, we are His hands and feet. We are Jesus to the World. Jesus was one man, but we have the potential of 2.2 billion men and women walking in the power of God to proclaim and advance the same Kingdom Jesus taught about 2,000 years ago.
But here’s the big question: Are we actually walking in the power afforded us? In John 16:7, Jesus said “it is for your benefit that I go away. If I do not go away the Counselor will not come to you. If I go, I will send Him to you.” He’s saying very clearly that the world will be a better place without Him because He was one, but we will be many. This may be what Jesus meant by “you will do even greater things than I have done.”
This is what is called incarnational ministry. We “incarnate” the ministry of Christ when we minister on His behalf, becoming His hands and feet.
People of the Jesus movement are disciples of Christ. A disciple imitates his/her master – they do everything the master does. This means…and this is significant… To the best of our ability, we’re supposed to be doing what Jesus did. We should be proclaiming the Kingdom, healing the sick, and loving the unlovely!
This is a radical shift from our “invite them to church” American culture. The Jesus movement desires instead to “bring the church to them.” But, of course, this plan only works if you realize that you’re a minister and that the sacred and secular are not separate – as we’ve seen in the last few devotions.
The truth is that we should be able to see Jesus wherever we are, because wherever we are Jesus is there through us. The patriarchs created monuments as reminders of places God moved throughout Israel. Today, you and I are living monuments marking places where God is still moving in our community.
How is God moving through you? The world gave the movement Jesus started and His followers the title “little Christs” (Christians). How are you being like Christ in our community? Consider this: People should only have to walk as far as your door to find Jesus.
Here’s the big question: IS THE WORLD BETTER BECAUSE YOU’RE HERE AND JESUS ISN’T? Because He said it would be.
You will JOIN THE MOVEMENT as you become Christ to the person around you through incarnational ministry.
Meditate and reflect on these verses and questions:
Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” John 20:21
1. Is your world better because you are in it?
2. The Father sent Jesus to Israel and the “lost sheep of Israel.” Where has Jesus sent you?
3. Jesus ministered to people in physical, emotional and supernatural ways. i.e., He fed the 5,000 who were physically hungry, He healed the sick supernaturally, and He loved the woman caught in adultery enough not to condemn her. In what ways can you minister to the needs around you?
– Pray that God makes you conscious of the needs around you throughout your day.
– Pray that your ground becomes Holy Ground because you are ministering in the power of Jesus in that place.
– Pray that God grants you greater influence so that you can use that influence for God’s glory.