Jesus did His ministry on earth “in the power of the Spirit” (Luke 4:14). As His followers, we have been united with Him. We have taken on His identity and His mission. So, to truly follow Christ and do the work He did–revealing and releasing the Kingdom of God, the heart of the Father–we too must be filled and led by the Spirit. Everything about our life in Christ–how it began, how it is led, and how it grows from glory to glory–is by the Spirit.
Look at it this way: You will never understand the Father’s heart until you begin to walk in the identity of the Son…but you will never be able to walk in the identity of the Son until you are led by the Spirit. There is no such thing as life in Christ apart from life by the Spirit.
We tend to get things mixed up. We believe that once we understand Jesus, then we will begin to live like Him…then we will begin to share Him with others. But that is not how Jesus did things. The disciples learned Christ along the way. They walked with Him and learned from Him as they went where He went and did what He was doing. Intimacy is in the journey…revelation is on the other side of obedience. Jesus has returned to the Father, but He has given us the Spirit. So now it is the Spirit who leads us to “walk with Christ”…to learn Him along the way.
When we united ourselves with Christ and took on His identity, we received the awesome privilege and responsibility to know God and make Him known to others. We have been set apart to reveal the wonders of the Father (1 Peter 2:9), and commissioned to make disciples of the Son (Matthew 28:18-20). This is only accomplished by the Spirit working in us and through us into the lives of others. I truly believe that we have a large culture of Christianity that does not show Jesus for who He truly is, not because of a lack of Biblical knowledge, but because of a lack of willingness to risk ourselves to follow the Spirit. I am not in any way diminishing the importance of the Word. But you cannot understand and live out the Word apart from the Spirit…and God does not separate understanding from living out (James 1:22).
The thing I want you to understand is this: if we are to truly follow Jesus, truly share Him with others…if we are to be the people He has called us to be, we must learn to live by the Spirit. But the thing we need to remember is that the Holy Spirit is a person of the Godhead. So to live by the Spirit means to live in relationship with the Spirit.
To share Christ and make disciples, to reveal the heart of the Father, to bring the Kingdom of God to others in love and power, these things happen as we live by the Spirit. Hear me on this: Life in Christ is life in relationship with the Spirit.
Next time we will delve in to what it looks like to “Follow Christ–By the Spirit” in practical living.
…shout out to Pastor Bob Jones and Rafael and Clemence Rodriguez who inspired this post.