fig_tree
13th Feb

People of the Way, An Overview

I wanted to begin refocusing the goal of this website toward biblical living. Really, a practical understanding of how to live this life we have committed ourselves to live. There is so much confusion out there about what it means to live according to God’s standard.

What I am attempting to do here is lay out the standard we find in scripture. There will always be disagreement on how a Christian should live. There are so many flavors (denominations) of Christianity and Judaism that it would be impossible to list all the permutations and interpretations for a given bible verse. Let’s face it, many denominations have so little in common with a bible based viewpoint that it is silly to even call them Christian.

What I hope to offer on this site and in this article is my understanding of “The Way”. Early followers of Jesus did not refer to themselves as “Christians” but rather “People of the Way”. What is this way they were called to walk, the way of Jesus of course.

In the coming weeks and months, I hope to break down the way of living described in the pages of scripture. Marriage, raising children, and even business dealings are just a few of the things we will look at.

I will still post on news events as I feel the Lord would like me too. I have a passion for looking at the world though a biblical lens. But I also tire of going on and on about Obama, same sex marriage and the Islamic State. Either we see it or we don’t. So, I have decided that a better use of my limited time would be to concentrate on how we should live.

The Overview

producing fruitThere are several metaphors given in scripture to describe our relationship to the Lord and to each other. Often plants are used in this way to understand our purpose and nature.

There is the fig tree, the grapevine and of course the olive tree. Jesus often noted that you can determine who or what a person is in their heart by the fruit that the produce. He said, “you will know them by their fruit.”

According to Jesus fruit is the goal. Because if you are alive but fail to produce fruit you are not a part of the vine of Jesus Christ. Let’s use John 15:1-17 as a guide. These verses use the grapevine metaphor to describe our relationship with the Lord and each other.

Years ago, Bruce Wilkerson wrote a great little book titled, Secrets of the Vine. In that book he explained that the goal of the Father was to produce fruit in the life of a follower of Jesus.

fig_treeAny fruit bearing plant, a tree or a vine, more or less grows the same way. There is a root structure to provide water and nutrients, there is the trunk that distributes the water and nutrients to the branches, the leaves that are needed for growth and the branches that produce and bear the fruit.

The Root

Jesus referred to Himself as the vine in John 15. This description is intended to show that the Lord is the source of life and this is what He meant by saying that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. We should understand that the Lord created us and He saved us.

He is the source of life and without Him we cannot live. From the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit flow all good things. He is the Creator God and the King of our hearts. The One who has the authority to command us. Because of this the next component of our tree is the Lord’s instruction.

Torah, God’s Instruction

Understanding the proper context of God’s Word has become such a contentions topic when really it should not. Why did God give us His Word? What is it’s role in our lives? So called theologians and pastors will argue about the role of the world of God until no one wants to listen and I think that might be the goal.

When you read the Apostle Paul’s epistles, you might come away with an understanding that supports tossing your bible into the shredder. I caution you against that. Paul’s writings are difficult at best and should never be given just a cursory glance. Peter warns us of this.

In Galatians 3, Paul calls God’s law or instruction a tutor, a schoolmaster to lead us to faith, the purpose of God’s instruction is to guide us on how to live, however, we should not mistake keeping God’s word as a means to being right with the Lord. His Word is meant to instruct us on what the standard of God is and the need for His grace and mercy.

The Word of God reveals the character of God, that is why Jesus Himself is called the Word of God. We should understand too that God’s Word is but one component of our tree. We need the Spirit of God and the willingness to obey Him.

Becoming Spirit Led, The Trunk

If we are to become people of the Way we must embrace the disciplines that will guide us in walking this path.

People of Faith

It all begins and ends with faith. Do we believe that God is who He claims to be? That He created us? That He keeps His promises? We cannot hope to walk the path of the Way without believing that God is. How can we get up and go if we do not first believe that He told us to do it. Faith is belief in action. We demonstrate our faith by doing what the Lord commanded us to do.

People of the Word

As I stated earlier we must be a people who read the Word of God and are willing to obey our King. None of the commands of God can save us, just to be clear, but they do change us. If we are willing to read and obey the command not to steal, we look for ways to keep this command. Stealing can involve much more than taking something that does not belong to us.

People of Prayer

Prayer is more than asking God for stuff. If we are people of prayer, our prayers are sacrifices to the Lord.

How do you approach God? I am often struck by how those in scripture react to being in the presence of a Holy God. Isiah fell on his face and cried, “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”

Even John, the apostle whom Jesus loved and the one who rested on Jesus’ chest fell as if dead before His resurrected Lord.

My point is that how we view and approach God is important. We should recognize in our prayer time the holiness of God, the nature and character of God and we should be changed by our prayer life. Most importantly we should be engaged in regular prayer.

Back to the Fruit

What is the point of a life of faith in Jesus Christ?

Some would argue that it is to go to heaven. Others would say to become a good person. Still others say that we are left here to lead people to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ or to do good works.

What did Jesus say?

If we go by John 15 it is the fruit that matters. What is this fruit that we are to produce? It is when we display the character and nature of God. Galatians 5:22 describes the fruit of the Spirit as having the following qualities: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

Were you ever uncomfortable when a pastor told you that you needed to witness to someone about Jesus? Did you squirm a little? The reason we feel this way is because without the fruit of the Spirit we feel like used car salesmen. From the beginning of creation we have been offered a choice of fruit. If believers in Jesus are producing fruit they will attract others who are desiring the Lord.

We need the disciplines of faith grounded in Jesus Christ to produce fruit that is attractive. We must be people of the Way who allow the Father to prune us as we grow, that we might produce abundant fruit.