30 April 2015 by Tony Dibble –
A ‘limited’ Christian here is a genuine Christian who has not been able to enjoy the full Christian life. This may be due to an incorrect perspective of the faith. We need to know how to live the complete Christian life. This is done by being totally in Christ through:
- meditation and study of GOD’s word
- participating in the Body of Christ
- avoiding presumption and legalism.
#1 Develop a prayer life
To the Christian, prayer is just as important as ammunition and weapons are, to a soldier in battle. It is a Christian’s whole life, for his defence, as well as his offensive: for survival as well as a fruitful life.
A Christian is defenceless without prayer. He is exposed to attack by the devil and the world. Without fervent prayer, the Christian is on quicksand. He is unable to dismiss the temptation to sin.
Prayer is also important for spreading and sharing the gospel. Gods directs the spread of His gospel through the Holy Spirit (Acts 16:6 & 7). It is the work of GOD for His own glory. Therefore, it must be delivered to GOD in prayer.
The Christian must never compromise his time for prayer. Prayer keeps him afloat above water. It is his priority. Calvin, Spurgeon, Chambers & Torey considered prayer the most important work of a believer. It is to be made always (Eph 6:18), continually (1 Thess 5:17), everywhere (1 Tim 2:8) for everything (Phil 4:6). The Holy Spirit helps us pray (Rom 8:26-27).
Prayer must cover all areas of a Christian’s life no matter how insignificant anything may seem. A full life in Christ means that every area of our lives is signed over COMPLETELY to Christ through prayer. Prayer is the life of GOD in the soul of man, to paraphrase Henry Scougal.
#2 Develop a Christ-centred lifestyle
We do not function independently, outside of GOD (John 15:5). We look for GOD in everything we do, say, and think about. We must not separate ourselves from GOD, carving areas exclusively for ourselves. We are on earth not to enjoy life, but to enjoy GOD in this life. It is not a question of extremism. Rather, it is consecrating (presenting spiritually) all that we are engaged in, to GOD.
If we view events as outside GOD’s authority, it is dangerous. We are then no different from the agnostic who does not care whether GOD exists or does not: he simply fails to see GOD in all that happens.
Everything is for GOD’s glory (I Cor 10:31). GOD alone is to be praised for everything that happens (Job 1:21; 2:9 & 10), good or bad. GOD does not perform evil: that is done by the devil or by sinful man. Instead, GOD makes good arise out of evil (Gen 50:20). Whenever evil develops, GOD has ensured the occasion would turn out for His own glory, completely. We must not go into panic-mode when something bad happens. We instead need Christ as the immediate lenses for our ‘spectacles’. We must be still and really know GOD (Ps 46:10).
Be careful not to be trapped by self-motivation. Success and motivation techniques have no place for Christ-dependence. They instead teach self-dependence as the source of success. Adopting these motivational techniques would not lead to a complete life in Christ. Success is fine, provided it is delivered completely through enjoying GOD.
#3 Meditating and Studying the Word of GOD
Meditating is personal reflection with GOD. When we meditate, we are inspired by GOD.GOD speaks to us through the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:16 & 17). GOD enters our mind to show us truths about Him and His will as we read His Bible.
Meditating on GOD’s word is to be a complete activity (Josh 1:8). His word must not depart from us, day and night. When we meditate on GOD’s word, we are cleared from the danger of sin. We do not listen to the advice of those who do not care about GOD. Neither do we position ourselves to take up sin with others. We do not join those who make fun of GOD’s commandments (Ps 1:1-2). We respect GOD’s ways (Ps 119:5).
Studying the word of GOD would teach us the role that GOD has in our lives. It would cut through us and would cause us to examine ourselves more thoroughly (Heb 4:12). We know what GOD requires of us and are well-equipped to do what GOD wants of us (2 Tim 3:17).
We get closer to GOD through time spent on His word. This also gives us a complete way of life, the way we are designed to be.
#4 Witnessing and Spreading the Gospel of Christ
We are not Christians for our own self-preservation or glory. Christians are meant to spread the gospel of Christ. We do not hold on to our lives (1 Cor 15:31). Instead, we use our lives as examples to build on, in order to spread the gospel (Matt: 28:19 & Acts 1:8). The parable of the talents explains this (Matt 25:14-30). We should let GOD use our lives and whatever resources, assets and skills He has supplied us with. Others may then find in us a hunger and thirst for righteous. That makes us complete persons: when GOD uses us to bring people to Him. Otherwise, we are the equivalent of withered branches, meant to be thrown into the fire (John 15:6).
#5 Participating in the Body of Christ
The church is the Body of Christ. All members are equal. No one is more important than the other. Christ is its Head (1 Cor 12:12-31; Rom 12:4-5; Col 1:18).
The church is integrated with Christ. It has no existence on its own. Its activities must be solely in line with the plan of GOD to spread the gospel, give praise and glory to Him, and worship Him only.
The church is neither a social club nor a holy huddle praising or boasting in itself. It is the equivalent of the kingdom of heaven but temporarily limited to earth. The church under the Holy Spirit moves GOD’s kingdom in spreading the gospel. A complete life in Christ is to be found in His church with evangelism, prayer, fellowship and worship. We are Christ’s workmanship, created in Him for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them (Eph 2:10).
#6 Avoiding Presumption and Legalism
We do not presume on GOD, casually. Whist we have assurance of salvation, we do not take it for granted, lightly. We need to be walking with GOD (Gen 5:24), working out our own salvation seriously with Him (Phil 2:12).
Legalism is a cold attitude towards the faith. It is concerned with conforming to appearances and systems rather than living in the Holy Spirit. It looks at religion rather than at Christ. It seems to be concerned with the way religion is organised rather than at the relationship with Christ.
Presumption and legalism often creep in when the prayer life is neglected. They really are anchors that the flesh falls back on when the life in the Holy Spirit has disappeared.
The complete Christian life is secured by immersing ourselves totally in Christ. We talk to Christ. We think of Him. In all we do, we see the hand of Christ directing events. His word is our lamp and our light (Ps 119:105). We participate in His plan for saving the world from itself, and for Him instead. The Holy Spirit of GOD moves us towards being sanctified (made perfect in Christ) completely.
We must have the Christian world view in order to live the life for, and in Christ. We are in the world but not of the world (John 17:15-16; 1 John 4:5). The perspectives of the world do NOT give us the complete life (John 10:10).
NOTE: Tony Dibble worships at Endeavour Christian Gathering, in Perth, Western Australia. Prior to this, he was attending the Church of Our Holy Saviour, in Labuan, East Malaysia. When in Kuala Lumpur, he worships and preaches at Faith Oasis Fellowship (FOF) Subang Jaya, Selangor.
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