Answer the Question!


questionHe said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” – Matthew 16:15

“This is the most important question you can answer: Who is Jesus Christ?  The way we answer that questions alters everything.” – James MacDonald

This was the topic of my quiet time yesterday, and it has really stuck with me.  It has made me really think about where I was, where I am, and where I am hopefully going.  It really comes down to the quote by MacDonald.  The answer to the question alters everything.  What I saw in myself in the way that I answer it is revealing something in me.  As I mulled it over for a few hours I started to really see how that answer has changed for me, and it gives me a bit of conviction about how I would like to answer it.

When I read this my answer was immediate, “Jesus is my Savior, my Redeemer, my Advocate and my Friend.”  It is really how I feel about Him.  I am so thankful that He was willing to die for me, that he has bought my life with all of its faults and has cleansed me and presented me to His Father as something desirable.  He stands before the Father and He prays for me and He covers my sins with His grace.  This is very vivid in my mind, and that is why it comes to me so quickly.

The thing is, it wasn’t always like that.  Even as few as 5-6 years ago, my answer would have been different, but just as quick.  I would have said, “He is the Son of God!  He is the Creator of the Universe, and He came to save the world from itself!”  All very true, very factual, just like you would read it out of a book.

So, what has made the difference?  He hasn’t changed.  He is exactly the same, so why is my answer different?  It is because I know Him better now.  I see Him differently because of the time I have spent in His Word.  I have spent time talking to Him, developing a relationship.  I have become tender to the fact that I caused Him to suffer.  I put Him on that cross, and He would do it again and again.  He does.  Every day I do something that is wrong – sin.  And He loves me still. Time and again I will sin and He will cover it.  Time and again I will choose myself over Him, and he forgives me.  Time and again I will lose control, and He welcomes me back.  He redeems me.

I’m so thankful for this view of Christ and who He is to me, but this is not where I am supposed to stay.  The more I thought about it, the more I realized that there needs to be another progression.  I want my answer to be immediate and honest one day when I answer that question by saying, “He is the Lord of my life.”  I’m not there yet.  I have a long way to go to really get there.  Basically because I still have way too many areas in my life that He does not have rule over yet.  Some of them are on purpose because of selfishness, but some of them are for other reasons.

As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct;   – 1 Peter 1:14-15

I like the use of the word “passion” here.  It is referring to action without thought.  Another translation uses the word lust, and as the verse continues it is talking about the ignorance of our sinful nature.  This is a warning to guard against just acting without thinking.  We are called to be holy, set apart in our conduct.  This is the picture of a servant giving thought to his actions before his Lord.  I don’t think it means that mistakes won’t be made.  We are human, and we are acting out of the knowledge that we have, and sometimes that is not accurate or complete, but are we acting out of what we know or are we letting our feelings take over?

I want to be able to sit down at the end of the day and say, “I might not have gotten it all right.  I learned some things today about how I should act, but today I thought of God in all of the things that I did.  Not because I am afraid of His power and how He might punish me, but because I am His servant, and I want Him to be glorified in all that I do because He is a good and kind Lord, and I am blessed to be in His service.”

I don’t want to do anything that will bring shame to my Lord, so I need to change my behavior.  I want people to see my life as one that is devoted to Jesus Christ.  I don’t want them to think that I am going through motions or just trying to build a reputation or a following.  I don’t want to be a poser or a self-promoter.

So, I want to say publicly, if you see me doing something that is not right, that does not seem kind, loving, or in any other way unbiblical, that is all me.  People say that Christians say one thing and do another, and too often that is true, but it should not be a reflection of the God that we serve.  It is us.  It is me.  Christ died for my sins, but I don’t want Him to take the blame for my reputation.  That should fall on me.

So, if you haven’t been giving it any thought, ask yourself, “Who is Jesus to ME?”  When you have your answer, ask yourself “Why?”  Then take it farther and ask, “Am I satisfied with this?” and finally, “What am I going to do about it?”  That is where Relentless living begins. If I can be a help or an encouragement, let me know.  We’re all in this together.

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Author: Tom Tanner

I'm a follower of Christ, husband, and father. Over the last few years I have been learning how to dig deeper into God's Word and letting it influence more of my life. As I learn, try, fail, and repeat in this process I am seeing God's hand more and more in my life and that of my family as well. This journey is long, hard, and at times a little lonely, but living a Relentless life for Christ has rewards that reach beyond me and my family. My prayer is that it brings God glory and leaves a legacy that will show His influence in my life.

I would love to hear your comments here or e-mail them privately to myrelentlessgrowth@gmail.com

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