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The Characteristics - Part 2

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
January 9, 2024 12:00 am

The Characteristics - Part 2

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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January 9, 2024 12:00 am

Discover how to live a fulfilling life according to God's Word.

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Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Tuesday, January 9th. What is a normal Christian life?

If you first think about activities you should or shouldn't do, then today's podcast will help redirect your thinking. Let's discover key qualities that will be evident in believers who strive to live an extraordinary life. Turn to Galatians chapter two. I want you to see a verse here that best describes the kind of life that our Lord Jesus Christ intended for us to live. This is the extraordinary life, and Paul wraps it up like this.

Because in this verse is Paul's heart, soul, and mind. Listen, I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. And the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me. Paul says, there was a time in my life when I walked away from my past. He says, I died to the life that I was living. He says, so therefore in this life that I'm now living, it is no longer I, Paul, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life which I now live, I live by faith in the Son of God. Here is the heart of everything the Apostle Paul believed. Here's the underlying theology. Here's the underlying truth that governed his actions, his speech, and everything about him.

And what he was simply saying is this. It used to be the Apostle Paul. It used to be Saul of Tarsus.

Then it was Paul. Now it is Christ who lives in me. And the life which I'm now living, not the same, I live by faith in the Son of God.

What he was saying is this. I have moved from that settled-for life that I was living. I choose to live an extraordinary life. What is anything extraordinary? Whatever's extraordinary is above the norm. It's above the natural. It's not the commonplace. It's something above and beyond all that.

So what I want to do is this. I want to answer the question, what does the extraordinary life look like? What does the extraordinary Christian look like? So an extraordinary Christian is a praying person. They pray about everything.

They don't leave anything unprayed for. They pray for themselves. They pray for others. They pray for the Lord's work. They pray for people around the world. In other words, prayer is the heart of the life of the believer.

Praying and trusting him. If you take prayer and faith out of your life, I'm here to tell you it's a disaster. You will not be worth anything, number one.

Number two, you won't accomplish anything. The world accomplishes many things that one day is going to be ashes. Listen, when you and I live the life of prayer and praise, when we praise the living God, we're thanking him, we're living in that relationship with him, what we leave behind when we're gone is going to live on and on and on because it's going to make an eternal difference in people's lives and what's going to happen is you're going to begin to realize, listen, that your investment in life is in things that have eternal purpose in them. And you can ask a praying person something about prayer and more than likely they're going to give you a verse of Scripture. More than likely they're going to give you their favorite Scripture. It may be Matthew seven, asking it shall be given to you, seeking it shall, and it may be first John chapter five. This is the confidence that we have in him, that we ask anything according to his will.

In other words, verse after verse after verse in the Bible, why? Because, listen, we should have learned in this Christian life. How do we communicate? We talk to him. We listen to him.

We don't live our lives. That is, listen, the extraordinary Christian doesn't live his or her life and just pray in the morning before they go to work or at night when they go to bed. They're praying all the time. Father, show me this. Help me to understand what to say to this person.

Enable me to get this exactly right. In other words, if you live your life prayerless, you can mark it down powerless and prayerlessness all go together. Not only that, a prayerless person will not have a pure life. A prayerless person not going to have any prayer in their life. And a prayerless person is not going to be very productive in things that have eternal value. An extraordinary Christian recognizes the awesome sense of the power of prayer to be able to call upon God, crying out to God for that person. I was praying for somebody and I was crying out to God for that person.

I hadn't been praying very long and I had planned to pray for a while because of the condition they were in. And all of a sudden, right in the middle of sight, God says, I've already done that. It's done. It's done.

Before the day was over, I found out it was done. What I'm simply saying is this. God is so personal. He hears your prayers. He wants you to pray. He wants you to live an extraordinary life.

But it's a choice you have to make in life. Then of course, it is a life filled with the Holy Spirit. How do you live the extraordinary Christian life?

By dependence upon the Holy Spirit to live in and through us the very life of Christ. Anything less than what we're talking about is only, listen, it's down here on a sub-level where God does not intend for us to live. This is where the world lives. And little by little in our life is we begin to grow in our Christian life. What happens is we live on a different level.

It doesn't, watch this carefully, it doesn't mean that we're better than anybody else. It just means we are learning to live on a higher plane. The extraordinary Christian life. These are the characteristics of a person who, listen, is sick and tired of living down here with one foot in the world, one foot in the church. Praying to God in time of need and then living as if we don't even know Him.

A person filled with the Holy Spirit is a person who has surrendered their life to the Spirit and here's what they discover. When the Spirit of God is in control of your life, which is a decision you make, He begins to energize you. He will empower you to accomplish and achieve things you absolutely could not achieve and accomplish without Him. And you have the right and the privilege to say to Him, Spirit of the Living God, give me wisdom, Spirit of the Living God, give me divine energy, give me physical energy, Lord, to do what I need to do this day.

Then of course, the next one is a life of total dependence. Now, some people think just depending on the Lord Jesus Christ, that's a sign of weakness. When I hear the world say, you Christians are weak. You Christians are dependent upon this God. I want to say to you, my friend, absolutely correct. Absolutely correct. We are dependent upon Him because we've learned that is the wisest, smartest way to live.

It is the most intelligent way to live because think about it. When you're dependent upon Him, you're dependent upon what? His wisdom, His love, His power, His guidance, His direction, His supply. Is that weak?

No, it's not weak. It is a sign of strength. And so, when we come to the whole issue of an extraordinary life, it is a life of dependence. Then of course, the disciplined life. If you're not disciplined, you're not walking in the Spirit. Let me ask you a question. Is, was there anything in the life of Jesus that left us confusing?

He said it, He said He was going to and He spoke in terms of direction. Think about this. If you do not live a disciplined life, it'll affect your prayer life, you'll pray, you'll pray spasmodically. You won't read the Bible except spasmodically. If you live an undisciplined life, it'll affect the way you dress. It'll affect the way you do your job. It'll affect whether you get there on time or five minutes beforehand.

It'll, listen, it'll also reveal what quality of work you produce no matter where you are. Because a disciplined life is a life, listen, not regimented, but a life under the control of the Holy Spirit within you because you have allowed Him to control it. We, listen, to be an extraordinary person, to be an extraordinary Christian, we accept discipline, listen, not as a difficulty or something that obstructs us, but something that enables us.

It is an attitude of the mind and the heart. And the extraordinary Christian is certainly going to do that. Then it is a challenging life. I would never say that living an extraordinary life would be necessarily easy. There are times in our lives when we all face difficulty, hardships, trials, suffering, pain, loss, loneliness, you name it.

We all face those things at different times in our life. And so, if somebody says, well, this extraordinary life ought to be able to eliminate all of that. Well, it didn't eliminate it in Jesus' life.

It didn't eliminate it in the apostle Paul's life. And down through the centuries, listen, some of the godless people you have ever met in your life were people who had a lot of heartache, suffering, and pain, but glowing in their countenance, smiling. You could tell, you, listen, you just knew when you met them, you were in the presence of somebody who knew the Lord. When somebody meets you, what do they think? Who do they see? Do they see somebody on the inside of you that's so evident? They just know that you are not that normal Christian who just does those normal things, but there's something different about you. Somebody says, well, I don't want to draw attention to myself, you've missed the point. Not draw attention to yourself, but Christ in you drawing attention to Himself within you. It goes, listen, it goes beyond the outer man.

The extraordinary Christian life is a life, and listen, which is continually being conformed to the likeness of Christ. What's being conformed? Well, your hand doesn't change. Feet don't change. Nothing else changes. It's what's on the inside. That is the inner man, the inner person of Christ begins to, listen, to be seen on the outside of you.

Not in how you're made up. It's what you transfer. It's what you send out. It's the message you send.

It is Christ living inside of you. That's part of being an extraordinary Christian. Well, the extraordinary Christian is unshakable. They can face difficult times, hard times, things that shake other people and rattle their faith.

Why? Here's the reason why, and I'm going to give you time to jot these things down, because I don't want you to forget them. First of all, because unshakable, because listen, the extraordinary Christian is anchored in the truth of God's Word.

Write it down. Anchored in the truth, number one. God's Word, anchored in the truth. Number two, resting in the promises of God's Word, anchored in the truth of God's Word, resting in the promises of God's Word, focused on the principles of God's Word. What is this teaching? What is God saying to me?

Focus and focused on the principles. How does this apply to my life? And then strengthened by the examples of God's Word. God wants to make you an extraordinary Christian, unshakable, no matter what happens. You're not doubting God, questioning God, blaming God, turning away from God, but you know that He's in absolute control.

He has your best interest at heart. Unshakable. Likewise, fruitful. Fruitful.

How is there life to be fruitful? Giving it away. Giving it away to others. Sharing your faith with people that the Spirit of God says to you, I want you to speak to that person.

I want you to share what I'm doing in your life. And what happens? When you and I give ourselves away, we become fruitful. Hold it to yourself and what happens?

Your life becomes fruitless. And I think when you think in terms of serving the Lord, not serving Him for recognition, serving Him because you love Him. Let me ask you, how do you express your love to God? How do you express it?

Well, it's one thing to tell Him and that certainly is true. What about what you do? Who you do it for? How much of it you do?

How often you do? How do you express love to Him? The extraordinary Christian does not live unto self but unto the Lord Jesus Christ. We, listen, all of us should want and desire that people see Him in us and want the Christ in us. Therefore, our actions and our words and our very presence should convey that. The extraordinary life is a life of love.

Watch this. The love of God. The love He has for us. The love for God. The love we have for Him. The love of ourselves. Somebody says, that's pride.

No, it's not. He says that we have to treat others like we want to be treated. And He says we have to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. There is a healthy, godly way to love yourself. And you can see how the people who don't love themselves don't take care of their health.

Don't think about the future, just think about pleasure today. It's very evident when people have no genuine, true respect for themselves. You love yourself. You take care of your body. You watch what goes in your mind. You think about eternal things and not just physical things or material things or just of today.

And so, I think about what Paul talked about love being the depth of it and the height of it. Think about the truth that God has placed a love in your heart that's so big, so wide, so deep, it can encompass everybody. We won't love everybody the same.

That's not the way we'll build. But the truth is we can embrace everybody. We don't have to embrace their lifestyle or their language or their wants, desires. But there is, we can love the person.

We may despise, and the Bible teaches it, despise lifestyles that are ungodly. But we can love the person. It is a life of love. Which means, of course, there's going to be forgiveness and kindness and all the rest that goes with it.

Then one last thing is this. It is a rewarding life. A rewarding life. And what do I mean by that? Simply this, the person who lives the extraordinary life has a peace within them that passes all understanding.

It's there. Secondly, there's a sense of fulfillment in the godly life, the extraordinary life, a sense of fulfillment. You know what that, you know how powerful that fulfillment is?

Watch this. This is how powerful it is. This relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ is so powerful.

Here's what it does. It just sort of draws us away from things that God does not want in our life. Because we're so fulfilled in things that are good and right that what happens is it doesn't leave any room for things that are not godly and things that are not right and things that, listen, things that do not fit who we are. There's a sense of fulfillment. There's a sense of completion. There's a completeness about the extraordinary life. I can have it or I can not have it.

I can do with it or I can do without it. And then there's a sense of wholeness. That is, I'm a whole person. Most people are not emotionally whole. They don't know what wholeness means.

When there's emotional wholeness in your life, it means that you feel complete, you feel satisfied, there is peace. Now, does that mean that everything in the world satisfies you? No, but it means this.

You have such a satisfaction in your relationship to Christ. Does that mean you can't grow anymore? No, it doesn't mean that.

Sendless? No, but it means there's this surpassing peace and satisfaction and completion and wholeness in your life. That you're not drawn over here that you've got to have this and got to have this and be accepted for this and that. If God provides, fine.

If He doesn't, that's fine. The extraordinary Christian life is a life that encompasses all the things that we've talked about. Somebody says, well, that sounds impossible to me.

Right? And what we've said, that's the work of the Holy Spirit. When you trust the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, which you can do by asking Him to forgive you of your sins, and trusting Him as your Savior, that moment on, here's what the Holy Spirit does. He begins to point us toward the very things we've talked about that causes us to do what?

To begin to grow. And here's what happens. You can tell when you're becoming an extraordinary Christian by this fact. You become less and less satisfied with where you were. And your hunger for God keeps on increasing.

He's just doing what He said, conforming you to the likeness of Christ so that you can, I can say with the apostle Paul, it is no longer I who lives, but it is Christ who's living within me. That becomes more and more evident. And while there's a sense of wonderful satisfaction, there's this spiritual dissatisfaction, unsatisfied hunger and thirst and yearning, not for what the world has to offer, but just more of Him. He always answers that hunger. And you know what satisfying that hunger does?

Creates more hunger. That's what makes us Christ-like, where He wants us to be. And Father, how grateful we are. You don't want us living some half-hearted, normal Christian life the way the world sees it. And I pray the Holy Spirit will create in the heart of every single person who hears this message, a deep yearning, insatiable, hungering, thirsting desire to live an extraordinary life. They will bring you glory and honor, is my prayer in Jesus' name. Amen. Thank you for listening to The Characteristics. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by InTouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-09 02:19:33 / 2024-01-09 02:27:39 / 8

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