Love. Live. Preach. Teach.—Live Him, Part 2

November 1, 2011

by Peter Amsterdam

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We are continuing our discussion of the Live Him element of being a disciple. We’ve covered three principles already—the Abiding Principle, the Love Principle, and the Unity Principle—and will cover two more in this article.

The Humility Principle

Time and again throughout the four Gospels, Jesus speaks to His disciples about humility. The Old Testament also speaks well of humility and almost always speaks of its opposite—pride—in a negative light.

The prophet Isaiah succinctly expressed that God dwells, or abides, with the humble:

For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.”[1]

Since God abiding in disciples and them abiding in Him is so vital to their fruitfulness, and since humility plays a role in that abiding, it’s no surprise that Jesus spoke so much about humility.

A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.”[2]

Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.[3]

Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.[4]

When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor. But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, “Friend, move up higher.” Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.[5]

Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.[6]

Jesus set the example and taught the importance of being humble; thus the principle of humility is a key element for a disciple.

The Non-Anxiety Principle

Of all the principles, this is perhaps the most difficult one for me personally, because I tend to worry. I worry about the future, about my children and grandchildren, and if they are going to be okay, and what the future holds. These and many other things weigh on me, wake me up at night, and I have to fight to put them into the Lord’s hands and have faith. So when I talk about this principle, I am preaching to myself as well.

Jesus told His disciples—those that were seeking first His kingdom and righteousness—that they shouldn’t be anxious or troubled or worried about the things of this life; that they should trust in God’s care, His knowledge of their need, and His ability to supply. He instructed them to not feel nervous or afraid about what may or may not happen in the future, but rather to live with peace of heart and mind, knowing that God is in control, that He has our best interests at heart, and that He loves us and will care for us. This doesn’t mean we don’t do our part to fill our needs, but it means that we’re not to fret and worry. It’s the principle of trusting in God and in His promises. It’s the principle of understanding that God is faithful, that what He promises He will perform, and that He, the God of the universe, loves us and will care for us.

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?[7]

And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?[8]

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.[9]

Jesus is saying we shouldn’t worry or be anxious about our food, our clothes, or our future. This doesn’t mean to be irresponsible and to never think about such things, nor that we shouldn't do anything about them, but He’s saying we aren’t to be anxious or fearful about it. God knows our needs. He’s promised that as we put things in the right priority by seeking God’s kingdom and righteousness first, He will take care of our needs. The concept is expressed well in the following anecdote:

It is related that Elizabeth I of England once commissioned a rich merchant prince of her empire to go on an important mission for the crown, promising him rich rewards for his services. The merchant sought to decline the appointment on the grounds that his business would suffer during his absence, but his sovereign assured him: “You go and look after my business, and I will look after yours.” On his return, he found that his queen had kept her promise: he was a richer man than he was before.[10]

As disciples, we are called to do God’s business. When we do, He will take care of us.

Jesus taught this principle to His disciples in a practical manner when He sent the 12 out on their own, and then again when He sent the 72 out.

He commanded them to take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bag, no bread, no copper in their money belts.[11]

Do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts; take no bag for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals or a staff; for the worker is worth his keep.[12]

After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of Him, two by two, into every town and place where He himself was about to go. And He said to them … behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals.[13]

Jesus was teaching His disciples the principle of trusting Him for their needs. He wasn’t preaching against money. In fact, on the night before His death He told them they should take money, and a bag, and even a sword. Yet when He told them this, He reminded them that He was more than able to supply for them.

He said to them, “When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “Nothing.” He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one.”[14]

When His disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, He taught them the Lord’s Prayer, which included:

Give us this day our daily bread.[15]

In other words, we are to pray for the basic needs in our lives.

As opposed to being fretful or anxious, Jesus wants us to have peace in our hearts, to trust Him, to know that He can calm the troubled waters of our worries, that we can trust Him for our needs.

Let not your hearts be troubled.[16]

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.[17]

I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace.[18]

God doesn’t want us to be anxious, worried, or fretting, but to trust that as we do His will, as we give Him the right priority in life, as we follow where He leads us personally, He will care for us. He will give us peace of heart, mind, and spirit.

(In the next article we will continue with further Live Him principles.)

[1] Isaiah 57:15 NKJ.

[2] Luke 22:24–27.

[3] Matthew 18:4.

[4] Matthew 20:26–28.

[5] Luke 14:8, 10–11.

[6] Matthew 11:29 NAU.

[7] Matthew 6:25–26.

[8] Matthew 6:27–30.

[9] Matthew 6:31–34.

[10] Good Thots, Commitment, 53.

[11] Mark 6:8 NKJ.

[12] Matthew 10:9–10 NIV.

[13] Luke 10:1–4.

[14] Luke 22:35–36.

[15] Matthew 6:11.

[16] John 14:1.

[17] John 14:27.

[18] John 16:33.