My son was delighted to get a Dodge Viper as one of his Christmas gifts. No, not a full scale $75,000 sports car, but a 1/25th scale model! It reminds me of my modeling hobby as a boy. I enjoyed assembling plastic car and airplane models. (It was a good way to learn about cars and planes and helped keep me out of mischief.)
Models are helpful in the life of discipleship too. I’m not referring to the value of having a hobby, rather the importance of basing our beliefs and practice on the right pattern.
For instance, The Lord Jesus modeled servanthood by washing the disciples’s feet. (John 13:15). And Peter reminded the early Christians to endure suffering by looking to Christ’s example. “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps.”(1 Peter 2:21). Paul could humbly, yet honestly point believers to his own example: “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” (1 Cor 11:1). And believers are to be positive models of faith and integrity to others. As Paul instructed Timothy,” . . . be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. (1 Tim 4:12).
Having a good model is important in prayer as well. When the disciples asked the Lord Jesus to teach them how to pray, He gave them “the Lord’s Prayer”, which was intended as a pattern or outline for our conversation with the Heavenly Father. (Matt 6:9-13).
When witnessing to someone, we may suggest a sample “sinner’s prayer” which the readied seeker may use to receive Christ as Savior. Many evangelistic booklets include such a suggested prayer at the conclusion of the gospel presentation.
We believe that the Scriptures teach that the abundant life does not occur in the believer’s life automatically. As David Needham would say, it IS their birthright, yet many struggle to discover and appropriate the truths of “the exchanged life”.Too often we languish in Romans chapter 7 misery, rather than chapter 8 victory. In the cassette tapes of his Exchanged Life Conference, Dr. Charles Solomon gave a sample prayer to encourage and guide disciples in appropriating God’s provision for abundant living. This prayer may be a helpful model for us to review and personalize. Perhaps it could be called a “selfer’s prayer”:
“. . . I hereby surrender everything that I am, and have, and ever will be. I take my hands off of my life and release every relationship to You–every habit, every goal, my health, my wealth, and everything that means anything. I surrender it all to You. And by faith I take my place at the Cross, believing that when the Lord Jesus was crucified, according to Your Word, I was crucified with Him; when He was buried, I was buried; when He was raised from the dead, I was raised with Him. So I deny myself the right to rule and reign in my own life and take up the Cross and believe that I was raised from the dead and seated at your right hand. I thank You for saving me from my sins and myself. And from this moment on I am trusting You to live Your life in me and through me to do what I can’t do and quit what I can’t quit, and start what I can’t start –that You might receive all the glory. I thank You now by faith for accepting me in the Lord Jesus, for giving me Your grace, Your freedom, Your joy, Your victory and Your righteousness as my inheritance in the Lord Jesus Christ. So even if I don’t feel anything. . . I know that Your Word is true. . ., (I am ) counting on Your Spirit to do what Your Word says. . . to set me free from myself, that Your resurrection life may be lived out through me, and that You may receive all the glory. I thank You and praise You for victory right now in Jesus’ name , amen.”
Can we truly say “amen”?
Dec. 28, ’98
Resources: The Exchanged Life Conference Audio Tapes are available through Grace Fellowship Int’l e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
“Birthright” by David C. Needham is published by Multnomah