- Mark 8:29 “And He continued by questioning them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Peter answered and said to Him, ‘You are the Christ.'”
WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM?
Who is Jesus to you?
What three qualities, characteristics, and/or traits of His stand out most prominently to you? For each one, find at least three verses that support that.
In sharing Jesus with others, Peter and John express in few words their approach to sharing Christ: “for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20, NKJV).
In your walk of faith, what have you seen Jesus do?
What have you heard from Him regarding Himself, His plan for you, His desire for your life?
Reviewing your answers to the last two questions,
list out any additional qualities/characteristics/ traits you you appreciate in Jesus–and verses to support them.
Spend some time praising and thanking Him for everything He is in your life.
WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM–BY YOUR WORDS…
We are created in God’s image. We claim discipleship with Christ. As such, people look to us to see who Jesus is. Do we fail? Yes. Are we flawed? Yes. But still, the outside world who does not know Jesus looks to His followers to see His impact on a life.
I challenge you to take one day and categorize the words that you say. Our words speak volumes as to what is in our heart and mind. Our words reveal our thoughts, our motivations, and our plans.
What are your words revealing about you? For the next day, for every comment or series of comments made, mark which of the following categories that comment falls into: praising God; edifying another person; thanking someone; asking politely; tearing down another person; gossip; complaint; demanding; other (specify).
There are no excuses. Be honest, be accurate. Hiding the reality of your day-to-day interactions will not help you change them.
What do the results of this assessment reveal?
Does this assessment reveal an accurate picture of Christ?
What needs eradication?
What would you like to see more of in your words?
As Jesus for help! He longs to teach you.
WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM–BY YOUR ACTIONS…
“Actions speak louder than words,” or so we say. The Bible tells us that it is from the overflow of the heart that the mouth speaks. With that being true, where do actions come from?
I submit that actions come from what we truly believe. Words come from the things we meditate on, the things we speak about. If you think kind thoughts about a person, you are much more likely to say kind things about them. But if you ignore them completely, your actions say they aren’t worth your time or energy.
So often we translate a person’s words by using their actions. Growing up, when my parents responded to a request with “we’ll see,” I knew it meant “no.” How did I know that? Because the actions I saw after the words were, in all but one occasion, a refusal of the request. However, the actions I saw after a request was answered with “maybe” showed that “maybe” meant the request had a chance of being fulfilled, or not. Even though “we’ll see” and “maybe” could mean the same thing, the actions that followed told the story of how those words were operationalized in my home.
Read Genesis 3:1-6. What stands out to you?
Eve’s words in this passage show that she had considered the command of God not to eat of the fruit. She knew it was important, so she remembered what was commanded. We won’t go into the fact that she actually made the command much more restrictive than God had (see Genesis 1:29-31); the point is that Eve heard God and remembered the command.
Her actions show the translation of that hearing. Whether she had a weakness, or questioned God’s command, or simply wasn’t paying all that much attention to the environment or wasn’t being wary of who was speaking to her, we will never know. We can speculate all we want about her intentions or motivations, but we cannot actually know them.
What we can look at are her actions. For whatever reason, she took the fruit and ate of it. That is the action that defines her words. We can guess that she may have doubted God. We can guess that she really didn’t care what God had said. We can guess she was simply not all that smart and fell to the persuasion of the serpent. But those are guesses.
What we can know for sure is that she took the fruit and she ate of it. And then she handed it to her husband.
Words are important. Words matter. What also matters is your actions.
Read Luke 10:30-37. What stands out to you?
In the Jewish culture there was animosity between the Jews and the Samaritans. Samaritans claimed to be heirs of Abraham, though their heritage was only half-Jewish. And on that basis, the Jews saw Samaritans as illegitimate children who deserved rejection. The hatred ran deep, so for Jesus to choose the Samaritan as the “hero” of this story hit at that very core of how Jews viewed Samaritans. Much as been studied and preached about those issues and why Jesus may have used that situation as a catalyst for re-defining the definition of neighbor. In this passage, however, we do not know if the man who was beaten was a Samaritan or not; he is simply described as a man.
The priest had likely counseled many times about taking care of the sick and destitute. The Levite was defined by their service in the temple. Yes, there were rules about remaining clean and therefore avoiding dead bodies. However, there must have been some indication that the man was not actually dead, else the Samaritan wouldn’t have stopped to help. The robbers didn’t “leave him for dead,” they left him “half dead.” This is not a fluke of my translation; I checked seven translations and every one reads “half dead.”
What does half-dead look like? We don’t know. But whatever it is, the robbers didn’t even think he was dead. So it was quite likely that the priest and Levite could have also determined the man was not dead and therefore they would not have broken any religious laws to help him.
The priest was a preacher of the Scriptures. The Levite was a servant in the house of God. Both likely spoke as one would expect from someone in such positions. But neither man’s actions showed their love for another.
What are your actions showing? I trust that as you have read this, God has brought something to your mind He would like you to address. What is He asking of you?
We all have ways in which our actions do not follow our words, or our heartfelt desire to do good things falls flat when it comes to execution. But we must keep pressing forward. We must continue to try, not allowing excuses to reign, but to keep pressing forward. The world is watching. Why should they believe in Christ if you, being one who proclaims Christ, has actions consistently different than your words.
It can be a struggle to change behavior. Know that you are not alone in it.
Read Romans 7:15-25. Read it through slowly as turns of phrases can cause confusion. What is at war in Paul?
If Paul struggled with this issue of making actions fit beliefs, then you are in good company. And just as he continued to press on, we must do the same.
Read Hebrews 12:1-3. For each active verb, note who is to be doing that verb.
Go back and put a check mark next to the active verbs that belong to Jesus. What stands out to you?
No circle the verbs that belong to you. What stands out to you?
Take comfort. Jesus’ verbs are bigger than ours. And He will help us through the verbs we need to do. Spend some time thanking Him for all He has already done, petitioning His help for all He is about to do, and resting in the peace that comes with knowing you are not alone in this. As you continually grow to make your actions match your beliefs, your life will be more and more like Jesus. And thus, your actions will tell the worlds exactly who you think He is.