Mastering the art of living!
The art of living is the least learned of all the arts. One may say we have learned the art of how to exist in great comfort, of somehow getting by with all the demands that life has to offer, but we know little about the art of living, about being able to walk confidently up to life, with all its demands and with humility and to know that we have within ourselves a mastery that is able to face this business of living within our means. Modern man knows everything about life except how to live it.
To find the secret of how to master the art of living you need a Master. You need to align yourself with one who is truly masterful. If you think that on your own you can somehow become masterful you will not be masterful—you will be silly—or at best obnoxious. Maybe you think that by aligning yourself with another that claims mastery you will find what you need but many claim mastery but have fallen short and led others astray.
The Good News is that the Christian life is centered on such a Master. Jesus Christ is the most masterful person this world has ever seen.
- He walked into time and from that moment forward He quietly divided it into before and after— B.C. and A.D.
- He walked into the realm of thought and altered our concept of God, life and our ultimate destiny.
- He walked into our moral requirements and redefined what is good and bad according to whether we live agreeably to His Spirit or not.
- He walked into our separation from God and by the cross, restored our brokenness bringing us back to a right relationship with the Father.
- He walked into the chaos of human relationships and projected a Kingdom theology that brings harmony to all relationships.
- He walked into our moral weakness and the rule of sin over our lives and imparted a moral and spiritual mastery, which gave His followers a mastery of life that is destined to change the world.
The Master did this quietly, unobtrusively, and effortlessly. Humanity got in touch with Him, absorbed His secret, and found themselves doing things they couldn’t do, thinking thoughts they couldn’t think, and loving people they couldn’t love. They were a surprise to themselves and others. Their change was as quiet as the morning sun and as effective, awakening a slumbering humanity to light and the possibility of leading a full and contented life. Mastery is caught not taught and is gained by contact with the Master. It is by being with Him that we learn this same effortless striving, the same easy accomplishments and the same serene effectiveness.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
In a period of thirty years, one generation, 120 people and their immediate spiritual descendants introduced more basic changes in human living, individual and collectively, than was introduced in any generation in any part of the world before or since. And those changes have embodied the ruling ideas of real civilization ever since. We call this period of time the ‘Acts of the Apostles.’
The Revolution that lasted!
The Master, by the Holy Spirit, put into the inner life of a group of very ordinary people such extraordinary moral and spiritual mastery that within the space of thirty years they had affected a revolution so great that it has affected all moral, spiritual and governmental laws from that time forward.
Just as the eternal God came in a lowly human guise, so the Kingdom of God came into a very lowly group of 120 ordinary people. This group of nobodies ruled the ages and as absurd as that may sound to you they have thus ruled the development of the ages. These 120 proclaimed that the Kingdom of God was here and they told us how to live in this new Kingdom. They proclaimed by the way they lived the ideals and force within this new Kingdom and men and women down through the ages were witnesses to the power that transformed these 120 and their descendants and desired to know this Master and be a part of His Kingdom.
Jesus said that the Kingdom of God would not come “with observation” or by outward signs and wonders, “the Kingdom of God is within you.” He said, or “among you,” as it says in the margins of one of my Bibles. The only lasting revolution begins ‘within’ and then goes ‘among.’ You cannot orchestrate change ‘among’ the people without first taking it ‘within’ them. A group of people waited ten days to receive the Holy Spirit ‘within’. Then, they went out to be ‘among’ human society to effect the greatest changes, and the most lasting, that has ever appeared in human history.
A group of ordinary people were mastered by the risen Christ moving into them by the power of the Holy Spirit; and thus mastered, they moved out to master their circumstances and their relationships showing the world that the Kingdom of God had arrived.
This movement transcended the apostles and was given over into the hands of a lay group which went beyond the apostles and sometimes in spite of the apostles. In the process they quietly touched the minds of thought and idea that blew existing civilizations to pieces and turned the world upside down laying the foundations of a New Order called the Kingdom of God.
At times it seemed that the wind that blew upon the sails of these 120 ordinary people would come to a standstill but instead it turned into a full force gale that blew upon the minds, the souls, the customs, and the societies of men, cleansing away their preconceived customs bringing a breath of fresh heavenly air to all of life. As in Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dry bones, this breath of God breathed upon the valleys of dry bones, upon dead or decadent civilizations, and they lived.
Mastered by the Master
If you are an ordinary person perhaps you to need to make Jesus your Lord and Master. Many have made him their Savior from the bondages of sin and death but few make him Lord and Master. Those 120 in the upper room surrendered to Him, and when they did they found everything else surrendering to them! They bound themselves to Him finding that as they did they in turn were able to walk the earth free at last! Belonging to Him they then found everything belonging to them. They were mastered and as a result became masterful.
Moreover they then found the thing they desired the most, the art of truly living. They found that the thing to which they belonged was the Ultimate Reality. With each step that they took they knew that they walked with a purpose and were afraid of nothing. It was in the process of complete surrender to the mastery of Jesus that they themselves became masters in the art of living.