I’ve been a Christian long enough to know that following Jesus means always walking uphill.
I fail every day as a Christian, and you probably do too.
It doesn’t take a theologian to know believers, even devout ones, sin.
But do we have to do it so much, so often, and in such big ways?
My question is, why aren’t we more like Jesus?
I’m gonna steal a line from a pastor friend who uses it when he pulls out the big words and hard topics in a Sunday sermon.
“Rifles up, we’re goin’ in deep.”
This isn’t coffee and bonbon conversation.
It’s talk of ‘the deeper life.’
Of high lofty sounding words like consecration and hard to do things like discipline and dedication.
Several books I’ve been reading have forced me to take inventory of my walk with Jesus.
Maybe you’ve wondered about your own journey with God and whether or not you should be more like Jesus than you are right now.
The first book is The Spirit of The Disciplines, Understanding How God Changes Lives, by Dallas Willard.
He was a Southern Baptist minister who held teaching positions at the University of Southern California, UCLA, and the University of Colorado.
Here’s what he said: What would you think of an aspiring baseball player who believes that with no regime of practice or exercise he could play like a professional?
You wouldn’t be surprised that he failed, miserably and completely. Well no, I wouldn’t. But that’s exactly the logic behind the What Would Jesus Do philosophy.
Even when we know what Jesus would do, we are unprepared in character to do it ourselves.
His central idea is this: what must we do to take the yoke of Jesus upon ourselves and really learn from Him?
Three promises follow that command.
1. We will find rest for our souls.
2. His yoke is easy.
3. His burden is light.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Let me paraphrase his conclusion.
Even though we want what’s right, we aren’t willing to commit to the kind of life that would produce that action.
What do you think?
What is the yoke of Jesus we are to take for our yoke?
I’m meditating on the Matthew passage and asking God what I’ve been missing in understanding and application.
The second book is The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas À Kempis.
The translation reads like the King James version, but there is treasure in this book.
These two excerpts made me examine my own life in the light of Christ’s life.
His life is the only standard of measure for a Christian.
Be mindful of the purpose thou hast embraced, and set always before thee the image of the Crucified. Good cause thou hast to be ashamed in looking upon the life of Jesus Christ, seeing you have not yet endeavored to conform thyself more unto Him, though thou hast been a long time in the way of God.
Remember always your end, and how that time lost returneth not. Without care and diligence thou shalt never get virtue. If thou beginnest to wax lukewarm, it will begin to be evil with thee. But if thou give thyself to fervor, thou shalt find much peace, and feel lighter toil through the assistance of God’s grace, and the love of virtue. One fervent and diligent is prepared for all things.
Time lost returns not.
Wow. That cuts across all my excuses and distractions.
Give yourself to fervor.
What would that look like in my life?
. . .that I might have
towards my God, a heart of flame;
towards my fellow-men a heart of love;
towards myself, a heart of steel.
That seems to me like a very good description of the way Jesus lived while He walked among us.
He invited us to learn from Him.
That’s my prayer, that God will open my eyes and let me see Jesus.