July 22, 2016
“God decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son.” — Romans 8:29 MSG
God’s fervent intent, his deepest desire, is to make us into Jesus’ image; for us to be like Jesus. The concept may seem daunting. Here are some thoughts that point the way.
Lauren F. Winner, Duke Divinity School Assistant Professor, reminds us, “Jesus specialized in asking people to steep themselves in the words of the scriptures and then to look around their ordinary Tuesdays to see what they could see about holiness and life with God.” In her book, Wearing God: Clothing, Laughter, Fire, and Other Overlooked Ways of Meeting God, Winner explores multiple Biblical metaphors that symbolically illustrate the nature of God. From such symbolism we gain insight to ways that we can be Christ-like. For instance, Colossians 3:12 NIV tells us, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Put on Jesus’ nature each morning just as you put on your day’s attire. Wrap yourself in his character as you engage in those ordinary days that are every day of the week. Be like Jesus, for his interaction with the people was not just on the Sabbath and did not happen behind the pulpit of a sanctuary. His conversations with seekers occurred across the tables of a meal, down the street around the local well, on lake shores in the midst of workday chores, on the road during travel, in homes and on hillsides, as well as in the congested thoroughfares of city streets. To be like Jesus, to love people as God loves us, we must wear our faith into every venue that we frequent.
To be like Jesus, Christians simply have to show up. Jesus showed up in the hard places of human life. He showed up when people were diseased and dying. He sought out the poor, the widow, the orphaned, the marginalized, and the felon. Jesus offered food when the crowd was hungry. He washed feet to express his love. As Shelly Miller describes, “... God often shows up in the messy, broken, ordinary, complicated of the mundane.” In the footsteps of Christ, with the love of Christ, we are given compassion and courage to show up, to be his ambassador of hope for people who are struggling.
“ He who believes in me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do.” — John 14:12 NKJV
In the course of our efforts we’ll encounter people with deep questions regarding faith. It’s helpful to remember that Jesus repeatedly engaged in conversations with people who doubted his divine nature. But his followers knew him to be approachable. Strangers knew him as a teacher; ever patient, prepared to illustrate again, within the context of daily life, a new metaphor, a new story, of how God lovingly pursues his children and how faith can be nurtured. We can follow his example in the varied circumstances of our contemporary lives by being authentic about our own moments of doubt and our own committed journey to a stronger faith. Christian writer Shannon Martin wrote, “... (Jesus) keeps showing up for us, often disguised as each other. He reveals himself, quite improbably, through humans who struggle ....”
Try it on, this garment of Christ. Perhaps a few alterations might be made, in keeping with the unique talents and spiritual gifts that God created in you, even though the composition of the cloth is his. Step into your ordinary days permeated with the variances of God’s people, wearing the heart and mind of Jesus.
Dear Lord Jesus,
You spent your life here on earth caring for others.
You reached out to the homeless and the hurting with compassion.
You forgave those who insulted you and tried to destroy you.
Seeking hearts found answers from you. Weary hearts found rest.
You lifted up those who were beaten down by life.
Your kind heart broke for the entire world.
May we follow your example and spend our lives reaching out to others.
When we are tempted to turn away from people,
let us show your love instead. Amen.
Lauren F. Winner, Wearing God: Clothing, Laughter, Fire, and Other Overlooked Ways of Meeting God
Shelly Miller Blog - http://redemptionsbeauty.com/2016/06/27/what-if-thespirit-descends-like-a-pigeon/
Shannon Martin - http://www.incourage.me/2016/07/the-purpose-ofchurch.html
Max Lucado, Live Loved: Experiencing God’s Presence in Everyday Life