To be like Jesus
“The word ‘disciple’ occurs 269 times in the New Testament. ‘Christian’ is found three times. … The New Testament is a book about disciples, by disciples, and for disciples of Jesus Christ.” Dallas Willard, The Great Omission
“You will know as much of God, and only as much of God, as you are willing to put into practice.” Eric Liddell
“It is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher.” Jesus said this in the second of his great speeches given in the Gospel of Matthew as he prepared his disciples to be sent out into the world on mission.
“It is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher.” That’s the goal. That’s the point. Getting people to live Jesus’s way, Jesus’s truth, Jesus’s kind of life. We’re to be about helping one another be like Jesus.
So … are you? Becoming more like Jesus? How? What’s the Father doing in your life right now to make you more like his Son? What are you learning? How are you changing?
You see, discipleship is intentional. Discipleship in the way of Jesus doesn’t just happen. It takes concentrated, focused effort. Remember, discipleship is learning how to be with Jesus (REFORMATION), so that you can see what Jesus does (INFORMATION), so that you can do what Jesus does (TRANSFORMATION).
What are you doing to be with Jesus? Do you pray? Do you know how? Do you read the Bible? Are you able to get anything out of it? Do you fast or meditate or cultivate times of silence and solitude in your life so that the voice of God can speak clearly and uninterrupted to you? Do you Sabbath? In a world of myriad distractions, untold expectations, and plentiful noise, it can be extremely challenging to reform our lives to make space for Christ. Yet, if we can’t get here, then “learning to obey all that he commanded” (Mt 28:20) will feel entirely out of reach.
What do you see Jesus doing that you need to adopt? By the way, the curriculum for our discipleship is our daily life. We’re not asked to live Jesus’s life. Instead, as Dallas Willard taught us, we’re to live our lives as if Jesus were living it. Our lives need to be informed by the life of Christ. This means watching Jesus closely enough that we can see his reactions, his postures, his activities in the world. Where are you learning about Christ? About his heart? About God’s? What are your wrestling with right now in your life, because that may the first place God wants to work in you? Where are you anxious? Angry? Apprehensive? Are there any parallels to the life of Christ? Are there “coincidences” happening around you? Are you hearing the same thing over and over again from different sources? These may be ways God is trying to get your attention. Paying attention to Jesus is crucial.
What are you changing in your life to be more like what you’ve learned from Jesus? If you’re the same as you were last week, last month, last year … then you’re not becoming more like Jesus. Or … do you think you’ve already arrived? Being transformed takes a lifetime. It doesn’t stop. What are the steps you’re taking right now to incorporate into your life the things Jesus has taught you?
My son just interrupted my writing this to let me know that he got an A on a particularly challenging math test this week. He’s worked hard and it paid off. And I remember a time, just a few years ago, he and I sat together at our kitchen table working on his math homework. He was frustrated and angry and in tears. I, in turn, was frustrated and angry and trying to shut his negative emotions down. As far as I was concerned, “we don’t cry about math homework.” But as I took a step back, a question hit me hard: why was I getting upset about his math homework? “The curriculum for our discipleship is our daily life.” Here I was, responding in kind, and not like Jesus. Here I was, at a place that was clearly broken and sinful inside of me, that needed Jesus’s teaching. It took a while to come to a place where I had to deal with my own issues of pride and insecurity and not first seeking to understand my son. I put it before Jesus (reform), let him show me my own shortcomings (inform), and, now, I don’t get frustrated over middle school homework (transform).
Now, I get to celebrate with my son as he grows and succeeds.
Most of the time you’re going to hear me remind our church that “it’s not about you.” Most of the Gospel asks us to lay our lives down selflessly, generously, sacrificially for others.
But discipleship … well, discipleship is about you. Chesterfield Baptist wants to help you become more like Jesus. Your discipleship matters. We’re in this together. We’re here to walk with you, listen to you, and provide opportunities for you to be with Jesus, see Jesus, and do what Jesus has taught you.
Maybe you need some reformation … that is, some opportunities to be with Jesus. We’re working on putting some classes and experiences together for you, but you don’t have to wait on formal, organized opportunities to be with Jesus. We’ll walk with you right now in prayer and scripture reading or other disciplines that bring you into God’s presence.
Maybe you need some information … that is, some opportunities to see Jesus’s life and learn about the Gospel. We have opportunities right now from Sunday School classes to Bible Studies. We’ll be happy to help you make the most of those.
Maybe you need some transformation … that is, some opportunities to put into practice what Jesus has already taught you. We have mission and service opportunities waiting on you.
We’re here to walk with you.
Because it’s time to be like Jesus.