Friday, September 24, 2021
Scripture Resource Passage: 1 John 4
Our brother John sees multiple disciples climbing mountainous spiritual heights: “In this world we are like Jesus” (I John 4:17b). Like Jesus? Me? Us?
Left to my own wisdom John’s vision completely surpasses my ability. However, accepting God’s call provides a spiritual-cataract-lens replacement, preparing me to spy-out hidden fissures and sometimes, to walk like Jesus. I confess, that typically relying on my own eyesight I stumble over pebbles.
Again, for absolute clarity: the high-holy challenge of being like Jesus surpasses my ability. On some days this challenge is beyond even, my imagination. Perhaps you reply, “Well occasionally I am (meaning you) like Jesus.”
I reply, “Sometimes I am not like Jesus at all.” Sadly, there are more heart and vision problems in my life than any other kinds of failure.
If only being like Jesus was a simple collection of behaviors. Scripture explains that being like Jesus begins within. Proverbs teaches: “As a man thinks in his heart so is he” (23:7). Jesus reminds me of my tendency to self-deception. “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me” (Matthew 15:8).
Being like Jesus is fundamentally more about life’s heart-like interior, rather than being confined to outward behaviors. Outward behaviors toward God and other people are visually revealed on the high pathway, as I walk my faith.
Envisioning this challenging road John writes, “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister” (1 John 4:20-21).
Can you identify specific times when you struggle to be like Jesus?
Which practices of spiritual discipline help you maintain your heart and vision?
Thank you for reading. Comments and suggestions are welcome. Grace and peace to each of you.
Coming next week, a book recommendation for your fall/winter reading list.