Stop trying to be like Jesus. Stop trying to figure out what Jesus would do. Stop trying. Start trusting.
I hope you’ll give me 5 minutes to unpack these statements. They may not make sense. They’re counterintuitive. They’re counter-religious. They only make sense when you pay attention to Jesus, when you abide in Him and allow His words to abide in you. This is NOT natural to the natural man.
Consider Jesus. He’s called the Second Adam. He is man the way man was meant to be. He trusts the Father expressly and implicitly. He’s totally dependent on Him. Unlike the first Adam, Jesus lives by the life of the Father. He always pleases the Father because He lives by the life the Father imparts in the Holy Spirit. He says He can do nothing of Himself. What He hears the Father saying, that is what He says. What He sees the Father doing, that is what he does. His life is not based on the religious standards of his day which have been decided on and promoted by men, but by living moment by moment the life of the Father abiding in Him.
Jesus was not religious. He does not find out what He thinks the Father wants or expects of Him and then try, try, try to do it. He rests in the Father. He abides in Him. The life expressed by Him is not His life but the Father’s life.
Is it fair to say God’s purposes are not accomplished by the efforts of man? Am I so audacious to think I can keep the Law of God in such a way as to please Him and earn His favor? Was that what the Law was supposed to do for me? Or, was the Law supposed to make it obvious that apart from the life of God in me, I have no righteousness? Was the life of Jesus as seen in the gospels, the things He said and did, meant to give me ideas for ways I might please God if I would only imitate them? How is a list of things Jesus did different from a list of laws given by God? I can’t keep one list any better than I can keep the other.
The good news – I wasn’t made to keep lists. I was made to enjoy relationship. I was made to live by the life of God. And WHEN I do, the life I live is not my life but the life of the ONE who loved me and gave His life for me.
Eve chose to doubt the goodness of God and took of the fruit to be equal with God. Adam chose to depend on his own efforts in direct disobedience to God. Jesus, the Second Adam, laid down his crown and regal robes, denounced all of His rights and privileges as God and humbled Himself as a man, as man was meant to live. For about 33 ½ years he depended on the Father all the way through the garden and the cross, He was obedient unto death.
Jesus always died to Himself in order to be alive to the Father. This is the life He lived. This is the life He lives. This is His life. He ALWAYS pleases the Father. He will do this today in us the same as He did 2000 years ago in Galilee. The death of Jesus was to get the life of Jesus in us. English author Major Ian Thomas was the first person I heard make that statement. It’s as true now as it was in the life of Paul. The point isn’t that Christianity gives us a new “list”, it’s that Christ gives us new life – His life!
Authentic Christianity isn’t a program or a plan, it’s a Person. Everything is of Him, by Him, through Him and to Him. Most that passes for Christianity today is merely religion, man’s empty efforts to force God to accept or bless our efforts. We want God to bless our mess and boy can we make a mess.
Men and women with influence over religious groups and organizations need to accept the possibility that we’ve missed the mark. With all of our “good intentions”, and I believe many of us are well intended, we may be driven by – and understanding by – the natural man. It’s what Watchman Nee referred to as living “soulishly”. It sounds good. It makes sense to the natural man. It earns us acceptance in the group. But, it’s NOT Jesus. So much of what is being done in churches today is not Jesus. On our best days, it’s our efforts to be like Him – but it’s not Him. It is us.
Three things and I finish this post.
- You cannot understand what I’ve written in your natural man. I didn’t and I don’t. Neither can you.
- If you have the Spirit of God in you, you’re probably leaping in your inner man or at least recognize there is something here that tastes like living water.
- Share this post with other believers. Discuss it. Authentic Christianity is experienced in a community. It’s not individualism any more than it’s man’s efforts to earn God’s favor. The life of Christ is life shared in community.
How is God creating His community? Next time.