Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I Want To Be Like Jesus - REALLY NOW?

To be like you in the quiet of my heart.
To be like you in the deepest private part.
To struggle with my humanity yet to cling to purity
Is to be, to be like you.

Recently I have been privileged to view DVD's entitled 'Lessons I Learned In The Dark by Jennifer Rothschild and also to hear her sing at the end of each presentation a composition that I believe she wrote. Above is the chorus from last week's DVD. Jennifer is a lovely lady who lost her sight totally when she was 16 years old. She is a true testimony to God using us where we are. '

I was deeply enthralled with her song last week, focusing on every word and admiring her sweet singing voice when I was smitten with the words in the title of this piece. Was it God speaking to me to remind me that being like Jesus isn't some nice walk in the park set to music.

I was born in my Grandmother's house on Manitoulin Island. I don't remember anything about it nor did I have a lot of choices about it. But if I had would I have said 'No Thank You' to the nice warm house, snd chosen rather to be born in Grandpa's cold barn. Would I or would you choose to live the way Jesus lived? What did He do for clothes? Did he take a garment from His carpenter shop home and make it last for the next three years? I am sure He never had the luxury of checking His wardrobe and deciding which one of the many garments there He would don for that day? What about food? Where did it come from? Who cooked it for Him? Could He choose to eat on any given day the things He liked the best? Somehow, I don't think so. And then there is the going without food entirely for 40 days and nights. Is that something you are dying to try? I know someone who did just that lately and one of the most difficult parts of the process was not sharing in family meals.

Which leads us to the loneliness that Jesus must have felt many times. He was rejected by those closest to Him, misunderstood by family. Loneliness is an insidious thing affecting every part of who you are - both physically and emotionally. And the abuse - the beatings, the spit in His face, the ridicule, the cruel death. Did I hear you say you want to be just like Him? And even though He went through all that perfectly and conquered death to boot, no one was there to celebrate as He left the tomb. Even that He did alone.

And then we come to His principles. That would be a much easier path to trod, right, practicing His principles? Perhaps we need to give that some serious thought. How about 'turning the other cheek', or 'blessed are the persecuted'. What about 'do unto others' and 'it is more blessed to give than to receive'. When is the last time you got really mad at someone and it rattled around in your head for days. Is your heart a home for bitterness and resentment or is it full of forgiveness and kindness?

Being like Jesus is hard, hard stuff! It is not, at some point, doing what someone tells us we need to do to connect ourselves to Him, doing it and then going on our way living pretty much as we would live if we had never met Him. But He promised us two great things if we try to be like Him as best we can - rest and peace. The greatest incentive for me to try to be like Him is that I see all around me when we are that life works, when we are not life falls apart. That is true for us individually, it is true for our churches, homes, schools, countries and so on. Based on what we see around us in all the aforementioned theatres of life, we had all better make a concentrated effort to be more like Jesus. And that starts with me!