The longer that I’ve been a Christian, the more and more I’ve noticed that I just need perspective. So often I lose my heavenly perspective and my eyes drop from Jesus to my circumstances. I look at the outcomes of my day and judge them based upon my own sinful expectations. What if those expectations don’t matter? What if I’m using the wrong ruler to measure my life? What if the way God sees me is different then the way I see myself? I have found that more often then not, it is my own view of myself that is bent.
Consider 1st John 2: 5b-6
By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
John is very plain and to the point. You want to know if you are a true Christian? Then you should be walking the same way he walked. You should love like he loved. You should forgive like he forgave. You should give grace like he gave grace. Your heart should break for the things his heart broke for.
He went about healing, loving, restoring, and even bringing the dead back to life. He changed people’s lives and their eternities. He gave time to marginalized and the rejected. He turned the world upside down. I want that. I want to change my community with the powerful love of Jesus. I want to see the lives of young people changed. I want to see healing and restoration. I want to be a person who lives a ministry like Jesus did.
Yet there is another side of walking like Jesus that I usually neglect. It will be hard. It will cost me. I’ll be hated for it. It won’t be hip or cool. It will require patience and endurance, and it might even include betrayal and heartbreak.
Sometimes I get blindsided when my ministry isn’t going smooth and easy. I think something is wrong. I think that I’m missing something (and perhaps I am), but then I think about Jesus’ ministry.
- He had twelve committed followers who more often than not didn’t get it. They failed over and over again to understand who he was and why he had come.
- One of those twelve stole money from his ministry and eventually sold him out to be murdered.
- Another, who pledged complete loyalty unto death, would deny him three times in his greatest time of need.
- He had crowds of people who followed him and his heart broke for them. He taught them patiently and often gave up his meals and rest to make time for them. He preformed the miraculous before them and healed their infirmities. Yet, when he called them to follow him, they grumbled amongst each other and said, “His teaching is hard, who can listen to it?” and they left him.
- The religious leaders didn’t validate his ministry or celebrate it’s fruit, but rather they criticized him at every turn. The schemed and plotted to ruin him.
- In the end, he was falsely accused, falsely convicted, and falsely killed for a crime that he never committed.
Yet, it was all part of the plan. And Jesus wasn’t surprised by it for he knew why he had come.
To be clear I’ve faced a fraction of what Jesus faced, but to walk like him is to embrace this side of his life as well. I shouldn’t be surprised when things are difficult. I shouldn’t be surprised when ministry is just really hard. In fact, I should rejoice because it means that I’m doing it. I’m walking like Jesus and it’s all part of the plan. The plan to get my on knees and pray. The plan to force me trust him and rely upon him for everything. The plan that shows me that I too am a fickle disciple who needs the Messiah desperately. And that is right where Jesus wants me. Abiding in him.
Lord, to every disciple that reads this I pray that you would grant them perspective. I pray that you would bring the encouragement of your example that things aren’t always easy, but you’ve been there. You’ve walked where we have walked. You’ve dealt with what we’ve dealt with and you are there to strengthen and lift us by your Spirit. Strengthen us to endure. Give us a joy that isn’t based upon our circumstances but rather is based upon the riches of the gospel. May we give everything, even our very lives, to love like you have loved. Keep us until that glorious day when we see you face to face.