Sketch by Patrick Murphy: http://inspiredsketch.blogspot.com/?wref=bif
Believers who have not seen Christ as the Lamb, who have not known Christ in His humiliation, will treat other believers who are conformed to that image as Jesus was treated by people when He walked the earth. No harm is intended by these believers; Jesus is so different from flesh that problems naturally result. It is simply what happens when the flesh comes into contact with Christ. As we grow in the grace and the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, each of us must make the decision to take on the very image of Jesus in the nature that we display in our daily lives. As I have been meditating on this very decision, the following words came to me. I believe that the Holy Spirit spoke them to me as a challenge. May these fall on good ground.
Jesus was thought to be something other than and less than what He really was. People thought He was a carpenter’s son, a demoniac, a prophet, a teacher, a rebel, and a criminal. All of them were wrong.
If Jesus lives in me, people who know me and with whom I come into contact will think all those things of me.
Jesus gave constantly; people just took what He gave them and left. Very few looked past the gift to see a person with feelings and a heart. Very few cared for Jesus, the Man.
If Jesus lives in me, I will expend my life to give to the ungrateful and needy masses who will give little thought to my inner needs.
Jesus sat in the synagogue and listened submissively to speakers who regularly misinterpreted His Father’s Word.
If Jesus lives in me, I will be silently subject to the religious leaders of this age.
Jesus’s words and actions were constantly misunderstood by friends (such as Martha and the disciples) and foes (such as the Pharisees) alike.
If Jesus lives in me, very few people will properly interpret my actions – even those who are closest to me and have my best interests at heart.
Jesus was constantly passed over for the promotions and recognition that the soul deeply craves.
If Jesus lives in me, accolades, honor, and opportunities that are handed out by men will always go to the less deserving. I will be solely dependent on the Father for such things.
Jesus was denied vindication in religious circles, even after His resurrection. Instead, this most glorious day in the history of mankind was defiled by the intentional spread of the rumor that His body had been stolen by His disciples.
If Jesus lives in me, religious believers will seek to dismiss any evidence of His manifest life in me, whether it be an expression of His death or His resurrection.
The greatest qualities of character that Jesus demonstrated while on earth – the ability to get along with imperfect people, the ability to forgive His enemies, the willingness to serve His oppressors, the self-discipline in not revealing His personal sacrifice, and the utter rejection of this world’s wealth as any kind of resource were entirely overlooked. No one seemed to notice that the Sermon on the Mount was Jesus’s autobiography, a personal description of His lifestyle during the first 30 years of His anonymous life. Instead, it has been interpreted through the ages as a set of wise sayings and a mandate for good behavior.
If Jesus lives in me, people will rarely if ever notice the utter impossibility of the way that I live every day, even while they treasure the words of ministry and life that I speak. The actions that have come by hard decisions for Christ and against myself will be hidden from the world. All they will see is impressive words.
Jesus, I know You are speaking. This is who You are. This is eternal life, the wellspring that flows from Your core. May You find someone to answer the call, to share in the fellowship of Your sufferings. May You find someone who is truly desirous of being conformed to Your image, that Your life might increase in others. May I be one who answers the call. In Your name, Amen.
Mallory Patrick is my sister-in-law, sister in Christ, and friend. She has had the privilege of teaching Christ to people throughout the world. Along with reading and writing, Mallory enjoys her family and two cats, Mama and Baby. You can find more of Mallory’s writing here. You may also be interested in Bible classes she has taught : “How to Study the Bible,” “The Centrality of the Cross,” “The Book of Romans,” and “The Pentateuch.”