An Expectant Heart
Outfitter's Guide to Growing in Christ, Part 2

As a Christians we're called to become more like Jesus. As we spend time with him, hopefully people notice, perhaps in glimpses, something of Christ's character developing in us. His gentleness, his love, servanthood and goodness take shape in us. As they do, something of a family resemblance grows.

Perhaps you can identify with me. I wince when I think about how often I’ve come across entirely different from Jesus. I'm reminded, a bit painfully, that the resemblance is not what it should be. Or what I want it to be.

But my life story gives me hope because I've notice that, as I spend time with close friends, I start to take on some of their characteristics. It gives me an expectant heart that the same thing can happen as I spend time with Jesus.

A Life Mentor

The best example of this in my life occured in my friendship with Ruth. Ruth mentored me when I was young in the faith, and she remains the most influential woman in my life. She provided a safe place to come with my questions and struggles, ponderings and rough edges.

Ruth decided simply to love me when I wasn’t entirely lovable. I'd go to her house with an expectant heart that our conversation would be valuable, growthful and pleasant. I went with confidence that our time together would meet me right where I was at.

Ruth modeled many things for me, but mostly she modeled loving Jesus and loving others as an overflow of that love. That overflow toward me was so big that I could have swum in it. I loved her for it. And I loved being with her.

Over the years of finding solace in and around Ruth's home, I started to resemble her, at least a little bit. And now, years later, I see her way of being reflected in my own life as I mentor a new generation.

A family resemblance grew between Ruth and me by spending time together. And the resemblance lasted because her love for me made such a deep impact on my life. It lasted because our relationship centred around Jesus. He was the One she pointed me to so that I could become more like him. Becoming like her was never the goal.

Growing to Resemble Jesus

Likewise, if becoming like Jesus is the goal, it’s got to start with being with him. Mentors never hound us for our time, but are available when we come to them. Mentors usually are slow to give input unless they’re asked but, once asked, share their wisdom freely. Wisdom is imparted in simple conversations, within a relationship of trust.

It is the same with Jesus, the Master Mentor. He patiently waits for us to ask him to make us more like him. To teach us his way of doing life. To give him permission to file away the rough edges of our being which keep people from seeing Jesus when they look at us.

Thinking about Jesus this way has formed some questions in my mind:

  • Do I come to Jesus often enough for this refining work to actually take place?
  • Do I come to him with an expectant heart, confident that he desires to speak into my life today?
  • Do I come planning to spend enough time to have a real conversation, or am I always in too much of a hurry to stay for dinner?
  • Do I wait, stilling the inner busyness so that his voice can become audible to my restless heart?
  • Do I invite his input, being willing to receive his perspective even when it makes me wince?

As we head into this series about gear and provisions for the adventure of growing in Christlikeness, there’s a presupposition I'd like to establish. Jesus, the Master Mentor, is more than willing to build into you. He cherishes you, delights to be with you, and waits with an expectant heart for you to knock at his door. (Isaiah 55:1-3 and Zephaniah 3:17 are just two of the many other passages that speak to this truth.)

Understanding that—really believing that--will help you to come to him, not out of duty or routine or the need to check an obligation off a list, but out of desire.

And there’s one more thing. Friends talk with each other. You can come to Jesus with an expectant heart that he will speak relevantly into your life today. Coming with an expectant heart changes the tone of the conversation and opens wide the potential for a family resemblance with Jesus to be crafted in you.

Outfitter's Guide
to Growing in Christ

Each article identifies useful gear to take along on the lifelong adventure of being formed into the likeness of Christ.

Part 1
Spirit of Enthusiasm
Part 3
Formational Reading
Faith formation page

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