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Perhaps you can identify with me. I wince when I think about how often Ive 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.
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 wasnt 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.
Likewise, if becoming like Jesus is the goal, its 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 theyre 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:
As we head into this series about gear and provisions for the adventure of growing in Christlikeness, theres 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 thatreally 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 theres 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.
Spirit of Enthusiasm
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