The membrane-cloaked calf lay still from exhaustion on the dew-soaked Bermuda grass. The little bull had, the past few seconds with the gallant aid of his mama, thrust his way outward from her womb and into Autumn’s sharp early-morning air.
Wanting to grow to be like Jesus comes naturally for any born-anew believer. It is as natural a thing as conception – gestation – birthing and maturing are natural to reproductive life.
The progression, in fact, sounds normal. That is because it is normal. The thing that does not come naturally (automatically) for the believer, though, is the actual doing it. . . becoming like Jesus. At least not for a good while. Not for most.
Transformation to Christlikeness, however, is not unrealistic. Nor is it such a hard thing to make headway in. The issue that makes growing into the likeness of Jesus most difficult is likely our simple lack of know-how. This had been true for me, no question. I wanted change like crazy. Make me like you, Jesus. I just didn’t know how to start getting there.
So, moving from being a ‘not-much-like-Jesus’ person to becoming very much like him. Are there ways to go about this, ways to understand how? Can there be things, we press the matter further, “hands-on, practical things – I could learn to do? Could do together with Him, leading me to pleasurable rhythms of Christ’s joy, his love, service, character and life. . . For real? That I could grow to live in that curious easy yoke he seemed to matter-of-factly invite us to?”
Easy yoke? The easy had eluded me. And for quite a long time. How could I start, where to begin?
The birthing language helps me get a handle on something.
“Oh, my dear children!” Paul writes. “I feel as if I’m going through labor pains for you again, and they will continue until Christ is fully developed in your lives” (Galatians 4.19 NLT)
The fellow credited for writing much of the New Testament uses here the birthing metaphor to help us catch the idea of God’s means of bringing the change we yearn after. We catch a feeling too for how passionately the Holy Spirit wishes this for us. Labor pains. We can’t help getting the feeling he really means it. Christ – radically developing us, reproducing his nature and character within our lives. Freely. Easily. . . Remarkable.
For a good while – decades actually – I struggled over this thing. A discussion, mostly silent, went on in my head and my heart.
- Once a person is saved, brought to faith in Christ, a new beginning has launched, right.
The believer isn’t born into the family of faith to stay an infant. We are born to develop, to grow in the faith, to mature, be transformed. We are to get better at being a Christian. This is what he is saying, what he is after.
Every child of God, every one of us, is handed the oxygen-charged assignment. To change. And, what is more, sliding our neck into an easy yoke with Jesus us sounds more like an invitation to dance than to trudge forward under a burdensome, ever-crushing load. What if Jesus is approaching. Offering his hand, extending a question.
May I have this dance?
©2018 Jerry Lout