Simple but effective

Mike Betts on Lowestoft Beach

I have been reading for a few months now of the life and times of Andrew Bonar and Robert Murray McCheyne. Both giants of the faith who left a mark well after their life on earth had finished. Their lives summarised by this thought; ‘It is not great talents God blesses so much as great likeness to Jesus’.

Robert Murray McCheyne
I have been reflecting on their lives summed up by this philosophy. What does it mean to be ‘like Jesus?’ Is it even possible for our ‘fleshly’ bodies to grow to such heights as to remind people of Jesus and to actually stimulate the blessing of God on who we are and what we do simply because he sees so much of his son in us?

Is it even an aspiration to most Christians in the days we live in? Many seek simply to get through life well, see it all turn out ok and find the kind of satisfaction and peace that is promised throughout scripture. Sure God does want to bless us and he promises us all that we need. Is that it then?
Like Jesus
Much emphasis is also now on being like Jesus in demonstrating the kingdom of God; signs and wonders, healing and the like. Again all good! Jesus said we would do these things.

I am though more and more provoked by such verses as Titus 3:1 ‘speak evil of no-one…avoid quarrelling… be gentle… show perfect courtesy toward all people’. Or Titus 2:7-8 ‘show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity and sound speech that cannot be condemned so that an opponent may be put to shame’. This must have been how Jesus was.

What a wonderful person he must have been to be around. The ease he would have brought to those in his company. What calm and yet godly presence the Son of Man must have exuded. I have met people like this, like Jesus. I should like to be like this. I must be done with rising to defend myself when wronged. When cut up by a selfish motorist, when the man in front in the supermarket has 15 items in his basket and we are in the 9 item queue. I must be more like Jesus.

We have such emphasis on the Holy Spirit and his gifts and rightly so. We have barely begun to move in the things Jesus moved in. But these greater works do not operate in a vacuum, they grow in an environment. An environment surrounding our lives as they are servant-like, caring, kind and peaceable.

Like Bonar and Mc Cheyne who with godly simplicity loved the saviour and loved people. They modelled in their lives such love and imitation of the saviour that people saw Jesus in and through them. They saw revival waves in their lifetime; I am convinced it came partly because they so simply yet effectively saw to be like Jesus was the key aim. God blessed not their great oratory though it was impressive. But he blessed their hunger to be like the saviour.
May he do that for me and us.

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