A Christian Way of Being Human

On the first Sunday of every month I climb the stairs to Room 243 to teach our newcomers class.  My assignment is to talk about “a Christian way of being human,” and I like to begin with an emphasis on the word way.

Some people will tell you that to be Christian you have to believe certain things.  You have to believe that Jesus was born of a virgin.  You have to believe that he rose from the dead.  You have to believe that he’s coming again.  But have you noticed that, when Jesus called those first disciples, he didn’t mention any of those things?  He just said, “Follow me,” and those fishermen dropped their nets and followed. 

Christianity begins with a commitment—not to a set of beliefs, but to a person—to Jesus.  It starts for us when we drop whatever we’re doing to follow him.  Those first disciples were able to do that literally.  It’s harder for us, but it’s not impossible.  One of the best ways I’ve found to follow is to read the four Gospels closely—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—to look at the things Jesus does there and to listen to the things he says.  In this way I learn who Jesus is and what he’s up to, and the word disciple, at its root, means “learner.”  A disciple is a kind of apprentice who watches the master, who learns his craft and studies his moves.  As we follow Jesus through the Gospels we can do the same. 

One of the things we will notice if we do that is that Jesus spends a lot of time talking about the Kingdom of God.  In the four Gospels combined he makes reference to the Kingdom some 120 times.  And when his disciples ask him to teach them to pray he says, “Pray for this: pray that God’s Kingdom would come, and God’s will would be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10).  Being a disciple in our time means being an answer to that prayer; it means working alongside Jesus to bring heaven to earth.

How do we do that?  It’s simple: we look around for anything that doesn’t look like heaven and we go to work there.  And the good news is that we get to look through our own eyes.  The thing that breaks our heart may be the very thing God is calling us to do.  That was certainly true for Jesus. 

I think this is the “Christian way of being human.”  It’s not just believing things about Jesus (although I find that the more time I spend with him the more I believe about him).  It’s believing in Jesus.  It’s following him so closely and so passionately that you begin to do the things he would do, and say the things he would say, and love the things he would love.  It’s becoming more and more like him until people—even some of the people who know you best—begin to say,

“You know, you remind me of someone…” 

 

4 thoughts on “A Christian Way of Being Human

  1. This week’s blog sounds very much like the old “Quest for the Historical Jesus” movement of the 1920’s and 30’s which moved away from an emphasis on a committed belief in the divinity of Christ in favor of following Jesus, who was the perfect example of a man in history whose life was recorded in the gospels and whose way we ought to try to follow as best we can.

  2. I’m not arguing against the divinity of Christ at all, Sam. I’d like to argue that we follow the divine Christ as closely as possible. Believing that Jesus is divine without following him…well, what good is that?

  3. Your words about “you know, you remind me of someone” reminded me of an incident at First Baptist, back in the 1980s. It shakes me still, when I occasionally remember it, and reminds me of how we should appear to others especially children. My wife Sandra and I were regularly assisting Mary Palmer with the First Grade Sunday School class back then. By the way, whenever I read about Aquila and Priscilla in the Bible, I am reminded of Mary and Bob Palmer. Anyway, Mary had given the First Grade Sunday School children some sort of assignment to draw Biblical scenes of some sort. One little girl, named Ashby, was drawing, as I sat nearby, watching my group of children draw. Ashby asked a little girl next to her, “Could you move over? I need to look at Mr. Buckles so I can see how to draw Jesus!” Of course, she was talking about my beard, yet I felt in her child’s words a strong reminder of the sort of witness I, we all, are to be for Christ to others. especially to children. Not that I had anything to do with it, however, Ashby joined the church shortly atter that. Her father had joined the church, shortly before he passed on some months prior to that and I know that she wanted to follow his example. I don’t know where Ashby is, now, however, I pray for God’s blessings upon her and upon all our First Graders from back then. I pray for God’s blessings upon the First Graders who are at First Baptist this year. May God bless them and their teachers! AMEN!

  4. I am discovering this blog for the first time. In fact this is the first time I have ever looked at a blog. 🙂 What I do know about the above is that the power of Christ knows no limits. He has redeemed my life from the pit and those that even knew me on only a professional level both before and after my spititual awakening have told me of the changes they have seen with a clear defining point. I pray for His Spirit ever day to shine forth from me because I know that I am “nothing” but ” with Him all things are possible.” A transformed life in itself is an undeniable witness. I think what you wrote in the “How do we do that?” paragraph will be something to meditate on for sure. I just try to stand back and marvel at what He does…”Christ in me is the hope of glory.”

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