“Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” ~1 John 2:6
I’m concerned about us doing things the way Jesus did them. I’m worried about the way Jesus went about his business and fulfilled the Father’s mission and I wonder about the ways we go about our business and fulfill our Father’s mission. I find myself thinking about this a lot.
I’m afraid that we call ourselves followers of Jesus, but, without hesitation and, a lot of the time, seemingly without thinking, we embrace the ways and means of the world. We live our lives in the name of Jesus. But the way we do things and plan things and think about things is, instead, very worldly. The Jesus Way is the alternative to the world’s way — not a supplement. The Jesus Way is not just a little bit opposite of the world’s way or sometimes opposed to the culture’s way. It’s all the way opposite and it’s completely opposed to the way of the world.
“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the Gospel will save it” (Mark 8:34-35).
That’s The Jesus Way. Any other way is less than and actually opposed to The Jesus Way. And that seems easy enough to understand. And we say we get it. But I see us sometimes uncritically embracing the ways and means practiced by large corporations and important causes and high-profile congregations and rich people who know how to win wars and make money and manage people and sell products. And, more often than not, those ways violate the Way of Jesus. We are so quick, I’m afraid, to go along with whatever the culture decides is successful or influential or important, whatever gets things done, whatever gathers a crowd, whatever keeps a crowd, whatever’s new and improved. And we don’t stop and think long enough to notice that those ways are at odds with the clear way Jesus walked and calls us to follow.
We’re interested in the Way Jesus leads because this is absolutely and necessarily the Way we have to follow. We can’t follow Jesus any way we’d like. Our following must be consistent with his leading. The Jesus Way is not a vague generality pointing in some upward direction. Jesus lived his life prayerfully and scripturally attentive. Jesus deliberately chose the Way he would live. And, if we choose to follow him, we have to be just as prayerful, just as attentive to Scripture, just as deliberate.
The Jesus Way is always personal. It’s always lived in deep, personal, loving, and giving relationship. It’s never imposed. Never forced. Never manipulative. It’s never from a distance. It’s always up-close. It’s always sacrificial. Look at The Way Jesus acted and thought and felt and talked and gestured and prayed and healed and taught and forgave and died. That’s The Jesus Way. Everything Jesus did was based on relationship: close, intimate, sacrificial, serving, self-denying relationship.
May our Father bless us as we diligently practice with each other and for each other the Way of Jesus.