All Posts in Category: (03) The Model of Life
I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. John 14:6
“God formed man in His own likeness.” (Genesis 1:27)
Obviously, we must know something about God if we are to know anything about ourselves!
Held every January in Detroit, Michigan, the North American International Auto Show is one of the world’s premier public events, attracting nearly one million visitors. Though generating $2 million at its glitzy charity ball, the primary purpose of the affair is to unveil new models.
Over 2000 years ago a model debut occurred that impacted the whole world. It was so momentous that it altered calendar dating from BC to AD. The event, of course, was the birth of Jesus. In a Bethlehem stable, a most unlikely venue for such an auspicious unveiling, the Maker of Life revealed His authentic design for human living … the Model of Life. He’s the Creator’s Prototype of Humanness! He’s the Original Human Being! He’s the Pattern of Humanity! So, you need not be “in the dark” about the Maker’s purpose for your life! “To be mature is to be basic. Christ! No more, no less.” (Colossians 1:28) “It’s through Jesus that we find out who we are.” (Ephesians 1:11)
In Washington, DC, the Washington Monument sets due east of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool. On a cloudless day the quiet waters of the pool reflect a perfect image of the monument. Jesus is like the Washington Monument. You, on the other hand, are intended to reflect him in the waters of your God-designed personality. “As God’s beloved children, copy God!” (Ephesians 5:1)
No wonder Jesus said: “I am the Way to the Truth about Life!” (John 14:6)
God is building a dwelling place. He used the apostles … for the foundation. Now He’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. (Ephesians 2:20-22)
With the arrival of Jesus, Father started to build a new home called church. Jesus is the Cornerstone—“The cornerstone of an ancient building served as an alignment stone for all subsequent construction” (Dr. Dan Hayden, A Plumb Line For Truth). The alignment of the twelve apostles to Jesus formed the foundation. All persons, subsequently connected to Jesus, are “living stones that God is building into his spiritual house” (1 Peter 2:4-5).
Jesus demonstrated the contour of the foundation a few hours before His death: “He got up from the supper table, set aside His robe, and put on an apron. Then He poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with His apron. Then He said, ‘You address Me as ‘Teacher’ and ‘Master,’ and rightly so. So if I, the Master and Teacher, washed your feet, you must now wash each other’s feet. I’ve laid down a PATTERN for you. What I’ve done, you do.” “The MODEL for the disciples in their following of Jesus is that of the man who serves at table: ‘But I am among you as one who serves’ (Luke 22:27)” (Hans Kung, The Church).
Jesus, therefore, intended the church to be a service center of sorts. Here are some of its services:
I was thirsty and you gave Me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave Me a room,
I was shivering and you gave Me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to Me.’
Today I filled out a customer survey (hopefully I’ll win the $2500 sweepstakes!). The purpose of the survey was obvious: to determine the level of customer satisfaction with services rendered. From history we know the church scored high in services rendered. As defined above it conquered the Roman Empire in two centuries without investing in any bricks and mortar. Tertullian, a third century author, observed: “The Christians’ deeds of love were so noble that the pagan world confessed in astonishment, ‘See how they love one another.’”
Faith in Jesus makes up the Mechanics of Life.
Elijah (1 Kings 19:3-5)—Terrified, Elijah quickly ran for his life. He came to a lone broom bush and collapsed in its shade, wanting in the worst way to be done with it all—to just die: “Enough of this, God! Take my life!”
David (Psalm 22:1-2)—My God, my God, why have You abandoned me? Why are You so far away when I groan for help? Every day I call to You, my God, but You do not answer. Every night I lift my voice, but I find no relief.
Solomon (Ecclesiastes 2:17-20)—This made me hate life. It was depressing to think that everything in this life is useless, like trying to catch the wind. That’s when I called it quits, gave up on anything that could be hoped for on this earth.”
Jeremiah (Lamentations 3:20)—I gave up on life altogether. I said to myself, “This is it. I’m finished.”
Paul (2 Corinthians 1:8)—We do not want you to be uninformed about the troubles we experienced in Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself.
Elijah, David, Solomon, Jeremiah and Paul—these were heavy hitters in the realm of faith! YET, they experienced and expressed deep emotion! Conclusion: faith and feelings are not mutually exclusive. Emotion is part of the original human package. Look at the Model: “Jesus saw Mary weeping, and He saw how the people with her were weeping also; His heart was touched, and He was deeply moved. ‘Where have you buried Lazarus?’ He asked them. ‘Come and see, Lord,’ they answered. Jesus wept” (John 11:30-33).
“To ignore, repress, or dismiss our feelings is to fail to listen to the stirrings of the Spirit within our emotional life. The gospel portrait of the beloved Child of Abba is that of a man exquisitely attuned to His emotions and uninhibited in expressing them. The Son of Man did not scorn or reject feelings as fickle and unreliable. They were sensitive antennae to which He listened carefully and through which He perceived the will of His Father for congruent speech and action.” —Brennan Manning
Here’s practical advice for balancing faith and feelings: “Buffeted by the fickle winds of failure, battered by their own unruly emotions, and bruised by rejection and ridicule, authentic disciples may stumble and frequently fall, endure lapses and relapses, get handcuffed to the fleshpots and wander into a far county. Yet, they keep coming back to Jesus” (Manning). Why? “Though our feelings come and go, God’s love for us does not.” —C.S. Lewis
Check back next Friday as we continue our Faith on Fridays series.