I’ve been thinking about this first post for a while now. A friend told me to write about what has made an impact on my life recently. About a year ago, I started reading “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan. Multiple people told me about it and encouraged me to read it. I can honestly say that it took me months to get through it from start to finish. Not because it was difficult to read, but because the realities were too difficult for me to process.
One section of this book that hit me the hardest was the realization of our calling to be Christ-like.
All my life, I’ve heard that phrase: “Be Christ-like”. But it always seemed so ridiculous. To be without sin? We already know that’s impossible, so how am I supposed to be like Christ? Is there a rule book for that? Some type of manual? Here’s the kicker: Yes. Yes, there is.
In 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, God delivers a scout’s manual for how to be like Christ:
“Love is patient andkind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; itdoes not rejoice at wrongdoing, butrejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (ESV)
So, if God is love. And Christ is love. And we are to be Christ-like, we should be love, also…right? Are you following me?
Chan issued a challenge: Take these verses and every time you see the words “love” or “it”, replace them with “Christ”.
Makes perfect sense, right? Now, try replacing those two words with your own name. Seems like a pretty false statement, right? I try to be patient and kind. But, God’s revealed to me in the last year that I have a problem with arrogance. That whole “my way or the highway” thing…rings true to my attitude sometimes. I know for a fact that no one on earth can say that when they do this exercise, it’s an honest statement. You know how I know that? Because no man is without sin. No man is Christ, but Christ. We know that we can strive our whole lives to be like the Savior, but we never will be because we have already sinned. Our lives are plagued with sin. Who could possibly want us?
God does. He created us. He wants to see us succeed. That doesn’t mean that our walks with God are easy, yellow-bricked roads with signs along the way warning us of what’s around the next corner. “Watch out! You’ll fail that exam!” is not a warning we get. The beauty is, we aren’t the only ones struggling. God brings friends and coworkers into our lives to help us through the next phase of our lives. I have friends that God has blessed me with that have been accountability partners and are constantly encouraging me. There’s one other person I can think of that knows exactly what it’s like to struggle against sin. He’s my good friend, Jesus.
Hebrews 4:15-16 says “We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.” Wow. I read this verse recently and said that out loud: wow. Yes, God provides people for us to lean on and seek advice from, but ultimately, we have to turn to Christ. He knows what it’s like to be tempted, to be tested. Who else could encourage us to be Christlike, but Christ!
Hebrews 12:1 says “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…” (which makes me think of track season…which happens to be right now.)
No matter how imperfect our lives are, God takes that shame and turns it into beauty. We are His children. How awesome is it that the god of the universe wants a personal relationship with us! I think I reread these pages in “Crazy Love” 30 times, trying to wrap my head around the picture of my life right now, and comparing it to the person I want to be in the future. So let this challenge you, also, to stop and take a look at your life.
Which of these do you struggle with? How has God helped you overcome them? Please, leave comments and let me know!
Listening to: “Hundred More Years” album by Francesca Battistelli