Student of Jesus

Ed Dobson, in his book The Year of Living like Jesus, and Dallas Willard, in his 1997 work The Divine Conspiracy, both emphasize an important aspect of Christian spirituality/ritual/life that is consistently neglected: Being a student of Jesus. Rob Bell also comments in a 2010 issue of Neue Magazine that he first has to become a disciple of Jesus before he leads.

What does it mean to be a Student of Jesus? Study His life and teachings and learn from him?

I’ll be the first to admit that I am not always as passionate as I should be about Jesus. Knowing that he is the Savior of the world and one who loves me enough to die for me should invoke a bit more excitement inside of my being. And if I believe that in Christ are the answers to some of the deepest questions of human existence, why am I not pursuing his knowledge like a treasure?

Dallas Willard poses three questions about the message he preaches, which I think should be at the heart of all ministry:

1. . Does the gospel I preach and teach have a natural tendency to cause people who hear it to become full-time students of Jesus?

2. Would those who believe it become his apprentices as a natural ‘next step’?

3. What can we reasonably expect would result from people actually believing the substance of my message?

I plan on posting more about this topic, being a disciple of Jesus, as I learn more.

Christ, you are the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Help us to desire you more fully and to love you more desperately as we become your students.

Question to Remember: “What does it mean to be a Student of Jesus?”

as Holy as…

I have a confession to make, when it comes to books I am a shopaholic. Hardly ever do I enter a book store, whether it be Borders, Barnes & Noble, or Half Price Books, without making a purchase (More than likely, I would come out with at least one bagful of new and wonderful literature). It has become such a problem for me that Heather, my beautiful fiancee, had an intervention with me. Upon confrontation, I made an agreement with her that I could only buy a new book once I had finished reading 3 others. A daunting task, but one that will keep me busy and bookless for a long while!

However, this weekend marked my first finished book. I completed Ed Dobson’s “The Year of Living Like Jesus”. In it, Dr. Dobson embarks on a year-long task of reading the gospels weekly, eating kosher, and being as Christ-like as possible. There are some great stories of barroom encounters and dinnertime qualms as well as teaching on Jewish festivals/concepts and the lessons of Christ.
Book Review aside, there is one side concept which I remember having great effect on me. It was not the main concept of the book, but it stuck out to me and resonated so true that I had to write about it. Dobson mentions the Jewish concept that “you are only as holy as you allow yourself to be.”
How true is this statement?
When we are told to “be holy as God is holy”, how do we react? I have had Christian friends and mentors shrug off their sin saying that it was a human thing to do. “I’m only human, I’m not perfect.” Why do we give ourselves excuses?
Perfection is what we aim for! As ones filled with the Holy Spirit, we should be shocked that we are still sinning! We are new creations, the old has gone the new has come. If we who have died with Christ are still sinning, what does that say about our new lives and the sway of the Spirit on our lives?
With such grave questions, our consciences can be weighted down. This, I believe, is why we shrug off sin: If we claim to have joy and peace and fulfillment in Christ, but continue to sin, we begin to doubt the power of Christ. And we fall into sin often, so it becomes easier to look past. Besides, if we took every sin seriously, we’d be constantly ripping our hair out in shame.
…personally, I’d accept baldness if it meant being more Christ-like… (I feel like Francis Chan, with extreme commitment like that)
My desire is to allow myself to be holy. To follow the ways of Christ. To pray for peace and patience, kindness and joy, love and self-control. I want to be set apart, so why not make the effort to be? I’m going to take my sins seriously, knowing full-well that Christ has taken the punishment from me, and grow from them all into a holier and holier man of God.
God, my prayer is for holiness. Give us strength to endure hardships, a passion for following you, and conviction to make us more like you. Pull us toward you more and more each day. You are our God. Amen
Quote to Remember: “You are only as holy as you allow yourself to be.”