The Pen Project Volume 1 Issue 2 - Page 21

walking as jesus walked Making Disciples the way Jesus Did So, there was this guy John, who knew Jesus really well. So well that he referred to himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” John wrote to some people he cared deeply about, asserting that “…whoever claims to live in Jesus, must walk as Jesus walked (I John 2:6).” The first time a friend of mine pointed this out to me, everything inside of me rose up and rejected it. Is this even possible?! Jesus was God! He was perfect! He walked on water! I’m a human. I’ve clearly demonstrated I’m not even close to perfect. (Not to mention, I can only walk on water if it’s frozen.) How overwhelming to even suggest this. I honestly felt condemned by it. Preposterous. All of this didn’t sit well with me. It got under my skin. I had read this letter written by John many times before, why hadn’t I noticed that he had said this? Was it possible that I actually had noticed it, but passed over it as it didn’t fit in with my prior conclusions? Maybe. There was something true about it, however, no matter how much it bothered me or made me feel less than. Why did John say it? Maybe John was just setting up an unattainable standard for us to realize how utterly hopeless we are, and how bad we needed Jesus? Another way to motivate better behavior? ‘Behave better!’ ‘Be more like Jesus!’ In the WAJW workbook, quoting Dick Staub, Dann Spader revealed: “I came to see Jesus as the great humanizer. I realized that He did not come to start a new religion; He came to rehumanize dehumanized humans, to restore the luster of God’s image so we can again glow with God’s holistic presence spiritually, intellectually, creatively, morally, and relationally. Jesus came to earth to restore fallen humans to fully human beings regardless of their ethnicity, nationality, gender, and economic, educational, or social status (p.36).” Do you desire to ‘glow with God’s holistic presence?’ Our 513FREE team has been going through WAJW, and has flourished as Dann has been illuminating Jesus in a way that we simply didn’t realize before. Often we study theologies, or we look for specific solutions to our specific problems. But how many of us are actually looking at Jesus as God’s solution?! Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, led His disciples in a way that resulted in them being the humans God designed them to be. Walking as Jesus Walked is a tool to help us see this is for us as well. I am really enthused that this resource is accessible for you. May all of us follow Jesus and ‘walk as Jesus walked.’ Walking as Jesus Walked Introduction by Chris VanDyke, 513FREE That certainly fit in with much of my North American, Evangelical church experience. Or at least my interpretation of it. Is this just another manipulation tactic for us to self-loath and hope that God spares us through Jesus? As if I needed more of that. Do I simply ignore it with a dismissive ‘oh well, Jesus is forgiving, He knows I can’t live up to that?’ I wasn’t sure, but after my 20 years of growing up exposed to many church teachings and another 20 years of studying various theologies, I was pretty confident I wasn’t going to be walking as Jesus walked as that would be impossible.... But it kept going through my head... I just couldn’t shake it. Is any of this sentiment familiar to you? Maybe so. If not, I hope you are at least amused at my ramblings enough to have gotten this far because here comes the important part. Yes, Jesus was sentenced to death on the cross for our sins, and I don’t want to take anything away from that whatsoever, but here’s the thing many of us miss: He also rose from the dead and desires to give us His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, so that we can live like He did. He lived a fully human life the way God intended us to live! Intimate with God the Father. No, we will never BE Jesus. But God absolutely desires, and did what it took, for us to walk as Jesus walked, empowered by His Spirit! Inmates, please check with your chaplain to see if Dann Spader’s book, Walking as Jesus Walked, is available to read in your library or chapel. We’re thankful for Moody Publisher and Sonlife Ministry for their generosity in helping us to put this book in each of the prison chapel libraries throughout the state of Wisconsin. 21