February 21, 2018

Being like Jesus means . . .

God’s plan is most humbling; He wants to transform me into the image of His Son. The more I understand of who Jesus is and what Jesus is like, the farther I see myself from that goal. However, that is a divine goal and the work of God. He will do it, but only the Holy Spirit can accomplish what is totally impossible for me.

He has taught me an important basic: I cannot run away from His plan . . .

For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” But you were unwilling, and you said, “No! We will flee upon horses”; therefore you shall flee away; and, “We will ride upon swift steeds”; therefore your pursuers shall be swift. (Isaiah 30:15–16)

I’ve tried the ‘swift steeds’ of my own efforts, mostly because I’m in a hurry for things to happen, but God is not in a rush. He teaches me that His timing is perfect and usually a surprise. Instead of fretting about the apparent slowness of God, I’m to let quietness and trust be my strength.

Tozer says that too much religious activity without inactivity and getting alone with God will result in failure. God wants me to wait on Him until I am fully charged with His Spirit. When that happens, my activity will amount to something because He has prepared me for it.

Thinking about God’s side of this plan, He is incredibly patient with me. He does not push or nag. Instead, He watches and protects me as I ride off on my horse, letting me find out the folly of my own efforts. His methods are much different from mine. I set a goal and a deadline and rush to get there ‘on time’ but stress myself out in the process.

If I am going to be like God, I need that same patience and ability to wait for others, to realize that the timing I want is usually much sooner than the timing of God. Learning to wait is a spiritual discipline that only comes through spending time alone with God in ceased activity. Part of this is keeping a regular quiet time and practicing the rest of a sabbath day each week. Another major factor is faith, faith that God is in control and I can trust Him, both to make things happen and to do it at the right time.

Tozer says, “You do not need to seek Him here or there, He is no further off than the door of your heart. There He stands lingering, waiting for whoever is ready to open and let Him in. You do not need to call to Him in the distance. He is waiting much more impatiently than you, for you to open to Him. He is longing for you a thousand times more urgently than you are for Him. It is instantaneous: the opening and the entering.”

This is another side of God. He is totally ready for my proper response to Him. When I finally quit running around, He is there. When I finally quit trying to make things happen, He is there. This means that if I am going to be like Him, my attitude of wanting something to happen can increase, but along with it, so does my readiness.

For example, I want a certain person to give her messed-up life to Christ. He alone can rescue her from her pain and anxiety. She acknowledges God but has some ‘swift horses’ that keep carrying her away from Him. The attitude of God is patience. Mine tends to be ‘give up — this is never going to happen’ and I have other things to pray about and do. However, to be like God, I need to be ready to do as He wants, even ready to be the answer to my own prayers — at all times and with instant obedience.

Jesus, You walk close beside me at all times, even when I am running the other direction or acting like a jerk. You have incredible patience and never lose sight of Your goal. If my goal is the same as Yours, then I ought to have that same ‘be there’ grace and not lose sight or give up. This is a high calling, for which I need Your power and goodness to enable a Christlike response.

Note: I’d like to pay tribute to Billy Graham and praise God for the mighty way He used this man to build His kingdom. I never met this man but will miss him as will many others. Thank You Lord for giving Dr. Graham to this world and for speaking through him to reach the hearts of millions who are now Your children and my brothers and sisters in Christ.

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