FOLLOWING JESUS IS NOT EASY when you’re a practical planner like me. It’s difficult for me to utter the words, “I want to be more like Jesus.”
When I travel(ed), I pack everything from small Stevia packets and one-serve coffee packs to a clothes steamer and seven pairs of earrings. Jesus would just slip on his sandals and go. And he would invite other people to go with him. Ewww.
Nope, Jesus and I look at life differently, so I have to figure out how to be more like Jesus while staying true to the real me. So, what do you do when you’re the polar opposite of Jesus? When you live in different personality hemispheres?
Well, Jesus, through God, says he likes me the way I am (Luke 12) though God wouldn’t mind if I found ways to improve myself. If God can love me just as I am, I can love Jesus just as he is (a bare-essentials guy).
Thing is, I agree with Jesus on the things he cared about: universal health care (John 5; John 4:46-54; Mark 1); the value of women; treating everybody with respect. Treating everybody with equal respect is tricky for me, and I’m not 100 percent there, but I believe in it. I do.
When it comes to somebody I look up to, Jesus is the man even if he would be an exasperating travel partner.
How do you score on following Jesus?
In Women of the ELCA’s discipleship resource: “Lessons for Today’s Disciples,” we learn the seven marks of following Jesus (because that’s what a disciple is, a follower of Jesus). The seven ways to follow Jesus include: praying, studying, worshiping, inviting, encouraging, serving, and giving.
Let’s see; I’m good at one, two, maybe three of those things. So, I’ve got some work to do. And I bet I’m not alone. I’m going to guess that only a few of you score high on all the ways to follow Jesus.
How do you know what your good at? Well, Women of the ELCA has a resource for that, too. Look for “Gifts for You: Opening your Spiritual Gifts.” On page 10, you’ll find a spiritual gifts assessment that might help you focus your “being more like Jesus” energy on a specific gift that you already have.
Is following Jesus really easy for any of us? Nobody said being a Christian is a piece of cake. In fact, I have heard quite the opposite. I read an essay recently where Greg, the author, said if you want to be a good Christian, stop cussing. My mother would agree. But all I have to say to Greg and my mom is, nope.
Can I get your opinion? What is your definition of a good Christian? A stalwart follower of Jesus? A disciple?
Terri Lackey is director for communication for Women of the ELCA. She hasn’t traveled in a long, long time with her Stevia packets and clothes steamer, and she misses it.