To Be Like Jesus

Posted: April 26, 2014 in On Being Apostolic, Uncategorized
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To be like Jesus!
To be like Jesus!
On earth I long,
to be like Him.
All through life’s journey,
From earth to glory,
I only ask,
to be like Him.

I grew up singing that chorus, way back in the day before hip worship leaders insisted on singing a new worship song each week; back in the days when worship was participatory in ways other than jumping up and down while the worship band sings what no one knows. But hey, I digress…

I imagine that some of you remember that old chorus, too. We sang it for years, in what we used to call song service… and at altar calls. For years and years we sang that chorus (and others like it) because the focal point of who we were and what we were was none other than Jesus. We wanted to be like Jesus. Like Jesus.

Jesus was the focal point because we were a New Covenant people, because we were a Jesus’ Name church with a Book of Acts experience. It wasn’t hard to see when reading the Book of Acts that it was all about Jesus. “Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is none other name…” So while we called ourselves “Apostolic”, it was largely in reference to the fact that we were “The People of the Name”. We believed the Apostles’ Doctrine. The Mighty God in Christ Jesus was a common theme of our preaching and teaching. Jesus was at the centre! Jesus was our focus! Jesus was our example! We Apostolics were so “Christocentric” that we were accused of being “Jesus-Only”.

When did that change? When was our longing to be like Jesus supplanted by our desire to be seen as different from all the other denominations, and from the sinful world? When did our focus leave Jesus? When did we shift our eyes from His example to our appearance? When did we become so obsessed with our own distinctiveness, so enthralled with our own “Apostolic Identity”? When did we become so spiritually narcissistic? When did we replace Christ at the centre? How did our form of Godliness become more important to our testimony than our Christlikeness?

And please don’t tell me they’re one and the same! No. They’re not. And don’t tell me that one leads to the other; that if you’re really Christlike, your appearance will begin to align to the accepted “Apostolic” paradigm. That’s not true, either.

But I suppose that maybe it’s only to be expected. I suppose that in a society so neurotically fixated on youth & beauty as ours, it only stands to reason that even Apostolic people would fall in love with their own reflection in the mirror. Maybe we should call to mind the stale yet true warning that parents issue their teenage children; “Beauty is only skin deep.” A beautiful face and form doesn’t indicate a beautiful heart.

Those of you who remember it, join with me now…

“To be like Jesus…”

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