Mirroring the Master
- 2010 19 Feb
Jesus took every opportunity to communicate and demonstrate His main purpose in coming to this earth - that He might be the means by which men and women would come to know God through His sacrificial death on the cross.
His first and only purpose was to show people the way of salvation, and He wasted no time in getting right to the heart of the matter.
When we cherish God's Word, it leads to conversations that venture below the surface to deeper spiritual issues. This passion begins in our hearts and is fed by daily nourishment from God's Word.
Jesus initiated many relationships with the lost. He stood ready to take any relationship to spiritual intimacy. When a seeker was ready to hear, Jesus was ready to talk.
Today, many who desire an encounter with Christ don't know where or how to seek out a relationship with Him. Therefore, our purpose is to mirror Christ for them and be ready in their time of seeking.
When we get into a conversation with an unbeliever, we are tempted to blurt out . . . "You must be saved!" But, the Master was patient, using questions and word pictures rather than commands to masterfully deal with the lost.
We can mirror Jesus in that we can listen carefully, then gently ask the questions that delve into the unspoken issues.
We may know the Old and New Testaments forward and backward, but if we haven't had a true experience with the Lord, been born again, this only means that we have a good memory.
Listening to Turning Point or attending your own church won't get you into heaven. No church, synagogue, or cathedral can do that job. Only being born again counts, and that is what we must tell others in our encounters with them.
Although Jesus was fully divine, He related to the woman at the well out of His humanity, asking for water to satisfy His physical need for drink. We first identify with Jesus through His humanity.
Likewise, for the unsaved to relate to us as mirrors of Christ, we can never forget what it was like to be lost and without a Savior. Others can better relate to us when we're open about our failings, sufferings, wants, and needs. It's difficult to connect with a "super saint," but common ground is found with someone who has gone through similar struggles with temptation and sin.
To mirror Christ, our encounters are best initiated from a point of common ground. Our common bond as human beings, separated from God by our own sinfulness and inadequacies, is a good place to start.
Jesus broke through many of the culture's social, racial, and religious barriers. Talking with a tax collector broke a social barrier. Ignoring the prejudice of that day, Jesus dined with Zacchaeus, a virtual outcast.
Jesus' encounters with notorious sinners as well as the most pious religious rulers of the day represented an imperative truth that while being religious won't get you into heaven, neither will being a sinner or a social outcast keep you out.
The Gospel is a message for every person of every race and walk of life. It is a message for the very best of us and the very worst, the moral and the immoral.
Christian fellowship is an important practice from which we draw encouragement and accountability, yet when we limit ourselves to relationships with believers alone, we're not mirroring Christ. It's challenging to cultivate relationships with people who don't already know the Lord.
Jesus went to sinners and ate, drank, and fellowshipped with them. He didn't condone or participate in their lifestyle, but He reached out to them where they were.
Cultivating relationships with the unsaved may require stepping outside of our comfort zones where, without compromising our Christian principles, we put ourselves in a position to reach the world.
The only Jesus that unbelievers ever see on this earth is the one reflected in those who already know Him. By mirroring Christ, we should be ready to turn any conversation or meeting with an unbeliever into a divine encounter.
Dr. Jeremiah is the founder and host of Turning Point for God and senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California. For more information on Turning Point, go to www.DavidJeremiah.org.
Original publication date: February 19, 2010