Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. – 1 John 2:15
Earlier this week, I skipped onto the David Bowie site. For those who don’t know, though I doubt there are many, Bowie was a music icon who died more than a year ago. I grew up with Bowie and was a big fan for much of my young adult life, who knows, perhaps he was even an idol. I thought it strange that, after just 12 months, so few are talking about him. What does his website look like now?
If you log onto his website, you will see as I did, that his final single release is called ‘No Plan.’ I watched the video and I was intrigued, because in it Bowie describes how, for the first time in his life, he has no need of a plan. He knows he is going to die, therefore, who needs a plan? I’m sure vast epistles have been preached on this subject, but I did spend some time wondering about how I spend so much of my time planning my life in this world, with so little attention devoted to the next. Alas, even the care of my teeth, which are not in great shape I have to report, take careful planning. Should I even bother? Does God shake his head in disbelief at the fact that humans plan every aspect of their lives down to the minutiae, without so much as a cursory consideration as to what might happen when we die? I don’t think so, as he really does know what we are like.
Soon we shall come to Easter, a time of year I personally love, and I have been drawn back to the wonderful work of Isaiah. Nothing speaks more of God’s relationship to his creation through his Son, than that book. Sometimes a little theology is helpful in our understanding of a Heavenly Father. More on that in the coming weeks for those of you who might occasionally glance this way.
Other than that?
Well, last Sunday we met with 2 groups of people, both believers, both very different and both at interesting stages. In the morning, we met with a few believers who perhaps should have been more mature given the length of time in the faith, yet somewhere along the line their faith had grown cold. Why is that so common – is Jesus really that dull?
The answer is that, for whatever reason, Jesus had been replaced in their lives. As is so often the case, Jesus gets replaced by all sorts of things in our lives. Liturgy, doctrine, apathy, the world, all that is shiny, the list can be extensive. Merely though, that we choose to follow other things than him. He becomes routine.
“I’ll follow you wherever you may go.”
“Do you realise that foxes have holes and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head?”
There’s no mistaking it; you’re not going to have an easy life if you follow the Son of Man. Each of us needs to have that squared away, comprehending who he is and deciding, “yes I want to follow him no matter what.” In the process of following him, there will certainly be a way of life that is like his. Surely that makes sense. John testifies, “anyone who claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.”
We grow cold, when we say to ourselves, “I want to follow Jesus but I don’t intend to walk as he walked. I have another way to follow him.” As Paul prophesied would be the case, such events in Christendom are very popular. Most believers (and many non-believers who perhaps think they are believers) think like this. It’s easy, so it goes, to follow Jesus when he’s going East and you’re going West. Can that truly be the case, that we can follow him without submission? Of course not, but it seems to me, much more practical than that as well.
We go where he goes, live like he lives, think like he does, speak like he does, pray as he does, love like he does. I cannot find any other way to follow Jesus.
As we do, like the Apostles before us, our lives become “testified with great power” and “great grace was upon them all.” There is evident a quality of life that seems to converge with the testimony of Jesus. As a direct result, other lives became like his, believers walked it out as he walked it out, and understood what made the Father pleased, how relationships should work. As only he can.
It is very important – crucial in fact, that Jesus does not get replaced by some form of religion, or pomp, or formula, or idea or any externals. Else, we shall live impoverished, fabricated lives that are a show to others as to how pious we are, when deep down, the true riches of relationship with the Son of Man are missing. Eventually, tedious routine. It is about walking simply with the Master, and then linking arms with anybody who wants to walk that way too.
As we behold Him, we are transformed into His likeness from one degree of glory to another. We come to him, to each other, eyes-wide-open, all my heart, soul and mind and live it for him. His teaching, His way of life.
Nothing else needed.