by K. P. Yohannan
Several months ago, I found myself alone in a dark, quiet neighborhood-standing next to a car that refused to run.
I had been driving home after our weekly prayer meeting when the engine in my 1962 VW Bug simply stopped. I felt helpless, frustrated, and sorry for myself.
I called some of our Gospel for Asia (GFA) co-workers to come help me. As I waited for them to arrive, I began thinking about how Jesus would respond to a situation like mine. As I reflected on His attitude toward inconvenience and suffering, the Lord met me there on that dark street corner. He reminded me once again of the importance of Jesus' example-and of His life, not my own, lived through me.
Many Christians make the mistake of thinking that obeying the Bible makes them spiritual. Mahatma Gandhi obeyed the Sermon on the Mount quite literally-yet he never became a follower of Christ. The Pharisees knew their Bible well, yet Jesus told them, "You search and investigate and pore over the Scriptures diligently, because you suppose and trust that you have eternal life through them. And these [very Scriptures] testify about Me!" (John 5:39, Amplified, emphasis added).
Under the Old Covenant, the people of Israel gave themselves to obey the letter of the Law. There were plenty of dos and don'ts to follow. But now, under the New Covenant, we are called to be partakers of His nature (2 Pet. 1:4).
Do you see the difference?
If the Bible is for us only a book to obey, we go back to living under the Old Covenant. We become legalistic like the Pharisees as we seek our own righteousness. But God intends for His Word to touch and transform our lives as it reveals Jesus to us.
The Word of God tells us that Jesus' life was "the light of men" (John 1:4). A set of instructions or doctrines will never show us the way or give us power to live. Only Jesus can do that. His very life, His example, is what gives us understanding, discernment and clarity for living in the perfect will of God at all times and in all situations. He is not only our Savior, but also the One who goes before us-our forerunner (Heb. 6:20).
In All Things Jesus Is Our Model
The Apostle John reminds us that "anyone who says he is a Christian should live as Christ did" (1 John 2:6, Living Bible). When we search for true humility, where can we find it? It is incarnated and embodied in Christ. If we talk about passion for the lost, even to the extent of losing one's appetite, we witness it absolutely in Jesus. When we try to understand love, we see it personified in the Son of God.
From whom can we learn how to pray in faith or agonize and weep in prayer all night long? The answer is Jesus. What about obedience to the Word of God? We find it demonstrated in Christ. If we look for someone who lived His life as a model for a different world, we encounter it in Jesus, who said, "My kingdom is not of this world" (John 18:36).
God in His mercy didn't leave us to figure out how to live by a book full of instructions. No, He gave us Jesus and asked us to follow in His footsteps.
Each time we read through the Gospels we see Jesus-who He is and what He does. We find no inconsistency in Him, no double standards and no difference between His public and private life. The words He speaks, the ministry He does, the prayers He prays, the decisions He makes, and the lifestyle He lives are all a true reflection of who He is in His heart.
Becoming What We See
Second Corinthians 3:18 tells us that as we look into the Word of God, we see the very nature of Jesus-and the Holy Spirit changes us into His likeness day by day, transforming us on the inside to become just like what we are seeing.
Practically, what does this mean? We must seek Jesus daily by reading God's Word and comparing our hearts with His. We must measure our humility, obedience, love, and passion for the lost by what we see in Him.
True godliness is not just following some rules and regulations; rather, it is allowing the Lord Jesus to live through our earthen vessels (2 Cor. 4:7). It becomes "no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me" (Gal. 2:20). And as we long to live as Jesus lived and learn to die daily to ourselves, we will watch in wonder as He makes us more and more like Him.
Reprinted with permission.
K. P. Yohannan is the founder and president of Gospel for Asia.