• Our hope-filled future is bound up in sharing the story of Jesus, in discipling others, in bringing those disciples together into communities of believers, and in developing and releasing those believers to create other communities... till Jesus the King comes again!

That is not the way we learned

But that is not the way you learned Christ! – assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus.”  (Ephesians 4:20-21)

Our encounter with Jesus has not only taken away our shame and restored the honor God placed upon us, but it powerfully changes how we see others and how we treat them. We may have used our words to cause damage and hurt in others’ lives in the past. Now, in Christ, our motivation and desire is different. That is simply because we have learned a new way of living and loving.what-we-learned-rukkle-620X4002

However, what I find disheartening is that Christians are often among the least likely to demonstrate this kind of love toward one another, and particularly when they are called to work together in teams or towards a common vision. Terms like manipulation, rancor, or self-centeredness are sadly among some of the attitudes I have seen.

We who have been given the privilege of sharing the Gospel with others can be among those most needy for the Gospel. Could it be that our actions are a counter testimony to the ‘way we learned Christ’?

Commenting on this text, Jack Miller once said: “Putting on the new self means going to Jesus more and more to get a life of truth without secrets, and to abandon manipulating others. As you do this, you begin to see the people around you as individuals who are worth a great deal to God, and you are able to treat them with kindness, forgiveness, thoughtfulness, and love.”

How do others ‘experience’ you in day-to-day life and ministry? That’s a question to start with and which might provide greater self-awareness.

We need each other to lift up the mirror of God’s perfect law, that we might see how we fall short. We need each other to take us back again (and again) to Jesus where we receive mercy again (and again).

2 Responses

  1. Love this area of thought! – have been processing along these lines for the past few years in my walk more and more.
    The topic of presence…is a very key one. What are we present to?
    Your question – being present to other’s experience of us – a good question. I would say another good question is “How are we experiencing ourselves?” Are we present to what’s going on within ourselves? This is where real change can happen. We are talking about blind spots and egos. Knowing them can alert us to our need and raise awareness, but can offer limited direction or resource for change. It is a starting point. Not the end point nor the cure. The Gospel is the cure – Jesus.

    Great quote of Jack Miller. I am a big fan of his words and thoughts on living out the Christian Life. Are we receiving? What are we receiving? This was a lot of Jack’s focus. His “Sonship” series had a huge impact on my understanding of the importance of receiving first and my walk with Christ. The Apostle Paul understood it so profoundly and he often experienced it as his “energy” in walking with Christ and ability to minister to others.
    What we give out is based on what we are receiving…what we are present to…who we are present to. As we take in Christ’s love, mercy, grace and presence for ourselves; we find healthy relationships happen more and more. We gain awareness; we learn discernment of healthy; we practice habits that bring life.

    I think even as Christians-it is a huge challenge to be present in our lives. To really believe that being a good receiver is more important than most anything else we do as Christians. But I want to be more like Paul, more like Jack Miller – more like Christ. So I am seeking to be more present.

  2. Thanks Gwen! I think all of us would agree that we have that same desire you expressed. Greater self awareness comes from others helping you better understand how you are being experienced by others, but also by trying to ‘understand yourself’ as you said. May God give us the grace to keep moving forward.

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