Many people wake up at the start of a New Year wanting to be someone they’re not. And certainly there are no shortages of opportunities being promised to them through various diets, workout routines and inspirational websites to make them that better person they aspire to be. I am not knocking the ambition of anyone to keep fit and stay healthy in the body but this year at Shirley Baptist we are going to be SHADOWING OUR SAVIOUR in order to stay fit in our spirits. To follow Jesus closely by closely following Jesus is the goal so that we can say along with the apostle Paul to those who best know us, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1)
At Christmas we rightly highlight the truth that Jesus came to earth from heaven to make it possible for people when they leave the earth to go to heaven. His mission on the earth however was to clearly make disciples. He wants followers that follow Him, and so when He left this planet having died for us and then resurrected to prove that His job of securing our salvation from sin and death was done. He gave His followers one job to do, make more disciples. This should tell us something. Whether we drive for a living, build houses, mend bodies, preach or are at present without employment, we were created for one purpose. Whether you have a PhD or struggle with our A-Z we were put on this planet for one purpose. We all exist to follow Jesus, and to lead others to do the same.
In the 1st Century the word “disciple” didn’t mean what we take it to mean today. It didn’t refer to a pupil in a school who sat and learned certain truths or certain principles. More accurately, it meant an apprentice. A disciple was someone who didn’t just learn principles, or ideas, or even a philosophy. A disciple was someone who learned a way of life. A disciple was a follower, not just of a set of teachings, but of the teacher himself and the way the teacher lived.
The life of a true disciple of Jesus means following Him. It means we will become more like Him. And Jesus’ life was one of grace, service, and ultimately, death. Jesus should be the passion of our life, because of the cross. If Jesus had such passion for God’s glory that He was willing to die on the cross, we should have such passion for Him that we are willing to live under the cross as one of His disciples.
Some people strive to get out from under the shadow of someone else to make the own way in life and live it to the full, but SHADOWING OUR SAVIOUR is never something we want to stop doing if we are to continue following Jesus, learning from Jesus and growing to be more like Him? Only by staying in His shadow will be able to bring others into the fold along the way, and live to the best of our own God given potential. Paul said to the Corinthian believers, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ?” This is the purpose for which you were created, to become a disciple of Jesus and then to become a disciple-maker for Jesus. Every day in every way I pray that 2018 will be a year for us when in SHADOWING OUR SAVIOUR we shine the light of His glorious gospel on all those who in some way shadow us.
Happy New Year.
Your Friend and Pastor