Thursday, April 9, 2009

In His Footsteps

What does it mean to be a Christian? There are many popular definitions, varying from the abstract "someone who believes Jesus is the Messiah is a Christian" to the very specific "being a Christian means that you do X, Y, Z (go to church, spread the Word, etc)", and none of them are exactly the same or inclusive of all people who call themselves obviously the meaning of Christianity is very personal-but also very important.

To me, being a Christian means being Christ-like; that is, manifesting the spirit and qualities of Christ and following in Him.

Matthew 16:24 “24Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me."

On Easter every year I am reminded of how awesome a commission that truly is. When I read the Old Testament, about before Christ came, I reflect on what it meant to have to save ourselves through holy action and thought. There are only 10 Commandments, and even that is far too many for one spiritually puny human being to uphold. The people of the earth suffered the physical, emotional, and spiritual consequences of their sins-and it was grisly. God saw the suffering of His children and came up with the perfect plan-Jesus. He could have forced everyone to bow to His will. He could have sent a disciplinary warrior-king to carve humanity into submission.

Instead he sent Jesus. Teacher. Healer. Peacemaker. Humility and servitude incarnate. He selflessly and quietly served humanity on earth and our Father in heaven with love, patience, and kindness, and without prejudice. He loved the unlovable prostitute, He served the unservable (His enemies), and in the end He walked to His death to redeem the irredeemable (that's me).

As a Christian by my own definition I must wonder-how can I follow in my Master's gentle, self sacrificing footsteps? How can I love others unconditionally, with perfect forgiveness for their flaws? How can I serve others, both friend and foe, as Christ did?

I can't.

That is the miracle of Easter-my loving Messiah gave Himself to cover my imperfections. He redeemed every irredeemable quality I have. Every action I have taken-and in my human nature will continue to take-that is not in His way is already forgiven. My sins are not my own to bear, and I do not suffer the consequences of my shortcomings. The loving, gentle servant has taken my place, overcome my death, and allows me to follow in His ways so that one day I can see Him.

So this Easter as I thankfully praise Him, I know the best way I can worship Him is to follow in His footsteps. May you be blessed by Him this season and always, and attended by His followers.

From the Last Supper [excerpts from John 13]
12When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. "Do you understand what I have done for you?" he asked them. 13"You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. 15I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

"My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come. 34"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." 36Simon Peter asked him, "Lord, where are you going?" Jesus replied, "Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later."

[For more bloggings on the true meaning of Easter, visit the Because of the Cross Carnival at Becoming Me.]


Kirsty said...

LOVE your new blog! You are a genius :D

And thank you for this beautiful post. I so agree. Being a Christian is to me, being a faithful follower of Christ in trying to be as He is, as Christ-like as we can be, and willing to take advantage of the great gift of His Atonement to pick up when we fail and try to be better and more like Him.

Angela said...

Wonderful, wonderful post. You really summed up nicely what it means to be a follower of Christ. Thank you so much for participating.

Mrs. M said...

Thanks for commenting you guys! This post was really hard for me to write, because my faith is very personal to me. It's nice to get some encouragement :)

Muthering Heights said...

What a great Easter post. And I love your new blog design!

Norse, Jesica, and Boden said...

I love that being a disciple means "to follow". May you continue to follow Him with the same zeal you expresses in this post!

Mrs. M said...

Muthering Heights-Thank you, and thanks! I did the design myself. And the writing too, obviously.

Norse, Jesica, and Boden-Thank you for visiting~Happy Easter!

Mary Moss said...

What a wonderful post! Thank you for sharing it with us!

Mrs. M said...

Mary Moss-Thank you for stopping by!

Mocha Dad said...