Thursday, October 11, 2012

October 11, 2012 … Becoming Just Like Jesus

Chronological Bible Reading Plan - Day 285

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Matthew, Chapter 11 To study these chapters, go to this link

Highlight Passage: Matthew 11: 25-30 : [NLT] … {I am touched in this meditation to read another of Jesus’ prayers, obviously heard by Matthew and reported here. It’s like that in John 17}  
25 Then Jesus prayed this prayer: “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding the truth from those who think themselves so wise and clever, and for revealing it to the childlike. 26 Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way! 27 “My Father has given me authority over everything. No one really knows the Son except the Father, and no one really knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him.” 28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light.” 
Cross Reference Passage: Philippians 2: 5 : [NLT] …{Paul had it right. Our prime behavioral goal as Christians in life should be to mirror the attitudes and characteristics of Jesus. Hence, the first place to seek such an attitude would be to look to how Jesus described Himself; and the only place in the Bible we can find this is in Matthew 11: 29 where we find the only two character qualities Jesus ever used to describe Himself; and those are HUMILITY and MEEKNESS.} Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had. 

My Journal for Today: I caught a lazy-man’s break today in my chronological reading assignment in the NT by being led to read/study only one chapter in Matthew’s gospel account, … Chapter 11. But then in reflecting on Matthew’s writing, I realized that there is much about which one could use to grow in Christ. However, one passage at the end of this chapter jumps out at me for comment here because it contains one of the most unique self-descriptions which we find from Jesus in all of the New Testament.

Years ago a dear mentor and discipler in my life helped me see through the teaching of the Apostle Paul in Philippians 2: 5, which I’ve quoted above; that one of the prime-time targets we have as Christians in life is to become more like Jesus today than yesterday and even more like Him tomorrow than today. … Am I sensing an “Amen!” from you if you’re reading along with me today?

Well, if one were to pursue this attitudinal goal for life, where would we first look to become like Jesus; and, of course, you’re probably thinking, “We should look to the model of how Jesus lived and try our best to live like Him;” … and, of course, you’d be right in that. But how about first looking to see how Jesus described His own attitude to get insight on how our attitude should be reshaped – just as Paul wrote in Phil. 2: 5? And did you know that there’s only one verse in all of Scripture where Jesus uses adjectives to describe His own character (or attitude)? And that verse is found our reading today in Matthew 11: 29, which I’ve underlined above.

And how did Jesus describe Himself? He called himself … HUMBLE and MEEK [some translations use the term “gentle” for meekness]. And so immediately we should be asking ourselves, with the goal of being shaped by God’s Spirit into the image of our Savior, … “Am I humble; and am I meek?” And having to answer those questions is like being slapped in the face in that old Mennen Skin Bracer commercial, and saying, “Thanks, … I needed that!!” If you haven’t seen the commercial – here’s a YouTube link to see/hear it.  If you see the commercial, you’ll get the idea.

And in Matthew 11: 28-30, Jesus is not only offering Himself to His followers as a yoke to which we can use to gain His strength, but He is also teaching us, in verse 29, to become just like Him … by choosing to live with Christ-like humility and meekness. And that’s what slaps me in the face, because I’m one who must constantly fight against my personal tendency toward pridefulness and lack of self control, the two human character traits which are 180 degrees in opposition to humility and meekness.

Humility, of course, is thinking of or serving others before self; and meekness (or “gentleness”) is strength under control, both of which can be sorely lacking in my own character at times. So, in reading this chapter/passage today, I’m reminded that I need to surrender more to God’s Spirit and allow Him to reshape my attitude to reflect that of Jesus and to yoke me with His strength.

So, I pray today to become more like my Savior and I will pray tomorrow to become even more like Him.

My Prayer Today: … Lord, I know the risk in my prayer; but help me to become humble and meek like You. Amen

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