Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Always Copied, Never Duplicated

I saw this phrase on an advertisement a few months ago and it really struck me how this applies to Jesus' life. As Christians, we know that we are called to be like Jesus, but how? It is much more simple in word than in action.

When I first heard that I was supposed to be like Jesus and that He was going to help me, I was quite excited. I reasoned that, in a few years, when I finally became like Jesus then I would be happy. If you have ever tried to be like Jesus for yourself then you are probably laughing at my childishness. We find rather quickly that copying Jesus, although it is a good first step, is not enough. We can never duplicate Him and that is what we are called to do.

I have been reading C. S. Lewis's Mere Christianity and he explains this mystery better than I could. He says, "In one sense, the road back to God is a road of moral effort, of trying harder and harder. But in another sense it is not trying that is ever going to bring us home. All this trying leads up to the vital moment at which you turn to God and say, 'You must do this. I can't.' "

That is the point when we realize that all our copying has not produced duplication. When we do despair of duplicating Christ's life then what recourse is left to us? We must recognize that He is His own Life that is in us. "God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery . . . which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27 NASB)

I turn to C. S. Lewis again: "Handing everything over to Christ does not, of course, mean that you stop trying to do all that He says. . . If you have really handed yourself over to Him, it must follow that you are trying to obey Him. But trying in a new way, a less worried way. Not doing these things in order to be saved, but because He has begun to save you already. Not hoping to get to Heaven as a reward for your actions but inevitably wanting to act in a certain way because a first faint gleam of Heaven is already inside you."

Truly it is an amazing mystery which only God can reveal to us. We can only copy; yet Christ duplicates Himself in us. If you find that what I write seems to be very important but you are not sure that you understand a word of it ask God for understanding. He will explain far more perfectly than I or even C. S. Lewis could. Much of what I read and hear I know that I need to understand but I don't. Most of my writing is not even so much to convince anyone but to think it out myself.

One more quote from Mere Christianity, "The Bible really seems to clinch the matter when it puts the two things together into one amazing sentence. The first half is, 'Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling'--which looks as if everything depended on us and our good actions: but the second half goes on, 'For it is God who worketh in you'--which looks as if God did everything and we nothing. . . I am puzzled but not surprised."

I do encourage you, if you have Mere Christianity in the house to read the second of the chapters entitled Faith. (Yes, two chapters have the same name.) If you do, tell me what you think.


Paige said...

Great thoughts Lauren! They are both profound and relevant. I read "Mere Christianity" a while ago, and though I don't remember specifics, I so remember that it profoundly impacted my view of Christianity in general, and my relationship with Christ in particular.

I loved seeing you last weekend!

Jesse said...

great post lauren! makes a whole lot of sense! love you and call me!

Jesse said...

ps we need to get together soon! before you leave again!

Cassie said...

You are leaving again? :)

What you're saying is so true...just what's going on in my life. Last September I picked up Mere Christianity and read bits to chew on, and got introduced to the old-but-suddenly-new idea that the Chirstian walk is just a game of pretend. We just pretend to be like Jesus, because that's all we have the ability to do...copy.

It sounds hypocritical, but it's only hypocritical when we think that our pretending is enough to make us holy. We pretend and pretend, looking up to Jesus, till He grants our longing and makes us "real." Like a little boy playing army, or a little girl playing house. That's the general idea I got from one of the chapters in Mere Christianity, and it's helped me so much! I knew my pretending wasn't working, but I needed to know that it's ok and that I don't have to try to hide it from God or man.

There, I hope that was plenty of opinion for you :)