The Holy Spirit as the catalyst for a Jesus-shaped life

When we sing lyrics that prayerfully asks God to make us more like Jesus, I wonder if we really understand what we’re asking for? I wonder if we fully grasp the implications of what our prayer entails?

To be more like Jesus is to made in his image. To reflect him. To allow the Spirit within us to shape and mold us into people who look and sound like the one we follow.

To be like Jesus is to –

…love our enemies to the point of laying down our lives for them.
…lay down our swords and seek the way of peace.
…put aside our need for revenge and offer forgiveness.
…use lamb power, not beastly power.
…embrace those who have been pushed to the margins of society.
…associate with people who others disassociate from.
…create space for questions, doubts and fears.
…bring healing and hope to a world full of sickness and hopelessness.
…bring the loving reign of God to bear in every corridor of life.

I believe it was C.S. Lewis who once said,

"The Church exists for nothing else but to draw people into Christ and to make them little Christ’s. And, if the Church is not doing that, than all of the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply a waste of time."

Immersing ourselves in the Jesus-story

As Jesus-people, we need to daily immerse ourselves in the stories that the gospel writers have provided us with. We need to cultivate a posture of traveling along with Jesus in the stories we read and to place ourselves as characters within the unfolding drama that has him as its central character.

On a daily basis, we need to ask the Holy Spirit to form us into a people who consistently reflect the attributes and qualities of the one we claim to follow.

‘Jesus is Lord’ should be the catalyst that forms and shapes us into Jesus-looking people. Click To Tweet

By the Spirit, Jesus reproduces himself in us, as any good teacher-rabbi would seek to do. However, we as students need to also intentionally follow our teacher very closely, doing what he says to do and saying what he says to say.

We do not follow one who taught theoretical concepts to be debated, but one who actually lived his ideals on the streets.

We follow a real-life Jesus; a Lord and teacher who we intentionally and consistently seek to replicate. Not through legalistic means, where we design rules and obligations to follow, but through the grace of the Spirit, combined with intentionality.

The Great Commission is discipleship

Discipleship is the life, means and place where we live. The essence of the great commission is carried out through discipleship, not evangelism (Matthew 28). Not techniques to be implemented, but a life to be lived. A life that reflects the one we claim to serve and follow.

The only Jesus that people will see today will be in those that follow him. Click To Tweet

The only Jesus that people will see today will be in those that follow him. If we’re not doing that well, we’ve failed miserably.

Following Jesus is not an optional piece of equipment we can embrace or reject, but a necessary imperative for all who call him Lord.

Following Jesus informs and gives shape to our ethics. He becomes the model we seek to emulate in every way. We work in tandem with the Spirit who enables us and who creates situations where we are called upon to act out of our commitment of following.

Discipleship will never be based on rules to be followed, but a person to reflect. Click To Tweet

The Spirit produces within us the fruit of this abiding followership. The Spirit moves us towards closer proximity to Jesus as we move in closer proximity to others. The Spirit makes practical what we read about in the Gospel accounts. Jesus theory moves into the streets and becomes a living reality.

There’s a difference between obeying rules and obeying Jesus. One reflects a law-based morality we try to enforce, while the other is based in a teacher-student relationship we follow willingly out of love. One can lead to legalistic moralism, the other to a life of loving obedience.

So, choose well and sing!

Allow our Jesus-shaped songs to fashion a Jesus-shaped life.

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About the author


ChristianWeek Columnist

Jeff is a columnist with ChristianWeek, a public speaker, blogger, and award-winning published writer of articles and book reviews in a variety of faith-based publications. He also blogs at jeffkclarke.com