Imitating Jesus (some thoughts on the gospel of Mark)
As a neophyte, I kept my eyes fixed on the yoga instructor, attempting to reproduce in my body and breath what I was witnessing in hers. I wasn’t just following her instructions, I was imitating her (albeit poorly). She walked from student to student correcting, aligning and encouraging us; assuring me that if I continued my efforts, I would eventually have a beautiful practice.
I want my life to be a beautiful practice. Following Jesus and imitating his actions and character is the way to achieve it.
Jesus stepped out of obscurity into the river Jordan. Like the rest of the Judean world, he followed John the Baptizer into the wilderness. He entered the waters of baptism and the world was changed.
John preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. This concept was nothing particularly new; previously, though, people would go to the temple for such an activity. Now they are pouring into the wilderness. This change of location suggests a new and radical way of accessing God. And this shift is only the beginning.
John’s baptism was almost a tease. Sent to prepare the way for the real deal, his preaching asked “Want a different way of life?” Then “repent” he instructed. Repentance is a change of mind and a commitment to act differently than you have in the past. This decision to live differently, though, will not be enough.
Speaking of the one who comes after him he says “I baptize with water, but HE will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” My baptism is external. The water that marks your decision will be dry within minutes and you’ll need to remind yourself to act differently. But HIS baptism will be with the Holy Spirit, it will be an internal and eternal mark that will not only remind you to act differently, it will empower you do to so.
Our preparation for the Messiah’s advent is o desire a different future, one free of past mistakes and misdeeds . Own your longing, grieve your sins, heed the voice of John, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.”
Love this, Debby!! Thanks so much!!
Alisha, your quick and always encouraging response to my posts are like the baptism waters to my soul, reminding me that God sees me, knows me and loves me. I hope you experience the same sense of encouragement in surprising places in your life. With you on the journey, Debby
Awesome. Thank you, Debby. Sharing on my Facebook page! I have done just a bit of “standard” yoga and was given a gift of Bikram yoga recently. Amazing gift because I hardly know this woman!
It is helpful when learning anything new to have someone after whom we can model our practice, whether it’s yoga or following Jesus. Thanks for you comment and for sharing on your FB page.
“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” – 2 Corinthians 7:10
True salvation washes away regret; both regret of past failures and rebellion, but also regret of the loss of the old self and its habits and desires. True salvation brings intimacy with the Lord which overshadows self, and causes “the things of earth to grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace.”
What so many have settled for is a worldly sorrow that considers Jesus less and self more. We relabel our effort to earn God’s favor and blessing with Christian lingo, but Jesus calls us beyond mere tradition and liturgy (religion) into the wilderness of a living relationship with himself.
Thank you Debbie for reminding us that to follow Jesus is real life change and will often mean to leave behind that which is so comfortable and/or familiar; that what Jesus offers is far greater than what we will have to give up!
With you in His service,
Thanks, Mike. As John the baptizer said, “He must increase and I must decrease.” What a lifelong prayer that proves to be! I appreciate your continued unpacking of God’s word. With you on the journey, Debby