“The Model of the Godly Life!”
By REV. DR. BRIAN GIGEE
“Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” -Ephesians 5:1-2
Last week’s column ended with the recognizing of Jesus being the ‘model of the Godly life.’ I believe he is. And trust me… I’ve had many heroes since my childhood but no better role model than Jesus of Nazareth. He is… and remains so… via his teachings and holy presence today continuing to shape the lives of millions worldwide by the imitation that unfolds by all who call themselves ‘followers’.
This thought shows up in one of my favorite prayers… words spoken after everyone has received the Lord’s Supper. It goes like this…
“Almighty God, you gave your Son both as a sacrifice for sin and a model of the Godly life. Enable us to receive him always with thanksgiving, and to conform our lives to his; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
And if I’m right and not alone in this… then what exactly IS the model of the Godly life Jesus reveals? I’m sure I could write a book about it but for the sake of space and your time this week… here’s a short list to get us started.
*Jesus stayed close to the Father through prayer and worship. I think this is fundamental. Jesus was on a mission. In his humanness he was unable to accomplish his purpose on his own, but as long as he stayed connected to the power and presence of God, he was able to fulfill all that he sought to do. In fact, if history is correct about this… Jesus was the only person in human history to accomplish everything he set out to do.
*Jesus showed us LOVE wins. The world always bows to power. Killing and mayhem is what we read about in our history books…. and that only works as long as no one challenges the power currently in place. Jesus told us to love… Love God. Love ourselves. Love our neighbor. With all our heart. With all our strength. With all our mind. No excuses. No exceptions. And along with that he recommended we love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us… just in case any of us were wondering.
*Jesus accepted everyone around him; especially those who were different. He didn’t always agree with them, but whether rich or poor, male, or female, Jew or Gentile… Jesus took time to be ‘present’ with those around him… fully present at moments like at a wedding reception, a dinner with a tax collector, with a woman at a well, or going to a friend’s funeral along with untold encounters of people who put themselves in Jesus’ path seeking blessing, healing, and hope. He even chose to have no quarrel with his accusers including Pontius Pilate, the one who sentenced him to death.
*Jesus showed us the Godly life was a life dedicated to the service of others. “The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve,” he said. It was his recipe for a life full of abundant joy. And he did that to an extreme by giving up his life for the sake of the world. This also included things like ‘bearing good fruit’ and being things like salt and light and leaven to make a difference in the world.
Paul Tillich once wrote … “Jesus is the only person in history to be ‘fully human’; and that makes the rest of us sub-human.” I like that and it gives me encouragement to live more deeply into the way of Jesus… the truth and the life worth imitating. Faith matters.
The Rev. Dr. Brian K. Gigee is a long-time resident of Pearland, having pastored four churches over the last four decades in Texas and Louisiana. Read more following Brian’s blog ‘murmurings’ at https://briangigee.wordpress.com/. Send comments and/or questions to [email protected].