DayBreaks for 1/19/17: Admiration or Imitation?
Note: Galen is traveling this week so he’s recycling some old DayBreaks.
FROM THE DAYBREAKS ARCHIVE, January, 2007:
I am constantly amazed at the diversity of God’s creation. Why, there are enough breeds of dogs alone, to keep my little mind fascinated endlessly, let alone all the other kinds of animals. Diversity can be good. Too much of the same old thing is considered dull and boring – and we tire quickly of the “same-old, same-old.”
As much as we might enjoy diversity and appreciate that it delivers us from boredom, there are times when we don’t really want it. We don’t want to go to the jeweler to buy a ring and be told that it is 23k gold, only to find out that it’s not really gold, or not really 23k. If you pay for an original “one of a kind” work of art, you’d be disappointed to find out that it wasn’t really “one of a kind”, or that it wasn’t really unique.
When it comes to being a Christian, we would hope to only find the genuine article. However, Soren Kierkegaard described two different kinds of Christians: those who imitate Jesus Christ and a second type, a much cheaper brand – those who are content to admire him.
I think Kierkegaard has struck a chord to which we need to listen. It really isn’t hard to admire Christ. Many in the world, even those who aren’t Christians, admire Jesus. The ethical quality and spiritual nature of his teaching has never been equaled in the history of the world. And so he is admired. Admiration doesn’t cost us anything. But imitation costs us our lives.
I have a hunch that Judas admired Jesus. Would he have followed Jesus for 3-1/2 years if he didn’t at least admire him? I think not. Admiration of Jesus doesn’t make us disciples, nor does it make anyone a Christian. It is only acceptance by faith of Jesus, and a life of discipleship – of imitation of the life of Christ – that makes us Christians. To that extent, I think Kierkegaard was wrong – there is truly only one kind of Christian – one who imitates Christ in their thoughts, words and actions. The other is a false Christian – the kind to whom Jesus would say, “Depart from me, I never knew you.”
What kind of Christian are you?
PRAYER: Lord, we want to be true disciples, yet we are afraid at times of where You may lead us and what our discipleship may cost us. Help us to believe the truth – that no matter what the cost, it will be well worth it for the wonder of truly knowing Jesus. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.