Lifestyle learning

I am forever saying that the Bible is full of contradictions – every one of them true.

Take Isaiah 55:1 for example: ‘Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.’ But hey! Nil desperandum. As always, ‘Christ is the answer.’ Although God’s grace if free, it will cost us everything to enjoy it to the full. We must empty our hands of all our idols to let Jesus fill them with all that he has gained for us. As he expressed it in no uncertain terms (Luke 14:33):

‘Any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.’ 

To be his follower involves my giving all ownership over to him without reserve – from then on I am but a steward of his car, his house, his work schedule, his holiday plans, his bank account, his church etc. All my former resources are at his disposal.

Hebrews 4:10-11 is another instance of a contradiction: ‘Strive to enter [God’s] rest.’

Once again, Christ is the answer. In Matthew 11:28 he invites all who toil under the weight of guilt and weaknesses: ‘Come to me … and I will give you rest.He has earned for us forgiveness and acceptance with God. But immediately he adds:

‘Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your soul.’ (Matthew 11:29).

Jesus does not merely invite confessors; he wants to enlist disciples – apprentices, trainees. He wants to fill that role so fashionable these days, to be your Personal Trainer! He was always pleased to bless the crowds who gathered around him – teaching them, feeding them, healing them. But he selected those who were willing to build his kingdom with him to join him as partners. He offers lifestyle learning. For instance, Paul wrote:

[] ‘I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content– whether full or empty (see Philippians 4:10-13; see also 1 Timothy 6:6-10).

[] In Jesus’ yoke we learn cooperation with him and his associates, people he has called into foundational ministries. Some things are best learned in relationship. For example, in Proverbs 1 – 8 the lessons are continually addressed to ‘my son’.

[] Only in yoke can we adequately learn character‘I am gentle and lowly in heart,’ Jesus told potential disciples. First he gives us the gift of his own heavenly DNA (‘born from above, by his Spirit,’ John 3:1-8), so that we share his nature. Wow, what a privilege!  Moses’ law forbade the yoking together of animals of disparate natures such as an ox and an ass! Jesus claims to be the patient, plodding ox! As Paul reminded the Christians in Ephesus that ‘the way you learned Christ was to put off the old self [ass] and put on the new [ox], especially such character traits as greed, sensuality and deceitfulness (John 4:17-24).  *Places still available for enrolment today*

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