I have been meditating on my life, addressing those areas where repentance is needed. So I thought I would share a few of my resolutions for the new year. Here is the first. Resolved, to speak as much like Jesus as I do about Jesus.
Really, it is so much easier to talk about Jesus than it is to talk like him. I think this is especially true for those of us who value theology and evangelism. We want to talk about the Savior. We should talk about him. He is worth talking about, making known, and he is certainly worth our praise. But it is easy for this to amount to the whole of our Christian language. I am not for a moment suggesting that talking like Jesus is more important than talking about him. But I have to admit that talking about Jesus is far more easy and common among Christians than talking like him. We tend to address the world with Jesus, but not with the words of Jesus. It is ironic that we should get so much right about the Messiah, and yet not approach the world in the way that he does. And let me say that while I see this problem in the church at large, I am most frustrated with myself in this area.
To speak about Jesus means announcing that the Kingdom has arrived, that God has come in the flesh to restore humanity and all creation, that this salvation comes through the crucifixion and resurrection of the Messiah. To speak about Jesus is theology and evangelism. This is good.
To speak like Jesus means his words become our words. It means we sound more like Jesus when we talk about the truth than a talk-radio personality or a popular preacher. It means we know what Jesus said, believe his words are the words of life, and therefore speak them to others (John 6). It means we move from description to prescription - a risky effort indeed. It means our words spring from hearts of compassion. It requires not only the right words, but the right attitude. To speak like Jesus demands love for our neighbors. This is good.
For me, resolutions mean very little if they are not an expression of repentance. And this is a sin that I have to address; that I am addressing; that I want to mortify. Do I talk about Jesus without talking like him? Do I undermine what I say about Jesus by the way in which I say it? Am I only stating the truth about Jesus without practicing the truth of Jesus? Are the words of grace I speak only descriptive and not also prescriptive?
I am resolved to speak as much like Jesus as I do about him. In fact, more of both are needed in my life. God help me.