God Running is a place for anyone who wants to (or even anyone who wants to want to) love Jesus more deeply, follow Jesus more closely, and love people the way Jesus wants us to.
In our last post from the book of Acts we learned about the way flight instructors communicate and what that has to do with the behavior of Barnabas. If you want to learn more you can check out that post here: Flight Instructors (and what they have to do with Barnabas’s Behavior)–Acts 11:19-26.
In today’s post we’ll look at the word “Christian” and we’ll see what implications are in that word for someone who desires to follow Jesus — for someone like you, and for someone like me.
And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.Acts 11:26
According to Keener the people of Antioch were known for making fun of others and one way they did that was to assign labels to people. So they labeled the followers of Christ as “Christians” which literally means little anointed ones or little Christs. The believers of that time decided to embrace that name and some 2,000 years later, we’re still called Christians today.
And here’s why I think those early believers welcomed that name. From what I can tell from everything I have read about the earliest Jesus followers, those earliest believers wanted to become little Christs. They wanted to become little Christs with all their heart and mind and soul and strength.
I’m going to be honest here. For years, no, not years, for decades I only wanted as much of Jesus as I thought I needed to make it into heaven and to be accepted in my Christian community. Maybe you were like that too at some point in your life. It wasn’t until I did the seven year deep dive into Jesus’ life that I realized I wasn’t following Christ the way God intended for me to follow Christ. I was interested in pursuing my own interests and my own goals and my own agenda with just enough of Jesus to get me in, to keep me safe.
I caused problems when I approached life that way. I didn’t mean to, but I misrepresented Jesus to people by approaching life that way. I think a great many problems in the world today are caused by believers who approach life that way.
There are reasons the early church grew as fast as it did.
One of the biggest reasons was because the early believers desperately wanted to become little Christs. They wanted to become as much like Jesus as possible. They wanted that with everything they had.
This is what I need.
This is what you need.
This is what we need in Jesus’ church today.
“Father, please change us. Send your Holy Spirit to us to conform us into the likeness of Your Christ Jesus. Fill us with a passion to become as much like Jesus as possible. Make us a people who desire to become little Christs with all our hearts and minds and souls and strength.
“In Jesus’ name we ask this of You.
Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament,
InterVarsity Press, 1993, p. 354
Available on Amazon!
Love Like Jesus: How Jesus Loved People (and how you can love like Jesus)
Love Like Jesus begins with the story of how after a life of regular church attendance and Bible study, Bennett was challenged by a pastor to study Jesus. That led to an obsessive seven year deep dive. After pouring over Jesus’ every interaction with another human being, he realized he was doing a much better job of studying Jesus’ words than he was following Jesus’ words and example. The honest and fearless revelations of Bennett’s own moral failures affirm he wrote this book for himself as much as for others.
Love Like Jesus examines a variety of stories, examples, and research, including:
- Specific examples of how Jesus communicated God’s love to others.
- How Jesus demonstrated all five of Gary Chapman’s love languages (and how you can too).
- The story of how Billy Graham extended Christ’s extraordinary love and grace toward a man who misrepresented Jesus to millions.
- How to respond to critics the way Jesus did.
- How to love unlovable people the way Jesus did.
- How to survive a life of loving like Jesus (or how not to become a Christian doormat).
- How Jesus didn’t love everyone the same (and why you shouldn’t either).
- How Jesus guarded his heart by taking care of himself–he even napped–and why you should do the same.
- How Jesus loved his betrayer Judas, even to the very end.
With genuine unfiltered honesty, Love Like Jesus, shows you how to live a life according to God’s definition of success: A life of loving God well, and loving the people around you well too.
A life of loving like Jesus.