I’m sitting on top of a mountain on Connors pass In dingle, and I am reminded of what it means to be a child of God. How do we show Jesus to other people? How do we make him known here on earth? How can we be ambassadors of the living God in a world that doesn’t want to know him? I try to live life as I read it in scripture, to live as He lived, give as He gave, to serve as He served and to Love as He loved. Fearlessly, unashamedly being who He has created you to be, not as a false representative of someone else’s reflection and standards. In this world we are so busy trying to mirror the image of someone we admire, idolise or aspire to be that we miss the point of being ourselves.
You see, when we are created to be made in the very image of God, we reflect beauty and qualities that are only seen in the heart of our Heavenly Father. To love the unlovely, the unjust, the outcasts and the people that rub you up the wrong way. God loved me when I hated Him, so how can we expect to do anything less? The very heart and image of God is to love without boundaries and live with the expectation of miraculous outpourings of grace and mercy, to live unconventionally not according to the traditions of men but to follow the very heartbeat of God, throwing logic and plans out the window and allowing yourself to be carried by the wind. The very breath of God moves the oceans across the world and sustains countless life sources, how then is it so difficult for us to relent and lean in too, and feel the very wind of his spirit prompting us into unknown?
We are free, purchased and liberated from the bondage of all the things that held us down and yet we are so content to sit and wait for life to come to us. When Jesus said I have come that they may have life and have life in abundance, I’m not sure we’ve necessarily understood the full parallel of what that means and looks like in our lives. If we look at how abundantly he lived his life, never having somewhere to lay his head, never knowing where he was going to sleep and eat, no security or plans and yet everyday he would seek his fathers face and ask for instructions for the day and he never went without. I mean yes, Jesus is the creator of all the universe, he could do whatever he wanted but he didn’t. Scripture tells us that he only did what His father told him to do, said what he told him to say and was unashamedly who he was born to be, made in the very image of his father, reflecting the heart of his family and reached out to the scoundrels of society. Jesus was carried by the wind, the very breath and voice of His father and so must we.
Jesus was an adventurer, he was bold and courageous, he was compassionate and heartfelt, he was angry and hot headed, he was perfect and yet he was so controversial. We all have this impression of Jesus like he was beautiful, long curly brown hair and piercing blue eyes, a little skinny poor man from a ‘no good town’ called Nazareth who was misunderstood and died as a result of that. But In reality, I think Jesus was the complete opposite. For a start, He was a carpenter so was a hard working labourer so would have been well built. He travelled a lot, He hiked up mountains and he walked to Jerusalem from all over the country so he would have been very athletic. He was from Israel so most likely would have had brown eyes and tanned skin. In fact, scripture actually tells us that he was not ‘comely’ indicating that he was completely average looking, maybe even less than average! He was a nomad, an intentional nomad who had no where to call his own. He would probably have been smelly, had dirty feet and his clothes probably needed washed! He wasn’t a people pleaser, we know that he was adaptable to all types of people without compromising himself and who he was. To the churchy people, he was a disgrace! But did he shy away from ruffling their tail feathers? No, in fact, I think he deliberately pushed their buttons to edge them out of their traditions and their values to get them to see behind the beautiful facade of holiness and out into the vast need in the grit and gore in their community. I have lived a messy life, one with lots of sin, shame and many, many mistakes. Most people would’ve shied away from helping me had they truly seen the things I kept hidden in my heart.
But Jesus knew me, he seen me, and he came right down and met me where I was and helped me pick out the grit in my wounds of my mistakes and gave me the right antiseptic to heal them.
I have been really challenged this week, partially because I’m travelling on my own and am out of my comfort zone, and because most days I didn’t actually have a plan or somewhere to stay and was praying for direction. But you know something, sitting here and reflecting upon the absolute adventure of it all, it kind of makes me think this is what it would’ve been like following Jesus as his disciple, and it has taught me so much! Granted I have a car and have drove 1100 miles now since I left home last Friday and haven’t had to walk everywhere! But I have seen more of Jesus in my lack of coordination and planning than I have in my personal life in months. He has been in every sunrise, every breeze, in the brokenness of a stranger and in the compassion of the people I have grown to love, in every smile, every tear, every bird singing at way too early o clock in the morning and every new encounter and experience. I see him everywhere and although I am completely out of my comfort zone, somehow I feel like I’m home because I feel him all around me.
I think Jesus was a rugged, gritty, unconventional adventurer and he led his disciples to live the same kind of life. He is still beckoning and calling us to do the same if we are brave enough to let him! I’m still not sure if I’m ready, but I’ll give it a go and see where He leads me!