Like Jesus Or Jesus Like?

                               By Phil Scovell

               It was money again.  To be more specific, it was the lack of
          money again.   I sighed heavily as I  considered the bills we had
          to pay; knowing the  money wasn't going to reach.   I didn't like
          the feeling I had but  identifying that exact feeling wasn't easy
          to recognize.  Turning to the Lord, I said, "Lord?   This doesn't
          feel right.  Where is this  coming from?"  He immediately flashed
          a memory image into my mind.   Getting up from my office  desk, I
          walked  into the  other half  of  my office  and sat  down  in my
          rocking chair and continued praying.

               I  recalled the event  quite well.   My dad had  died a year
          earlier  unexpectedly  and I  had  lost all  of my  sight  in six
          months.  Now  we were moving from  Des Moines, Iowa, where  I was
          born  and raised and  had all of  my friends, to  Omaha, Nebraska
          where I  knew no one.  I  had been to this memory  in my thoughts
          perhaps hundreds of times  over the years but never saw, or felt,
          anything that was out of place.  I saw myself seated at the table
          with all my friends.   These were my church friends  and they had
          collected enough money to purchase  me a small portable open reel
          tape recorder.

               Admittedly, something  always  felt slightly  wrong  in  the
          memory but I never could locate it.  "Lord?" I complained.  "This
          memory has nothing to do with money.  What are we doing here?"

               "How did you feel?" I heard in my thoughts.

               I looked at the memory again and focused on myself seated at
          the  table.  I  was sad.   Sad  because I was  leaving all  of my
          friends but  there was  something else.   It  had to  do with  my
          blindness but  what  was  it?   I  couldn't seem  to  locate  the

               Suddenly, it was there.   I felt as if the Lord  were in the
          memory with  me and I  turned to my right  where He seemed  to be
          standing and said, "Lord, I'm not like these people any more."

               I expected a sympathetic response  from the Lord.  Something
          I had heard many  times before as I prayed  with others.  "I  was
          with you," he might say, or,  "I'm your friend now," or, "I  love
          you."  Instead,  to my total  amazement, when I said,  "Lord, I'm
          not like  these people  any more,"  He immediately said,  "That's
          because you  are like me  now."  You  could have knocked  me over
          with a feather.   I wanted to say, "Me?  You mean,  me?  I'm like
          you  now?"   I  couldn't  think of  anything to  say  because the
          impression   of  the   Words  heard   in  my  thoughts   were  so
          authoritative, I knew what Jesus had said was true.

               This  whole  thing  started  out  with  money,  or the  lack
          thereof, and ended up with  Jesus saying, "That's because you are
          like me now."  What's that have to do with money?  Stop and think
          about it.  Hidden in my woundedness of forty years past was a lie
          which  told me  that I  wasn't good  enough and  wasn't deserving
          enough.  Now, here is the Lord God Himself telling me I was  like
          Him now.

               This  forces  a boat  load of  questions immediately  to the
          surface like  a broaching whale.   Does Jesus have  any financial
          needs which He cannot handle?  Has money ever been a  problem for
          Him?  Does He  pay his bills late?   Does he hardly make  it from
          paycheck  to paycheck?"    Of  course, the  answer  to all  these
          questions, and many others, was obvious.  The connection was made
          through  His statement  to me,  "That's because  you are  like me
          now."  Yes, I was aware  of all the theology and doctrine  behind
          that powerful statement but this was not a Sunday school class, a
          church  service, or  a Bible  seminary  professor explaining  the
          meaning of Scripture.  This was Jesus The Christ,  The Creator of
          the universe, telling me, of all people, that I was like  Him now
          and not  only that, He told me in a memory that was over 40 years
          old.  So what did He mean,  someone may ask.  Perhaps it would be
          easier, if we  were going to attempt an explanation,  just to say
          what  He didn't mean.   Frankly,  I don't  plan on  doing either.
          I'll leave it up  to you as what you  think it means.  I'll  give
          you a little hint, however.  The answer is bigger than anyone can
          imagine, envisage, or even fathom.

               The bottom line is this, Jesus said,  "You are like me now."
          He did not  say, "Be like me now," followed with a list of things
          we should, and should  not, do in order  to remain like Him.   In
          other words, we are not  like Jesus because we are  imitators; we
          are like Him  because we are  His children.   One of the  biggest
          problems, in my opinion, concerning the church today, is the idea
          that  we  somehow  are  supposed   to  spiritually  grow  up  and
          spiritually mature  so that nothing, absolutely  nothing, effects
          us any  more.  It is a balancing act.  We walk the high wire, far
          above the rest of the world, perfectly balanced, in order that we
          won't fall  to either side.   If  you are thinking,  "That sounds
          dangerous,"  you would  be right.    If you  are thinking,  "This
          sounds like a lot  of work to  me," you would be  right.  If  you
          have to do anything to  maintain your relationship with the Lord,
          you are  performing.  Performance driven Christianity is what you
          can do  for the Lord.  Maintenance free  victory is what the Lord
          has done and is doing for you  without any effort on your behalf.
          In short, and to the  contrary thinking and teaching of most,  it
          isn't what  we can do for Christ that  counts; it's what we allow
          Him to do for us that makes the difference.

               Of  course,  about  this point,  someone  says,  "What about
          church  membership,   tithing,  reading   my  Bible,   memorizing
          Scripture,  winning the  lost to  Christ,  preaching the  Gospel,
          supporting missionaries,  pastoring, speaking in  tongues, laying
          hands on the  sick, and raising the  dead?"  We could  easily add
          about another 20,000  things to this list.   Again, I'm repeating
          myself now,  these are all things we do  for the Lord.  Somebody,
          somewhere, and somehow  taught us that these things  make us more
          theologically acceptable, doctrinally  sound, draws us  closer to
          God, and somehow makes us literally grow spiritually.

               Before you get your  tail in a permanent irreversible  knot,
          let me quickly point out that there is nothing wrong with  any of
          the things  I mentioned.   It  is why  we  do them  that makes  a
          difference.   When I ask  this next question, don't  answer right
          away  but think about it first.  Think  about it for an hour or a
          day or a month but don't answer  the question the moment you read
          it.  Stop right here.   Don't read further.   Clear your mind  of
          any preconceived answer.  Do  not allow yourself to anticipate my
          question.  Then, when ready, continue reading.

               Are you doing things for God because you think they make Him
          feel better about  you or do  you do the  things for Him  because
          they make you feel better about yourself?

               So which  is it going  to be for  you?  Like Jesus  or Jesus

               This question either has a simple answer or it will create a
          multitude of other questions.  If you don't know the answer, call
          me.  It will  be time for the  Lord to begin His healing  work in
          your life.

          Safe Place Fellowship
          Phil Scovell
          Denver, Colorado  USA
          Mountain Time Zone

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