A Glimpse

Dec 31, 2007

I’m reading a book by Breannan Manning called A Glimpse of Jesus. It is really good if any of you are looking for new books for your reading lists. In the section I was reading today he wrote, “There is simply no sense in trumpeting the lordship of Jesus if his attitudes, values, and behavior are not recognizable in our lives” (28). He goes on to cite Matt. 20:26-28, Gal. 5:6, and John 13:14-15. Then he writes:

Having the humility and courage to serve is the way to true greatness…Love is service. There is no point in getting into an argument about this question of loving. It is what Christianity is all about—take it or leave it. Christianity is not about ritual and moral living except insofar as these two express the love that causes both of them. We must at least pray for the grace to become love.
The spell of self-hatred cast by moralism/legalism is broken when a Christian is no longer seduced by secular standards of human greatness and makes the glorious breakthrough into the lackey lifestyle of the Master, desiring to serve rather that be served…Servant-hood is not an emotion or mood or feeling; it’s a decision to live the life of Jesus. It has nothing to do with what we feel; it has everything to do with what we do—humble service (28-29, emp his).

So if what Manning says is true, what do we do with it? We’ve all heard numerous sermons telling us we need to be servants. We’ve been drilled with the need to love. To me, these types of sermons have always lead me to be more legalistic. Servant, Check. Love, check. And when I would slip up and fail, not if, when, then I would feel compelled to beat myself up because I had failed again. But these types of attitudes are just what Manning is writing against! I can’t love and be a servant in the way and with the heart I’m supposed to if it is a checklist. Until I get just how much God loves me; until I understand that there is no checklist; until I move myself out of the way till I just see Him; until I push aside all desire for worldly greatness, I will still be one of the Pharisees asking what more I need to do to be first. This is so

These ideas are so hard. How do we, I, get to this place? How do we come to this attitude change, this perspective shift, this new paradigm? How do his “attitudes, values, and behavior” become “recognizable in our lives?” It seems to be, as the title of his books suggests, getting a glimpse of Jesus. Not the Jesus on the felt boards in Sunday school, or the Jesus of your parents, or of the preacher, or of your church, but the one of the Bible. Moving past the different glasses we have seen him through, to just, as Mary, to sit at his feet and get a glimpse of Him.


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