The greatest compliment paid to the apostles was that they were recognized as “men who had been with Jesus”. They were just ordinary laymen with no formal education or training in Scripture, and yet, they lived with such boldness and authority. They preached the Good News, performed many miracles and changed the world for God.
How do we become like them, like men who have been with Jesus?
Encounter God instead of pursuing spiritual growth.
Jesus did not come to show us how to live a godly life. Instead, He came to reveal the Father, and how through Him we too can know the Father. Likewise, the Bible is not an instruction manual or a rule book for good and godly living. And yet we have somehow made it so, such that people who try to live up to the standards of Jesus or the Bible without encountering God in their lives ended up being intimidated with the many rules, or weary from having broken so many rules.
Instead, the Bible is the voice of God communicating with us to show us who He is. That God is patient, always kind and loving, full of grace and truth, not wanting anyone to perish but for everyone to repent. Jesus lived out this intimate relationship with the Father, and He invites others into that same relationship. And so ‘men who have been with Jesus’ focus on knowing the Father, experiencing His goodness and majesty. They focus on the relationship instead of the rules.
The closer you are to the Father, the more like Jesus you become. And the natural by-product is spiritual growth and maturity.
Reflect on This and Take This to Heart:
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)