Another Imitation of Christ

Ephesians 5:1,2 “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.”

Born in 1380 and died in 1471, Thomas a’ Kempis wrote the book ‘The Imitation of Christ’ which later became one of the foremost devotionals of christian living.

This late 14th century german believer who copied the Bible at least 4 times over, attended latin school in the Netherlands then later became affiliated with a pietest religious community called the Brethren of the Common life. Eventually becoming prior of the Monastery of St. Agnes, Thomas became a man deeply affected by the transforming power of Christ.

When we look back and see men and women who lived out their lives in faithfulness and communion with the Savior, we see that they were not much different than we are today. The same God who transformed Thomas a’ Kempis is the same God transforming people today. The ways in which these christian fathers practiced their faith, drew near to God, and walked in righteousness, are the same principles we strive for in our lives now.

“Happy is he to whom truth manifests itself, not in signs and words that fade, but as it actually is.”

Thomas a’ Kempis

This blog is dedicated to understanding how the truth of God manifests itself in and through our lives. Truth is not meant to remain isolated nor is designed to be shelved in books long forgotten. When examining the revelation of truth we can find God at the center of it all. God does not sit idly by, watching the world turn and pondering our fate like ants in a colony, He is actively investing Himself into our reality on a daily basis.

Truth manifest in a believers life is God working out our salvation openly, as a testament to His goodness.

Ephesians 1:11 “In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will”

Theoretical Truth

A brief survey regarding philosophical discussions on truth can leave your head spinning. From Aristotle to Descartes the avenues by which a seeker may travel are as numerous as a city grid. Along the way, one may find the questions lead to further questions, and so on and so forth. By the time a student of philosophy has surveyed all possibilities, he is left with the conclusion of what to believe. Has God proven Himself? Does the universe reveal His nature? Is God necessary?

From a christian perspective, at the foundation of all these questions lies the premise that God exists and that He is the One who has established truth. Jesus addressed this very early in His teachings:

John 14:6  "Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."

Jesus removed the question of truth being an entity separate from God that might need to be rectified, into a unifying reality of Truth in who He is and was.

Truth in theory is often related to the world, correspondence theory is one such avenue of discussion. Thomas a’ Kempis takes the idea that truth is not only relegated directly to the character of Christ but our responsibility is then to imitate Truth by imitating Him.

“O God, You who are the Truth, make me one with You in love everlasting. I am often wearied by the many things I hear and read, but in You is all that I long for. Let the learned be still, let all creatures be silent before You; do you alone speak to me.”

Thomas a’ Kempis

James 1:21 “Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.”

To follow in the footsteps of Thomas is to choose the noble path that all saints of God who preceded us took…..it is to become another imitator of Christ.

If you want to be on this path there is good news for you…the God of all Truth desires for you to be there as well! The expectation is not that you have to search the dusty halls of books or study in the centers of learning, the Lord hasn’t made the journey that difficult. For the pilgrim who desires to grow in understanding, he need only consider his hearts position to receive the truth made known.

The Reality of Truth

   John 10:9  "I am the gate. If anyone enters through Me, he will be saved. He will come in and go out and find pasture."

I could go into all that following Jesus entails but I would be as guilty of pulling you down a path as quickly as the philosopher who poses too many questions. All I can say for now is, begin with humility. For any path to succeed you have to be prepared for that journey, humility prepares your heart to receive the truth revealed.

Secondly, accept that Jesus is Lord of your life and let your belief become your reality. If you truly believe, you will truly follow. The Lord imparts His Spirit to those who seek Him with all their hearts, and it is by His Spirit that Truth is imparted.

Third, walk in obedience. As the Spirit leads it is imperative that you follow that lead. The acts of obedience are the continuation of a faith that began at salvation. It won’t be easy, nothing of value ever is, but if you trust the Lord with what He is doing, you will grow in the knowledge of Him.

Jesus’ disciples were not actively following Jesus when He approached them, they were at times interested in His teaching or enamored by the miracles that followed Him. It wasn’t until Jesus approached them did the opportunity present itself in the form of a command:

“The next day Jesus decided to set out for Galilee. Finding Philip, He told him, “Follow Me.” John 1:43

“As He was walking along, He saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth. “Follow Me,” He told him, and Levi got up and followed Him.” Mark 2:14

With each subsequent disciple, the command was presented…”follow me”, now the command goes out today:

Matthew 28:19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,”

You have been given this command. If your not a disciple now, you have been called to be a disciple, it’s up to you to respond.

If you are a disciple of Jesus, you are called to deliver this call to the world. Jesus has called all to be imitators of Him. He has promised to never leave us or forsake us as we follow Him. He has promised to empower us for the journey and protect us from evil.

The journey starts with a command, it follows with obedience. When you hear His voice, follow Him and all confusion of this world will melt away, everything will become clear. It is then that you will know the truth of imitating Christ and what follows is pure joy.

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