We need to understand that Jesus is a thinker, that this is not a dirty word but an essential work, and that his other attributes do not preclude thought, but only ensure that he is certainly the greatest thinker of the human race: "the most intelligent person who ever lived on earth"
Jesus offers himself as God's doorway into the life that is truly life. Confidence in him leads us today, as in other times, to become his apprentices in eternal living. "Those who come though me will be safe," he said. "They will go in and out and find all they need. I have come into their world that they may have life, and life to the fullest.
Dallas Willard warns us too of the "cost of non-discipleship." We may be able to live with some pain, but when our whole self becomes more and more rotten, the cost is far greater than dealing with the problem as soon as possible. This is why I think following Jesus, though challenging, is much easier than following anything else. The world has nothing better to offer me. Jesus has come to right my wrongs and to make me refreshingly new.
No one need worry about our getting the best of God in some bargain with him, or that we might somehow succeed in using him for our purposes. Anyone who thinks this is a problem has seriously underestimated the intelligence and agility of our Father in the heavens. He will not be tricked or cheated.
The greatest issue facing the world today, with all its heartbreaking needs, is whether those who, by profession or culture, are identified as ‘Christians’ will become disciples – students, apprentices, practitioners – of Jesus Christ, steadily learning from him how to live the life of the Kingdom of the Heavens into every corner of human existence.
A disciple is a learner, a student, an apprentice – a practitioner… Disciples of Jesus are people who do not just profess certain views as their own but apply their growing understanding of life in the Kingdom of the Heavens to every aspect of their life on earth.
The greatest need you and I have-the greatest need of collective humanity-is renovation of our heart. That spiritual place with in us from which outlook, choices, and actions come has been formed by a world away from God. Now it must be transformed. Indeed, the only hope of humanity lies in the fact that, as our spiritual dimension has been formed, so it also can be transformed.
The core of the person is what he or she loves, and that is bound up with what they worship - that insight recalibrates the radar for cultural analysis. The rituals and practices that form our loves spill out well beyond the sanctuary. Many secular liturgies are trying to get us to love some other kingdom and some other gods.
The basic question 'will I obey Christ 's teaching?' is rarely taken as a serious issue. For example, to take one of Jesus' commands, that is relevant to contemporary life, I don't know of any church that actually teaches a church how to bless people who curse them, yet this is a clear command.
We must understand that God does not "love" us without liking us - through gritted teeth - as "Christian" love is sometimes thought to do. Rather, out of the eternal freshness of his perpetually self-renewed being, the heavenly Father cherishes the earth and each human being upon it. The fondness, the endearment, the unstintingly affectionate regard of God toward all his creatures is the natural outflow of what he is to the core - which we vainly try to capture with our tired but indispensable old word "love".
My central claim is that we become like Christ by doing one thing-by following Him in the overall style of life He chose for Himself. If we have faith in Christ, we must believe that He knew how to live. We can, through faith and grace, become like Christ by practicing the types of activities He engaged in, by arranging our whole lives around the activities He Himself practiced in order to remain constantly at home in the fellowship of the Father.