the Church on the Hill
by D. Eric Williams
Pastor, Cottonwood Community Church
In addition to being a cop my oldest son is also an accomplished metalworker. He has the tools and the know how of the machinist along with the artistic ability of a custom knife maker. The other day he was working on a project while his youngest brother observed. Later, I asked the younger son if he enjoyed the day spent with his brother. He answered in the affirmative and told me that he learned a lot just by watching a skilled craftsman at work.
So it is with all of life. Book learning is of little value unless it is coupled careful observation of a master craftsman to give it context. We need to see theory applied in a practical way in order to fully understand it. For instance, surgeons who spend years in the classroom spend as much time or more simply observing experienced doctors before they wield a scalpel in an operating room.
Why then do we fail to recognize the importance of observation in the Christian walk? If we want to learn to be Christlike we should study the Bible - and observe the godly lifestyle of other Christians. Then, as we are conformed to the image of Jesus, we can act as examples to others so they might observe our lifestyle and grow in Christ likeness as well. As the apostle Paul, instructed Timothy, Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity (1 Timothy 4:12). Paul was one who practiced what he preached, so he was able to say, Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1), Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern (Philippians 3:17) and to the church in Thessalonica, you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe (1 Thessalonians 1:6-7). Thus the regular pattern should be greater Christ likeness through observing and imitating so that others might observe and imitate us in turn.
In this season of the year when we commemorate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ we should take care to imitate our Lord in his death and resurrection. In the first place we are to be crucified with Christ so that it is no longer we who live, but Christ lives in [us] and the life which [we] now live in the flesh [we are to] live by faith in the Son of God, who loved [us] and gave Himself for [us] (Galatians 2:20). Thus if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection (Romans 6:5), so that we may know Him and the power of His resurrection (Philippians 3:10). In Christ the old man has been done away with and the new man lives in a realm of heavenly power. Just as Heaven burst forth into this realm with the resurrection of Jesus we are to bring the attitude and actions of heaven into this realm as we live in the resurrection power of Christ.
This isn't a call to engage in charismatic chaos but to live the simple lifestyle of long-term obedience to God's word, manifesting the kingdom way in our lives and arena of activity. This is how resurrection power is made evident to the world. This is how the world receives proof that Christ rose on the third day. This is how the majesty of Easter morning takes shape every day of the year.