The Beautiful Fight

Sep 17th 2008

I’ve been thinking this morning… Why is it so hard to become like Jesus?  Actually it’s a thot that has come to me in many different ways during the course of this sabbatasizing process.  It’s a thot that could also come under similar headings like… Why is it so hard to change?  or… Crud, why did I do that again?  or… Shoot where did that attitude come from?

This question came to my mind again as I sat for two hours around the dinner table talking to a group of Estonian pastors about the process of transformation in our lives and the lives of people in our congregations.  Our discussion ranged from homosexuality to greed to marriage and family issues to conflict.  But shaping the whole conversation — at least for me — was this question… Why is it so hard to become like Jesus?

Maybe that isn’t your experience…maybe the day you became a Christ-follower…the transformation of your soul was handed to you with a nice bow.  But I gather that for most of us, this was not the case.  On the other hand, my deep, deep heart conviction is that the Jesus-transformation of my soul is possible.  So what makes it difficult?

The next few days I’ll share a few possible reasons…here is the first one.

1)  In a consumer-culture our minds have been conditioned for quick and easy.  We buy products fashioned for quick and easy consumption. Nobody milks cows and  then churns butter, we just to to the store and buy butter.  Go to Barnes and Noble and you realize that authors know that change sells…rows upon rows of self-help/change/personal growth books.  But how many books have titles like “5 Almost Impossible Steps to Becoming a Better Person” or “The Painfully Hard Journey to a Happiness.” or how about “Better Relationships:  If it was Simple Everyone Would Do It.” Then count the books that use words like quick or easy.

But following Jesus — becoming like Jesus — is a hard journey, Gary Thomas calls it The Beautiful Fight. It is not a consumer oriented experience.  It may be a spiritual battle.  It may be like training for the marathon.  It may even be like art — in my case more like sculpting granite, than painting watercolors — but it is not a consumer oriented experience.

If we want to become more like Jesus, we have to want it bad enough to battle for it, train for it, and chisel away for years on end, because of what we see inside.  When it comes to becoming like Jesus, I just wonder if we/I want it bad enough?