Learn from the best

Don’t be lured away from him by the latest speculations about him. The grace of Christ is the only good ground for life. Products named after Christ don’t seem to do much for those who buy them. (Hebrews 13:9)

I like the imagery of this passage - "Products named after Christ don't seem to do much for those who buy them." It might speak to each of us about some of the "products named after Christ" we might have bought into over the years. For example, have any of us have been duped into believing something from scripture just because someone else told us it was in scripture? Perhaps we think the adage "God helps those who help themselves" is from scripture - a direct quote of sorts. Have you ever been told this by a well-meaning brother or sister in the Lord? Well, the adage is attributable to Ben Franklin, or even apparent in Aesop's Fables - but not God! Does that one shock you? We find ourselves buying into many "products named after Christ" without really testing them to see if they are indeed the "real deal". The Bereans were given kudos for taking what they were taught, then going home, studying these things over and over again against scripture to see if the teachings were in alignment with scripture. This is something which might just help us not buy into products "about" Christ and draw us nearer to learning directly "from" him!

There is a vast difference between learning "about" someone and learning directly "from" that person. When we learn "about" someone, we are learning things that are closely associated with that individual, but we are not necessarily learning what makes that person "tick" - how they think or move. When we get to learn "from" them, we get to know the original and nothing is quite the same -anything less doesn't quite reach the same level of experience. As it comes to our relationship with Christ, there is a danger of never drawing close enough to recognize the real thing when we see it. As long as we are just learning about Christ from someone else, we get familiar with some of the nuances of his character as they know them, but we don't sense the action of that character within us. When we are learning from Christ, it is most often because we have leaned into him ourselves, heard the beat of his heart, and drawn strength from that nearness. To know about him doesn't help us spot the imitation when it comes, but when we know him ourselves, we can differentiate more accurately between what is "genuine" and what is the cleverly designed "imitation".

Knowing about him opens us up to being lured away by the latest speculations and 'half-truths'. We have to live "in" grace - not just appreciate that grace exists. We have to live "in" Christ - not just appreciate him as a good man, a great teacher, or as a means for us to get into heaven. We need a close, intimate relationship with him in order to learn from him - otherwise we are just learning about him. I have good friends and then I have my best friend. What she knows about me that some of the others don't might not seem significant at first, but the closeness we have developed allows her to tune into my moods, know when I need to talk, and then know when we just need to be quiet together while we enjoy just hanging out. We have learned from each other - not just about each other. We have developed a level of relational intimacy which allows us to understand more than the superficial stuff about each other.

If we can begin to see the value of daily drawing close to Jesus, allowing his Word to penetrate our lives, even if we don't get every little thing we read each time we read it, we will begin to develop the protections we need that keep us from buying into "products named after Christ". In time, the more we expose ourselves to truth, the more truth begins to penetrate the recesses of our minds and thoughts. When we hear or see something that might seem to appeal to our senses, we will be met with the inward warning of that thing just not being truly correct. All falsehood bears some semblance of truth, or we'd never be drawn into believing the falsehood. We learn fully of God's grace in the person of his Son, Jesus Christ. We learn of the actions of grace in his life actions - those things he modeled on our behalf. We learn the generosity of grace when we begin to see the sacrifice grace made on our behalf in the person of Christ. We learn "from" Christ - not just about him - building safety into our lives. To keep from being lured into stuff that merely proclaims to be a product which carries the name of Christianity, we have to learn from the one who Christianity is all about! Jesus! Just sayin!


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