“We come to Christ to be changed, not to attempt to change him.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – March 11, 2023
Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God. 3 John 1:11, NKJV
In the writing of the New Testament, especially in the words of Saints Paul and John, imitation is a key part of the life of faithful discipleship. Like a child that imitates its parents and therefore learns to walk and talk, we too are meant to look for wise guides that are worthy of our imitation. In fact, as 3 John reminds us, the question isn’t whether or not we will imitate, but what we will imitate: evil or good?
This question has been at the heart of Christian faith and living for centuries, yet in our modern age an additional question must be added, and increasingly I feel it is one of the most significant questions we can ask: what is good?
With ever-increasing speed, our world is rapidly redefining the very nature of virtue and goodness, upending centuries of shared Christian witness across language and culture. Now everything, it seems, is up for debate, and as is often the case, the more ancient something is, the more people perceive a need to “free” our modern world from the trappings of our “primitive” past.
Simply put, it is harder than ever before to clearly see that which is evil and that which is good.
Because of this, we must be a people who root ourselves in the world as Christ describes it. He alone is our final definition of what is good, and so to imitate good is nothing less than to imitate Christ. We imitate him as he is, not as we imagine or re-imagine him to be. We come to Christ to be changed, not to attempt to change him, unimaginable and impossible as that may be.
Do not assume you know the ways of Christ simply because you grew up in and around Christianity or in a “Christian country.” The goodness of God in Jesus is not something we stumble into by accident but is rooted in a life of total devotion, and a longing to not simply do what is right or stick to the rules, but as John reminds us today, to “see God.”
And so, let us imitate good, not born out of moralism or rigid devotion, but out of the unshakable belief that our purpose as humans is to encounter and know the living God, and as we do, we are evermore changed into his likeness.
“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him” (Psalm 34:8, ESV)!
Father, give us the clarity of sight to know that which is truly good, and the courage to follow as you lead, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Who do you most closely imitate? Reflect honestly and openly on this question today.
Matthew 5:15-16; Galatians 6:10; Ephesians 4:29
TRIBL & Maverick City Music: Goodness of God
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