sticking close to jesus
The Upward Look, by Jon Forrest
Sticking Close to Jesus
When I was about to graduate from Dallas Christian College (39 ½ years ago) with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Pastoral Ministry, I received a notice that it was my turn to appear before an Academic Committee for the dreaded “Senior Interview.” I entered the room and a committee of 3 professors and the Academic Dean were seated before me. Dr. Ronald Rife led professors, Dr. Mark Berrier (Biblical Languages and Bible), Dr. Bruce Smith (Communications and Homiletics) and Dr. Cara Snyder (English & Literature) in a series of questions concerning my educational experience with the college. Following those questions, Dr. Rife began to ask me a series of doctrinal questions. He would ask one question and I would give my best answer. The next question would be based on my answer and would often be challenging what I had just said. When I responded he would counter. It was back and forth for about 15 to twenty minutes but seemed like hours. Dr. Rife said, “This if fun. I could just keep going.” To which I replied, “I’m glad it’s fun for you.” And he laughed.
A few years later, Dr. Mark Berrier told me, “I remember your senior interview.” I was stunned that out of the many he had done over the years he would remember mine. I asked him why he would remember. He said, “I remember Rife quizzing you about doctrine. Every time he asked you a question, I would think about what I would say and then you would say what I would have said.”
I looked at my friend and said, “Scary, ain’t it?” But to me it wasn’t that surprising. Dr. Berrier was my favorite professor in college and I took every class he offered that my degree program would allow. Not only that, but most Saturdays, Mark would hold court, sharing back and forth theological discussions for at least a couple of hours, at a local restaurant for breakfast and I attended most of them. During my 5 years of attending DCC I had absorbed a great deal of his theology and philosophy of study. It is no wonder that many of my answers were the ones he would have given.
More important, and longer term than my connection to any professor is my relationship to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I have walked with him and been taught by him since I was 6 years old. There have been times over those years where I have wandered from him, but he always welcomed me back. During that time, he has attempted to pour himself into me through the avenue of the Holy Spirit. In this process he has continued his work of making me more like him. Because I have not always been as attentive as I should be, I have not become fully like him, but progress has been made. Many of you can relate to this while some who have not surrendered their lives to Christ may be confused by it.
John told us in 1 John 2:5-6 “But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him; Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.” (NIV)
The goal of every Christ follower should not only be to be more like Jesus, but it first must be to live in Jesus. The closer we walk to him, the more we absorb his life and teaching.
The more we absorb him, the more we will become like him.
This Sunday at FCC of Clovis we will continue our series THE JESUS DIFFERENCE (Lessons from 1 John) with message titled “How Do You Know?” based on 1 John 2:3-11. We will look at ways we can know that we are in Christ and that we know him. I hope you will come and see what God has to say to your life. I look forward to seeing you there and so does Jesus.
Sticking close to him with you,