Worthy to Imitate: the rest of the story.

This morning I spoke at my church on becoming a person worthy to imitate.  I referenced an article written about one of my grandfathers after his death in 1992.  Below is the entire article.  I think you will see his humility, intimacy, integrity, and hopefulness. 

He was worthy to imitate.

PRINCE
By Jim Hamlin, June 1992

I can’t quite remember when I first met him but I do recall my first impressions. Immediately, I was impressed by his hulking frame, the strength of his handshake and how he looked me right in the eye and called me “brother”. I found myself mesmerized by his deep resounding voice and by the way he said “Jesus.” The warmth of his smile and the tenderness with which he spoke betrayed a “gentle giant” within.

The longer I knew him and the more intimate our relationship became, the more I was convinced that he was a prince in an ordinary man’s clothes. He had a heart undivided in its allegiance to God. The passion of his life was to know Christ and to enable others to know him. If you had cut him, he would have bled the Word of God. He was saturated with the Scriptures. His character was impeccable, his conduct was without criticism. An unassuming nature and genuine humility graced his life.

In the days of ancient Rome, shoddy building contractors would hide a flaw in the column by smoothing it over with wax. Honest builders developed an industry seal “sine (without) caries (flaw). It’s the term from which we get our word “sincerely”. Literally it means, “without wax.” Brother Richard Hunt was truly a “man without wax,” sincere in all his ways.

The cancer that finally took his life also opened the inner sanctum of his soul to me. God cannot trust everyone with the intensity of suffering He allowed to touch Brother Richard. Though we could not give logical human reasons for the “whys”, we both understood that through the suffering, God was working in his life. Though the outer man was passing away, his inner man was becoming stronger with each passing day.

Brother Richard was possessed with Christian assurance…assurance that did not fail him last Thursday. He was transported from this life into the place His Lord had prepared for him. Upon his death, we might well remember the words of Horatio from Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”: “Good night, sweet prince, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.” But more importantly, these words: “well done, good and faithful servant of mine; you have been faithful over a few things, I will now make you ruler over many things: enter into the joy of your Lord.”

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Your Spiritual Life is not about “The List”

I often get asked questions like:

“What should I do to get back on track spiritually?”

“What can you recommend for me to grow in my relationship with God?”

More times than not they are looking for the “silver bullet” book to read, or formula that will make them consistent in spiritual disciplines such as Bible reading, prayer, fasting, Scripture memory, etc. Or they are looking for “the list” of things, that if they do them a certain number of times every week then they are guaranteed to live in a perpetual state of intimate communion with God.

It would be really nice if there were a list like that.

But, when we try to operate from “the list” we get off track from living in grace and end up living in legalism which results in frustration. We see this list of things we are supposed to do and we build an expectation of how well we are supposed be at doing them. We live up to that for a couple of weeks, then life happens, we fall short, get behind, get lazy, and then we feel guilty because we don’t think we are good enough. And we all have the same thought, I just can’t be consistent enough….Someone tells you “do better” and now “the list” has become a burden and a performance.

So if not “the list”, then what?

Is the “the list” bad? No. Everything on the list is really good and important.

Start Here. Humble Surrender.

Everything on the list makes sense ONLY when we begin with the constant pursuit of surrender.

One of my favorite authors said this,

“Until a humility which will rest in nothing less than the end and death of self; which gives up all the honor of men as Jesus did, to seek the honor that comes from God alone; which absolutely makes and counts itself nothing, that the Lord alone may be exalted, until such a humility be what we seek in Christ above our chief joy, and welcome at any price, there is very little hope of a religion that will conquer the world.”
Andrew Murray, Humility

We are called to to change the world and it takes people who focus first on humble surrender not “the list”.

This is seen all through the life of Jesus.

John 5:19, “The Son can do nothing of himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing.”
John 5:30, “I can do nothing on my own initiative. As I HEAR, I judge…I do not seek my own will but the will of Him who sent me.
John 6:38, “For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of Him who sent me…
John 15:5, “You can do nothing without me.”

Jesus never mentioned “the list”. He model dependence and surrender.

He did tell us to pray “Father Hallowed be Your Name. Your Kingdom come. Your will be done.” Everything in that prayer communicates surrender.

Here is my challenge to you.

Embrace the practice of daily surrender in the prayer, “I can do nothing without You. Help me know You and follow You. Do in me whatever You desire.” Let that be the springboard for your walk with God.