Opportunity to become like Him
Romans 8:29, Hebrews 5:7-10
For those whom He foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son…In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him.
Have you ever wanted to be like someone else? Most of us have at one time or another. In sports, I wanted to be John Havlicek of the NBA World Champion Boston Celtics (1960’s). Intellectually, I wanted to be like C.S.Lewis; in Biblical observation and understanding like Zane Hodges; in preaching, like Haddon Robinson; in spiritual passion like my beloved home-church pastor Forrest Williams. HawkishIy I would watch them, read them, follow them, wonder about what made each of them tick.
As my dreams merged into the lanes of real life, I realized none of them became what they were without the rigors of hard work, and repeatedly overcoming obstacles. Mature excellence does not arrive overnight. “10% inspiration, 90% perspiration.” As Malcolm Gladwell noted in Outliers, it takes 10,000 hours for anyone to become really good at anything.
So, our becoming like Jesus in our thinking, in our obeying, and in our chosen impact on others takes time. But more than endless minutes. It also requires suffering hardship when obeying demands a personal price. Even God the Son as the Son of Man learned (the verb “man-thano” means to “increase in understanding”) obedience; that is, Jesus experienced what it was like as a limited human being to obey His Father when it was difficult. His prayer life was full of cries, urgent requests accompanied by tears as he faced the price tag of submission to God.
Hebrews reveals an astounding truth. Even the perfect Son of God became the mature Son of Man through, though suffering, persistent obeying. Our pathway to Christlike maturation is obeying time and time again, especially when it is tough.