Tag Archives: Buy-in

Becoming “A Little Christ…”

     I agree wholeheartedly with this quote from Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis.

     But, what’s a “little Christ?” It’s a question with which I wrestle.

     I’ve concluded it’s that person who desires to emulate the character of Jesus. Kind of like the little boy or girl who mimics his or her daddy’s or mommy’s mannerisms. Our discovery guide will in great part be the four Gospels, which documents how Jesus spent his time and related to others during three short years of earthly ministry.

     A couple posts back, I told you about my A – B – C’s of Repentance.

     A is Awareness. I cannot change that of which I’m not even aware.

     B is Buy-In. Someone can tell me what I “should” do to be Christlike. They may be sincere, even accurate. While it’s wise to listen to the counsel of others, until I feel convinced in my spirit, change directed by others may result in behavior modification rather than soul transformation.

     C is Commitment to Change, perhaps even courage to change, since following examples of Jesus can indeed feel daunting, and most assuredly, counter culture.

     Several years ago, during my early-morning devotional time, seemingly out of the blue, a little song I hadn’t heard for many years came forcefully to mind.

To Be Like Jesus[1]

To be like Jesus;
To be like Jesus;
All I want is to be like Him.
All through life’s journey,
From earth to Glory;
All I want is to be like Him.

     Imagination is one way in which Awareness may occur, and those simple words grabbed hold of my imagination that morning.

     To be like Jesus—now, what would that look like in my life. After a few minutes pondering, the characteristic of Jesus I landed on was graciousness. Several stories illustrating gracious actions surfaced.

     My Buy-in occurred in the form of a prayer: Lord, help me show the graciousness of Jesus today.

     A few hours later, I found a letter in the mailbox. I didn’t recognize the name in the return address, but since it was clearly addressed to me, I opened it immediately. The letter was a scathing rebuke from a woman who’d attended an event I’d coordinated. Clearly unhappy with something that occurred, this woman spewed several sentences of vicious insults.

     Wow! I don’t usually get such a quick answer to my prayers!

     I’d reached a decision crossroad, and knew it was up to me to make a Commitment to Change.

     Would I react to this woman’s criticism in my typical, defensive way? or

Would I respond with the graciousness of Jesus?

     As I considered the situation, one of my first thoughts was the way Jesus looked beyond a behavior into a person’s soul. Instead of condemnation, Jesus responded frequently with compassion.

     I felt convinced Jesus wanted me to practice graciousness with this woman in the same way. I committed to do just that and felt sincere compassion for the pain that drove her pen to write such nasty words. I was able to pray for this stranger who had disparaged me—not through clenched teeth—but with a kind heart.

     I wrote a return letter, apologizing where that seemed appropriate and offering to make possible amends. I avoided excuses, blaming or sarcasm, choosing instead gentle words.

     I never heard back from her and can only hope the woman felt the love of Jesus motivating my response.

     I hope my example today will encourage you as together we grapple with the concept of becoming, as C. S. Lewis says, “a little Christ.” If each of us made one small turn away from our usual self-motivated behavior and one small turn toward Christlike action, I can only imagine the power those ‘turnings’ might bring.

Blessings on your journey…

Sue Reeve

  1. To listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-nj1XJ4TbM

A – B – C’s of Repentance…

     In my last post (January 24th), Repentance – Change by Turning, I discussed my Spiritual Director’s simple, but profound, explanation of repentance. She described repentance, for the Christ follower, as a series of small changes in which we ‘turn from…’ in order to ‘turn toward….’

     I also told you I know my soul has changed in significant ways during the past five decades. I realize some changes occurred naturally because of the perspective age and maturity brings, but many of my soul’s changes are the result of repentance.

     Today, I’d like to give you personal insights related to my experience with repentance, beginning with what I call Sue’s A-B-C’s of Repentance:

                                             Awareness

                                             Buy-in

                                             Commitment to Change

     Years ago, I was introduced to a concept that helped me understand how people change. In the Proshaska and Di Clemente Process of Change Model[1], the first stage of change is ‘pre-contemplative.’ In other words, I cannot change something of which I’m unaware. Awareness is essential if I’m to work on

     changing an unbeneficial behavior,

          ‘turning away from’ thinking that isn’t God honoring, or

               altering an attitude or activity that isn’t Christlike.

     Next, is Buy-In. Although I’m not particularly rebellious, I don’t respond well to authoritarianism and don’t learn well when told what I “must” do or “should” believe. Especially in matters of the soul, I think deeply about ideas and concepts presented. I learn best and become ‘willing to be willing’ through a process of discovery—or Buy-in.

     Finally, when I feel a certain spiritual teaching or practice does not violate what I believe are Christian bottom-lines[2], and when a teaching or practice resonates in my spirit, then I’m ready to Commit to Change.

     Since I believe this is such an important concept, I will continue the discussion in my next blogs and will give you examples of areas of personal repentance. If what I’ve written in the last two posts resonates with you, I think you’ll benefit from some real-life experiences.

Wherever you are in your faith journey, my prayer is that you will consider an area in your own life where God may be inviting you to ‘turn from…’ in order to ‘turn toward’ divine faith, hope and love.

Sue Reeve

 

  1. http://sphweb.bumc.bu.edu/otlt/MPH-Modules/SB/BehavioralChangeTheories/BehavioralChangeTheories6.
  2. “Christian bottom-lines” for me can be found in Christian creeds such as Apostles Creed https://www.ccel.org/creeds/apostles.creed; or Nicene Creed https://www.ccel.org/creeds/nicene.creed.