That is to say, whatever is corrupt or harmful, or whatever prevents us from seeing reality clearly, or whatever keeps us in a state of alienation from God and ourselves, whatever leads to insensitivity or to a lack of compassion, or whatever keeps the vices of arrogance and deceit, or greed and recklessness – put it away! This is not what it means to learn Christ. Rather, learning Christ involves learning who Jesus was and what he did; it means learning what Jesus himself was all about, allowing Jesus’ whole life, his teachings and character, his death and resurrection, to have their full effect on us, Learning Christ involves the whole person!
It will not necessarily mean sitting around a table in a seminar room, or about feeling a certain way, though these things can be important. No! Learning Christ will mean actually doing and saying the specific things Jesus did and said!
The late Dallas Willard of Southern California University asked a question that may sound a bit shocking at this point, but also so apparently evident: he asked a conference of church leaders once when was the last time they had heard of a group or a church of any kind have a meeting to discuss how they were going to teach people to do what Jesus said and did? In what church did they see that happening? Roman Catholic? Pentecostal? Lutheran? Evangelical? How were the people in these churches (and others) learning to do what Jesus said and did, or how were they learning what Willard calls the “curriculum for Christ-likeness”?
That’s a good phrase! And it prompts us to ask: how we enrolled what Jesus taught? How are we learning Christ? What courses do we need to take?
Whatever they are, may we find ways to sign up!
Pastor Andy Kinsey