the weblog of Alan Knox

Not about me… seriously

Posted by on Jun 20, 2009 in books, discipleship | 8 comments

As I continue to read (slowly) Dave Black’s book The Jesus Paradigm, I’m continually faced with a major problem (see my post “Summer Reading” for a few excerpts). My problem does not stem from disagreeing with the author, but from recognizing my own hypocrisy.

When reading this little book, I usually run into my own hypocrisy in simple statements like “X is not as much a dogma to be believed but a lifestyle to be practiced” (i.e. pg. 119).

And, thus I’m faced with the fact that I “believe” alot of things, but these “beliefs” are not usually demonstrated in my lifestyle. Or, if these “beliefs” are demonstrated in my life, they are demonstrated incompletely and inconsistently. Simply, I am not dying to myself and allowing the risen Christ to live through me. Instead, I am still living too much of my life my way and under my control.

Think about something simple and yet pervasive like loving others. I claim to love others, but I spend most of my time loving myself. It’s true. Why? Because I’m still choosing when, where, how, and why to love. I’m still in control. I’m not dead yet.

You see… my life… it’s not about me… seriously. I am dead, but I continue to live this dead life. “Loving others” and “dying to myself” and “considering others as more important” etc… are dogmas that I believe, but they are not lifestyles that I practice. If anything, they are hobbies.

I’m tired of living my own life and treating Jesus as a hobby.


8 Comments

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  1. 6-20-2009

    Alan,
    Something to think about. Do you have the abilty to die to yourself, or is that you were in Christ when He was crucified, died and the Father raised Him from the dead. It is His life in you that ever does anything right, anything that comes out wrong is when we chooice to get in the way and try to live by our own ability. God doesn’t force us to live by His life in us but allows us to shoot ourselves in the foot so to speak, instead of experienceing the LIFE he has for us. I think the fun part of living this life in Him, is getting to “practice” day by day- hour by hour His Presence in and thru our lives.

    IN CHRIST,
    David

  2. 6-20-2009

    Alan,

    How do you define hypocrite? What passages from Scripture would you use to reinforce your definition?

    I know Jesus used the word in a very specific context. Do you believe what you are describing here is the same kind of hypocrisy condemned by Jesus?

  3. 6-20-2009

    David,

    I “choose to get in the way” to often. :)

    Joe (JR),

    I am a hypocrite when I say I believe something, but I do not live it.

    -Alan

  4. 6-21-2009

    Alan,

    I have always viewed dieing to self and loving others as a walk (or maybe a limp) in which I never reach my destination. And I know I’m never going to reach my destination. What keeps me going forward is looking over my shoulder and seeing that I have made progress. Have I died more, do I love more than 2 months ago? Sometimes the answer is no. But most of the time, I see progress, at least a bit. And I keep on moving. But if I don’t, I try not beat myself up. I don’t think Jesus would want that; I think he’d rather see me keep walking.

    -jeff

  5. 6-21-2009

    Jeff,

    I agree. Using your terms, I would consider this post another recognition of my limp. I know that I will move forward by the grace of God.

    -Alan

  6. 6-21-2009

    Alan,

    “We must be seen to be what we say we are”, used to be something I often said to congregations. I soon realised that is exactly what people were doing, being SEEN to be what they SAID they were.

    I soon found that there were more actors (hupokrites) in the church than there were on the stage; often standing in pulpits (me included).

  7. 6-22-2009

    Alan,

    I think this may be one of the most important notes that will be written about The Jesus Paradigm. (For full disclosure, let me note that I’m editor and publisher.)

    The reason I say that is this: I believe the greatest impediment to actually living as Jesus calls us to live is the believe that we should, can, or will do this ourselves and that by trying harder we’ll do more. I think this is the one of those great 1+1=1 things, like the incarnation. “It is not I, but Christ lives in me.” And yet here I am getting in Christ’s way on a regular basis.

    I am reminded of my son, 15 years old at the time, when he found out that his cancer had returned. We were in Walmart and he came and asked me for money for a CD. Something told me this was the time to give it, though my older children would tell me that he had me wrapped around his little finger. When we got back in the car he put in the CD, told us to go to a particular track, which I paraphrase as closely as I remember–“take my life Jesus, because I’m not strong enough to give it to you.”

    He knew what was coming, and we knew he knew. What we older folks needed to learn at that moment was that all of Christian living can be summarized as “take my life Jesus, because I’m not strong enough to give it to you.”

  8. 6-22-2009

    Aussie John,

    Good summary of this post. Thank you.

    Henry,

    First, thanks for the book. Second, thanks for the story. “Take my life Jesus, because I’m not strong enough to give it to you”. Great song and prayer and an even better way to live.

    -Alan

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