I also thought of two of Paul's admonitions: "in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. If we were to say this, it would sound like boasting. Paul wanted the Corinthian believers to know that if they followed his example and his lifestyle they would see godliness that pointed toward the perfect godliness of Jesus Christ.
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What would it be like to imitate the example of Paul? Or the examples of other outstanding believers in the Bible? What if I saw qualities in them that I yearned for in my own life?
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How could I embody those same qualities? I knew I was moving in the right direction. I began a series of further prayer exercises. For periods at a time -- often just a few days, but usually lasting several weeks -- I chose one individual in the Bible whom I admired. I created a mental image of that person. I tried not to ignore any of the person's shortcomings, because those made the character more human. I focused on a single, major quality I respected about that individual. This may speak of my weakness, but I just couldn't -- then or now -- focus on Jesus as the role model for the qualities I wanted.
I needed flesh-and-blood, sinful-but-saved creatures who embodied the attributes I sought to develop. In a novel, In His Steps , written more than a hundred years ago, a dozen people covenanted to ask, "What would Jesus do?
That wouldn't work for me because I have no idea what Jesus would do. Jesus is perfect and without sin.
I have an amazing ability for self-deception and too often my heart is so filled with my desires that I'm not open enough to hear the voice of the Savior. I did discover, however, that I could relate to other flawed human beings. The Bible is filled with them -- and many of them stand as our guides to spiritual maturity. For example, I suspect Paul was a hot-tempered zealot whose words sometimes cut his enemies to shreds. I have some of that quality in me, so I understand his struggles. In spite of that, he also embodied a boldness for God that I yearn for.
Some may have trouble with my approach. They can't easily say, "I am Jacob. But to explain to God who needs no explanations made my prayer cumbersome. The simple concept worked for me. Each day, as I prayed, I envisioned what it would be like to be fully embraced by God's loving arms. The more unworthy I felt, the more I could appreciate that love.
I am Jacob
In my case, this went on for months before the realization struck me that I had become like Jacob -- I felt deeply loved despite my shortcomings. Plot Keywords. Parents Guide. External Sites. User Reviews. User Ratings.
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