Saturday, January 8, 2011

To be more like Christ: Approachable

I am reading the book my cousin Sarah gave me for Christmas called, "A Woman Who Reflects the Heart of Jesus" by Elizabeth George. As I read I am going to write a series of "To be more like Christ" posts. Ideas are taken from the book and modified into my own words. I've chosen to use Bible verses listed in the book as well as other verses to illustrate thoughts and ideas.

Dear LORD,
Please help me to become more and more like Jesus.

He is Approachable.
Always. Whenever, wherever.

"Let us therefor come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need."
-Hebrews 4:16

Approachable to the outcast.

Jesus didn't let who society thought He should or shouldn't talk to stop Him from helping everyone, especially the outcasts.

"A man with leprosy came to Him and begged Him on his knees, 'If you are willing, You can make me clean.'
Jesus was indignant. He reached out His hand and touched the man.
'I am willing,' He said. 'Be clean!' Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed."
-Mark 1:40-42

“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."
-Matthew 11:28

Approachable even while busy.

Even when Jesus was doing something of utmost importance, He stopped to help those who came to Him.

"A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that He had come home. They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and He preached the Word to them. Some men came, bringing to Him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralyzed man, 'Son, your sins are forgiven.'"
-Mark 2:1-5

Approachable to the concerned.

Even while busy. Even when He had just preached the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus went out of His way to help a high-ranking Roman military officer. Even though religious leaders could use helping the centurion as a way to condemn Him, Jesus was completely approachable to this man's concerns.

"When Jesus had finished saying all this to the people who were listening, He entered Capernaum. There a centurion’s servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to Him, asking Him to come and heal his servant. When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with Him, 'This man deserves to have You do this, because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.' So Jesus went with them.
He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to Him: 'Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have You come under my roof. That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to You. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.'

When Jesus heard this, He was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following Him, He said,
'I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.' Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well."
-Luke 7:1-10

Approachable to those labeled unimportant or unworthy.

No one was unimportant to Jesus! He was a cheerful giver.

"People were bringing little children to Jesus for Him to place His hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, He was indignant. He said to them, 'Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.' And He took the children in His arms, placed His hands on them and blessed them."
-Mark 10:13-16

Approachable to those who are different.

Jesus was approachable to people of different ethnic backgrounds, cultures, race, sex, and religions. In the story of the "Faith of the Canaanite Woman" Jesus helps someone who is an outcast both by being a woman and a foreigner.

"Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to Him, crying out, 'Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.'
Jesus did not answer a word. So His disciples came to Him and urged Him, 'Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.'
He answered,
'I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.'
The woman came and knelt before Him. 'Lord, help me!' she said.
He replied,
“'It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.'
'Yes it is, Lord,' she said. 'Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.'
Then Jesus said to her,
'Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.' And her daughter was healed at that moment."
-Matthew 15:21-28

Approachable to the insincere.

Jesus was there for and told the Truth to people even when He knew they would not be willing to follow His advice. Notice how it says, "Jesus looked at him and loved him." Jesus loved the rich man and told him the Truth even though He knew his heart. Jesus knew this man would not be willing to give up his wealth for Him.

"As Jesus started on His way, a man ran up to Him and fell on his knees before Him. 'Good teacher,' he asked, 'what must I do to inherit eternal life?'
'Why do you call Me good?'
Jesus answered. 'No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’
'Teacher,” he declared, 'all these I have kept since I was a boy.'
Jesus looked at him and loved him.
'One thing you lack,” He said. 'Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me.'
At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth."
-Mark 10:17-22

Dear Jesus,

I know I have often appeared or been way too busy to to be approachable to people. Please change me. Change my heart. Make me like You. Thank you for always being there for me. Help me to be there for others. Help me to let You use me. I can't do anything good on my own. On my own I am selfish. Self-centered and too busy to love how You want me to. Use me, dear Jesus. Help me to tell others about You and Your love. Help me to show You to others. Speak through me. Help me be approachable to everyone.

I know I can't do anything good on my own, but with You as my strength, You can help me do anything.
Change me.
Make me more like You.

I love you LORD.


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