Posted by: pmarkrobb | July 19, 2015

be you, becoming more like Him

I was a bit confused as I opened an email from Genel this past Wednesday evening.  The email had an article attached which seemed clear was intended to be published on the Journey site later that evening.  I say I was confused, because I was certain I was supposed to write on that particular day.

Assuming that I had read the schedule wrong (which I would later confirm), I opened the article she and Mike had collaborated on and began to read before publishing.  The first couple of sentences suggested that we had not duplicated topics, but as the opening paragraph closed, I couldn’t help but notice of a hint of resonance with what I had written earlier in the day.  As I reached the end of the article, the resonance was deafening.  If I had not chosen to add this opening paragraph, you might have read my post this coming Monday and rightly charged me with plagiarism, or at least deemed me a copycat in my concluding emphasis.  What I can confidently say is both articles were written completely independently, yet amount to a sacred echo when considered together.  It has been my experience that such sacred echoes are God’s attempt to get our attention.  He certainly has mine.  Whether it was intended for just me, just you, or all of us, here goes …

In the moments after receiving the invitation to write on the apostle Peter, my mind began racing in a hundred different directions.  There is SO much which could be said about Peter – SO much resonance in the stories of his life and our own.  Could there be any easier character to communicate to you in a way which would find immediate application in your life?  As I continued to consider the myriad of choices sitting at the very tips of my fingers, a new thought was born.  In reading the Bible, there is a subtle temptation which lurks.  That temptation is an arrow in the quiver of the evil one and I would gather it has been used countless times to take a genuine follower of Jesus out of the battle, at least for a while.  When this arrow pierces flesh it desires to inflict one of two primary wounds.  The first is to suggest you should be more like that character and the last is to suggest you’ll never be.

I remember traversing that very territory in the days and weeks after the death of both my grandfathers.  They each had unique strengths and I found myself wanting to become more like them.  Grandpa Robb was a brilliant preacher/teacher and had an unparalleled gift for communicating on a very intentional and personal level.  Standing in the receiving line at his viewing, I cannot tell you the countless number of times my father, uncle or I heard, “Your father/grandfather sent me a postcard/letter/note every week!” I personally received a piece of mail every single week the four years I attended college, and my father once told me that Grandpa Robb sent a handwritten letter to his and my grandmother’s parents every single week they were alive.  I was so amazed and inspired, and thought, “I want to be like Grandpa Robb.”  I experienced the same desire at the loss of my Grandfather Griffis.  There was no warmer, more courageous or more generous man than my Grandpa Griffis.  As a boy he went to work with his uncle cutting and delivery blocks of ice from their family pond to support his family after his father passed away.  He also used to stick his hands down rattlesnake holes to grab them, and milk their venom to sell to the local druggist (absolutely true story!).  He was an abundantly generous man both inside and outside his family.  Although, the only ones who knew it were those he directly helped.  He selflessly sat by my Grandmother Griffis’ side from nearly sunrise to the close of visiting hours the last few years of her life as she laid in a nursing home.  The last months to almost a year of which she didn’t know his name.  Her mind and memories had been stolen by Alzheimer’s, yet he sat and held her hand and fed her until her final day.  To this day I remember the look on both of their faces as my grandmother would catch my grandfather staring into her face and smile back.  From the moment I was old enough to really see it for what it was, it has forever since been the purest illustration of true love I have ever experienced.  As I reflected on my Grandpa Griffis after he passed away, I remember thinking, “I want to live and love like Grandpa Griffis.

Moses, Abraham, Sarah, Joshua, Esther, Daniel, Peter … Grandpa Robb and Grandpa Griffis.  Men and women whose lives and stories glorify the God they loved so deeply.  But should the desire of our hearts be to be like them?  I am confident they would all answer, “No.”  I can hear them all say, “Be like Him!  Be like Jesus! That was what I was trying to do.”  The absolute truth is we are all created for a unique purpose.  I believe God would say the world, and His plan for it, is incomplete without you.  It is incomplete with you striving to be a likeness of someone else.  To know Him … that is the real and eternal life (John 17:3).  To be like Him … that should be our heart’s true desire.

As we continue to tell the stories of the ancient’s, let them encourage, comfort and inspire you.  Let them resonate the truth that there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9).  Let them be beautiful illustrations of how God loves, forgives, shows mercy, gives grace, heals the brokenhearted and chooses common, imperfect people to accomplish His purposes.  But … please do not desire to be like them.  Be the you who was in the mind’s eye of the Most High God before the foundation of the world (Psalm 139:13-15).

Be you, becoming more like Him.

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Responses

  1. Wow. Well done !
    Thanks for sharing and giving us a great reminder to be ourselves, but to become more like Him !

  2. Thanks, something I need to be reminded of often


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