I am looking at the portrait of the man before me and all I can say is, “…so it is possible… It is possible to live a blameless life before God and men…” It is possible. Those are my thoughts and have been my thoughts for weeks now. It is possible. This is not a matter of dogma – Jesus did it so you too can do it. No this is not another religious cliche we toss on to each other from one stale state to another. Rather this a matter of this man actually did it too. Just like Jesus did. I never met Jesus and I never met this man either. But I have read testimonies about Jesus like I am currently reading testimonies about this man. And I have met a few of them personally too. Men and women who experienced this extraordinary human being, who dared to live not just like Jesus did, but just like the scriptures describe.
Have you ever heard the term: a living epistle? You know it literally means an epistle in human form, right? Like the scriptures took on flesh.That is exactly what I’m talking about. A life that emulated God so much so that one can literally say that he was a living epistle. That his life was a revelation of the scriptures taking on flesh! A man of like passions. A man like us. Yet he walked this earth and everyone who met him went away feeling as though they had seen the face of God.
If he could do it, why not I? If he could damn the world and all its glittery offers, why can’t I? If he could count it all dung, why shouldn’t I? If he gave it all so that he could gain Christ, then why think twice? He was just like me: deprived, vulnerable, broken, imperfect, poor, wanting, needy, hopeless, lost. Yet he trusted Jesus, forsook all, took up his cross and followed Him. He saw what was ahead: hardships, sometimes beaten, sometimes in prisoned, sometimes in shipwrecks, sometimes insulted, shame, lack, want, sometimes falsely accused, sometimes in need, without mercy, without gain, yet not without hope. Still he pressed on.
Sounds familiar doesn’t it? Sounds like Paul. Like Peter, James and John. Like I said, he was a living epistle… Yet he lived in our day.
In three weeks it would be 2 decades since he left us. Yet his memory lives on. His works yet speak. His life still preaches the gospel. Tales of his sufferings yet embolden the weary and encourage the saints. His footprints today, now shape my life as a potter shapes clay.
Jeremiah 18: 3 So I went down to the potter’s house and saw him working with clay at the wheel. 4 He was making a pot from clay. But there was something wrong with the pot. So the potter used that clay to make another pot. With his hands he shaped the pot the way he wanted it to be.