A missionary told me this story. Years ago when he was in Kenya, a tourist van was painted with black and white stripes like those of a zebra. As the van carried its passengers on a wildlife tour, a newborn zebra began to follow the van down the road. The little colt had become visually imprinted on the striped van as though it were following its mother, staying on track behind it for miles, until it nearly died.
Whenever a person becomes a new Christian in modern American, we immediately begin to shape them into a disciple of “our church.” After two years, it becomes impossible to disciple them to Jesus. They are now warehoused; not being trained.
When you were born again, what did your eyes behold? Did you see Jesus? What image are you imprinted on today? Do you follow a man-made image painted on a manufactured thing or are you following the real person? Are your eyes on Jesus?
In John, chapter nine in the Bible, Jesus healed a man who was born blind. For being healed, he was put on trial and expelled from the Temple. As you read the story, you can’t help but see how funny it was. His own parents distanced themselves from their son, saying, “He is of age, ask him!” A miracle had drawn a line between impotent religion and God’s power revealed in Christ. The resulting conflict caused the man to be “put forth” (ekballo- Greek, “to drive out”).
Have you ever been rejected because you encountered the real Christ? Afterwards, Jesus sought the man and found him. To this outcast, who could now see more clearly than those who had judged him, the Lord Jesus Christ revealed himself for who he really was.
Years ago, the Holy Spirit began giving me a strange word to announce at conferences where I spoke, a fresh word like some prophet pointing out the distinction between clean and unclean, between painted vans and striped zebras. The word was, “The day will come when you will be more grateful for the apostolic father that adopted you than for the denominational mother that birthed you.”
I want to follow Jesus and be like him. Anything less is, well, it’s just not Jesus. Accept no substitutes. His glory and his kingdom are real and drawing nearer.
Ron Wood is pastor of Trinity Assembly of God on Chandler Road. 601-483-8189. trinitymeridian.com. Ron hosts The Father’s Power, Sunday, 8 a.m. and 7 p.m., 103.3 FM.