Walking with Jesus in the Wilderness

Two Simple Things to Do to Be More Like Jesus

Reading Time: 4 minutes

“As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake for they were fishing.” It’s a wonderfully ordinary sentence filled with ordinary verbs. Jesus “walked.” Jesus “saw.” Few of us pause and ponder this part of Jesus’ story. Instead, we rush on to read about Jesus driving an evil spirit out of a man or Jesus healing Simon and Andrew’s mother. We are fascinated with Jesus’ bold and miraculous actions. These are the things we want. But this focus on the miraculous overlooks how ordinary a daily walk with Christ is. To be like Jesus is not to be miraculous but simply to walk with God and see God in our daily lives.

Walking the Shore

Shortly after Christ called me into his family, I joined a charismatic church in Denver called Redeemer Temple. It was wild. Hippies were welcome. The music was cool and inspiring. The Redheaded-Wildflower became a follower of Christ there. But Redeemer’s worship emphasized miracles: speaking in tongues, prophesying, healing, and being slain in the Spirit. Sundays were miraculous. But Monday through Saturday were decidedly unmiraculous. And I stumbled through them because on Sunday no one talked about how to live with Christ when miracles were not happening. Which is most of the time. And that is what I needed desperately. How do I walk in faith and see God in my normal life? I thought I was not living a true spiritual life because I believed spirituality was made mainly of miracles. And it’s not. It’s quite the opposite.

True Spirituality Is Not Miraculous

A true spiritual life is one grounded in the common. This is what the passage above about Jesus walking on the shore and seeing two fishermen promises. While walking Jesus saw two average humans and through a long discipleship of eating, drinking, sleeping, talking, reading, and praying Jesus transformed them. We too daily eat, drink, sleep, talk, read, and pray. Our transformation is daily as well.  

New Life

Miracles Are Miracles Because They Are Rare 

C. S. Lewis in his book Miracles states, “A miracle is therefore the most improbable of all events.”⁠1 

Novelist Leif Enger agrees. In his beautiful novel Peace Like a River Enger has narrator Rueban Land say: 

“Let me say something about that word: miracle. For too long it’s been used to characterize things or events that, though pleasant, are entirely normal. Peeping chicks at Easter time, spring generally, a clear sunrise after an overcast week – a miracle, people say, as if they’ve been educated from greeting cards. I’m sorry, but nope. Such things are worth our notice every day of the week, but to call them miracles evaporates the strength of the word. Real miracles bother people, like strange sudden pains unknown in medical literature. It’s true: They rebut every rule all we good citizens take comfort in.”

Irish Sheep

God Sees Ordinary You

A birdsong, the fragrance of Lillies wafting on a summer morning breeze are remarkable, lovely. They may draw our attention to the Creator. But they are not miraculous. We name them such because we cannot believe Jesus could be interested in the ordinary. This is one of our most dangerous self-deceits. Being ordinary, we struggle to believe Jesus has much interest in us. We strive to overcome the impossible, start a movement, and change the world largely because then maybe we’ll be noticed, especially by God. 

In our passage, however, Jesus was merely walking on the shore. To walk is used throughout the Bible as a living metaphor for daily life connected to God. As Jesus strolled connected to the Father he saw two men fishing. That’s all. No lightning bolts flashed. They had no “platform.” They were not famous, gifted, or in any way remarkable. Yet God noticed them. The message is that God sees us in our unremarkableness. We stand more on sawdust than stardust.

Every Day Is Sacred When We Walk With God  

Sacredness is birthed out of the every day: bread, wine, musical notes, hugs, words, and poems. These are the ordinary building materials God loves to forge into the extraordinary. And by extraordinary I don’t mean a Christian celebrity. I mean the nameless, faceless billions who have followed Christ in the last 2,000 years. They have prayed, believed, and worshiped amid boredom, persecution, illness, unearned riches and poverty, grief, doubt, and hunger. The very things we deal with day-to-day. These nameless saints walked and saw God’s faithfulness. 

Despite Jesus’ biographies highlighting his amazing miracles, puzzling prophecies, and perplexing parables, Jesus did not skim through life over the ordinary, mundane creation of the Father. He buried himself in the ordinary. Notice how often he elevated the importance and meaning of gates, paths, sheep, camels, flowers, birds, fish, rocks, lamps, and people. 

Daily Meal

God With Us In The Ordinary

Jesus had the remarkable ability to walk and see the ordinary. From that, if called for, he transformed the ordinary into miracles. But most often he merely pointed out how beautiful and sacred they were. Not all or many of us can heal or cast out. But we, like Jesus, can walk and see. And this too is holy and good. And from this walking and seeing God may or may not do the miraculous. But in it all God will be with us.

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1 Lewis, Miracles, 161–62.

4 thoughts on “Two Simple Things to Do to Be More Like Jesus”

  1. Eugene – I agree. Most of my days are not miraculous – at least not in the sense of witnessing or experiencing miracles on a daily basis such as healing, speaking in tongues, or exorcisms. I think of Paul’s conversion; now that was miraculous. Very few of us will experience anything like that. My faith has grown slowly since childhood. Granted, I have experienced what I would consider miracles along the way. Those events are few and I guess that is what causes them to be engrained in our minds. What I love about the daily walk is the gratitude and joy that come out of the smallest blessings – Blessings even in trials and tribulations. Out of daily gratitude comes Joy – a fruit of the Spirit.
    Terry

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