In the previous section John gave his perspective of the Holy Spirit who had been given to us as Guide. Like a guide dog “makes” a blind person “see” and helps him find his own way in the darkness, the Holy Spirit helps us find our way and to stay on the path.
But we know that we don’t always get it right, because very quickly the noise of the world rushes in, drowning out the voice of the Holy Spirit. Then we stand at the cross-road not knowing which way to turn – and the more uncertain we become about the decision we have to take, the more the noise confuses us. John understands this and therefore he gives us a piece of invaluable, but simple advice: 28 And now, children, stay with Christ. Live deeply in Christ.
Very simple. It’s quite similar to the time many years ago when I worked as a waiter in the Spur. When a new waiter who still had to learn started work, we called it shadowing, because for the first couple of days the new person had to follow you around like a shadow. He just had to watch what you were doing.
The new waiter did not speak to the clients, not even to the cooks. He could only ask you questions. In this way, slowly, he started to learn what it meant to be a waiter and started doing the things that waiters do.
This is what John means: We have to walk in Jesus’ shadow every day, because in Jesus’ shadow we’ll learn how to act, how to live God’s will in our lives every day.
This is a very nice story and it sounds just right, but what does it mean for me in the reality of my life? It simply means that every time before I make a decision I must consider what Jesus would have done. I still remember how irritated one would get with the new, young waiters following you around so enthusiastically. Yes, it was nice to have someone who could carry your clients’ dirty plates to the kitchen for you, but the many questions drove you mad. But then, after a few days you would see the new waiter making it on his own, you would see his self-confidence growing, the big smile when a satisfied client leaves him a big tip.
We must walk in Jesus’ shadow just as enthusiastically. Every time when I have to make a choice I must ask questions. Before I open my mouth to snap at someone, I must first ask Jesus what is the right way to do something. When I decide to give a nasty sign to someone driving like a lunatic, here in Jesus’ shadow I must ask Him a question. When I sit with the TV remote in my hand to select a channel, I must ask first. When someone offers me a load of cash, I must first ask a question. Jesus will never, ever get tired of my questions. He will answer every time. Yes, He will!
Jesus knows what He is talking about, because He was here, with His dusty feet. He knows about people deceiving other people. He knows about people being tempted every day. He knows about having too little money and not having enough to cover everything. He knows about giving the right answers. 29 Once you're convinced that he is right and righteous, you'll recognize that all who practice righteousness are God's true children. The inventor knows his invention best. When Alexander Graham Bell designed the telephone in 1877 nobody on earth understood it better than he did. He knew precisely what the telephone could do and not do. He knew where it needed to be developed further. He knew the inside and outside like the back of his hand, because he designed it and he put it together.
This is the way that God knows our inside and outside the best.
He knows precisely what we can do and where we need adjustment. And on God’s right hand, in His shadow, sits Jesus who also knows everything about us, because here in God’s shadow His relationship with God is perfect. Therefore, we have to try and live in Jesus’ shadow. He has the answers; we just have to ask Him and He will guide us in the right direction.
When we continue to ask Jesus and start doing the right thing ourselves as time goes by, eventually we’ll do what God wants us to do. Then we will stand the test of time. Then we will get the biggest prize at the end of the race: Then we'll be ready for him when he appears, ready to receive him with open arms.
Yes, then the world will see we’re true children of God. No, even more, then the people around us will also experience that a child of God can make a difference. May others then also go and walk in Jesus’ shadow and learn, because they have seen and felt what we do.
In whose shadow do you walk?
How can you walk even more in Jesus’ shadow?
Who is there around you that needs a real child of God?
Scripture: 1 John 2:24-29
Enjoy the weekend shadowing!