Rob Day’s article, “The Jesus We’ll Never Know,” was the cover story for the April 2010 issue of Christianity Today.  Day began his excellent essay by relating the following story:

“On the opening day of my class on Jesus of Nazareth, I give a standardized psychological test divided into two parts.  The results are nothing short of astounding.”

“The first part is about Jesus.  It asks students to imagine Jesus’ personality, with questions such as, “Does he prefer to go his own way rather than act by the rules?” and “Is he a worrier?”  The second part asks the same questions of the students, but instead of “Is he a worrier?” it asks, “Are you a worrier?”  the test is not about right or wrong answers, nor is it designed to help students understand Jesus.  Instead, if given to enough people, the test will reveal that we all think Jesus is like us.  Introverts think Jesus is introverted, for example, and, on the basis of the same questions, extroverts think Jesus is extroverted.”

“Spiritual formation experts would love to hear that students in my Jesus class are becoming like Jesus, but the test actually reveals the reverse: Students are fashioning Jesus to be more like themselves.  If the test were given to a random sample of adults, the results would be measurably similar.  To one degree or another, we all conform Jesus to our own image.”

Rob Day identifies a very real challenge that we face as we seek to “fix our eyes on Jesus” (Heb. 12:2) and walk in His steps (I Pet. 2:21).  There is a danger of interpreting Jesus through the lens of our own past, our prevailing culture, our own wishes and desires, and our own personality rather than seeing him “just as He is” in Scripture.  Our challenge is to take ourselves out of the camera’s view so that we can just see Him, and only Him.

A.W. Tozer writes in The Pursuit of God: “Faith is the least self-regarding of the virtues.  It is by its very nature scarcely conscious of itself.  Like the eye which sees everything in front of it and never sees itself, faith is occupied with the Object upon which it rests and pays no attention to itself at all.  While we are looking at God we do not see ourselves – blessed riddance!” 

Let your mind dwell on Tozer’s statement one more time.  “Like the eye which sees everything in front of it and never sees itself, faith is occupied with the Object on which it rests and pays no attention to itself at all.”

C.S. Lewis wrote: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.”

Blessed riddance, indeed!

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