We can learn to live in God’s kingdom by becoming Jesus’ apprentices in kingdom living.
Following Jesus is an activity
There is a reason Jesus said, “Follow me,” rather than “stay there and watch”: we are meant to learn from him by not only listening to what he said, but by doing what he did. Relationship is developed in action, not observation, so if we want to enjoy the relationship with Jesus’ Father that he did, we need to take action. We need to follow Jesus so closely that we are trained, as if by osmosis, how to experience life in the kingdom of God, as he did.
The activity is apprenticing
The old apprentice system of vocational training shows how this works. A master craftsman would engage novices as laborers. These young people would work for the craftsman in exchange for sustenance and training in the craft or vocation. Apprentices did not receive classroom education, but lived and worked with the master, doing as he did in the manner in which he did. They awoke when the master did, ate when he did, worked when he did, rested when he did. Over time they would not only learn what the master knew, but would develop the habits of the master. They would become like the master.
Christians apprentice to our Master Jesus
It is the same for us. If we want to become like our Master, we must trust that he knows what he is doing and does it well.
As Jesus’ disciple, I am his apprentice in kingdom living. I am learning from him how to lead my life in the Kingdom of the Heavens as he would lead my life if he were I… I believe that he is right about everything: that all that he is and says shows what life is at its best, what it was intended by God to be.
One cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24). Since there will always be masters competing for our allegiance and labor, we must want to be like Jesus enough to consistently choose to do what he does. We must want to become masters of living in God’s kingdom, as he is, more than we want to be masters of industry or intellect or independence. Having chosen whom we will serve, and with whom we will train, we become like our Master by living with him in his home (the kingdom of God), doing as he does (praying, studying, serving), in the manner in which he does it (patiently, unhurriedly, lovingly). We labor on our Master’s behalf, and learn from him how to be like him.
Jesus said that his followers would do greater things than he (John 14:12). What makes that possible is daily apprenticing under Jesus, becoming experts in Kingdom living, like our Master.
This post is part of the God Ideas Series.