what the dickens?

Another ‘ian’ today. Tomorrow I plan to reflect more on yesterday’s awesomeness.

Being a Christian is like being Dickensian. Someone or something that is reminiscent of Charles Dickens’ Victorian novels or the characters portrayed within them is described as being Dickensian.

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-25)

If you look at the narrative accounts of Jesus’ life you will see those characteristics in him in abundance. Look at the way he treated those who were on the fringes of society. Look at the way he treated those who were regarded as unlovable by the self-righteous elite of his day. Look at the way he gently and patiently taught people what God really wanted and offered in him. Look at the way he kept to his mission and refused to be distracted from it. In fact, as a challenge for you, why not commit yourself to do just that and read one of the gospel narratives through in this term. Read a chapter a day and you will be done within a month. I did just that this summer – I read through Luke’s gospel a day at a time and was reminded of aspects of Jesus’ character that I had forgotten and neglected. I found myself drawn more closely to want to emulate him.

To be a Christian is to be reminiscent of Jesus Christ, to show these characteristics more and more. One of the aspirations of followers of Jesus is that we would be more like him. It is not something we can do on our own. It is not something we can do through any sort of religious self-help groups or therapy. This is something that God does within us as we ask and allow him to. It is one of the things that the Holy Spirit does with us. We start to show the family likeness.

As we allow God’s Spirit to work within us, followers of Jesus find that we are more able to forgive. We find that we can respond to hostility with grace. We find that we can be patient in testing circumstances. We find that we are more naturally generous with our time and resources. We find that we actually are keeping in step with the Spirit: not so much marching in time as dancing to his beat.


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