If we have been following anything other than the true, authentic Jesus, we must set about deconstructing and reconstructing our image of Him. The Counterfeit Jesus needs to be taken apart and properly put back together. What makes this process so difficult is that we built Him. You have built yours, and I have built mine. Perhaps that is why imitating Jesus has never seemed to be much of a challenge. Your Jesus always agrees with you, and mine always agrees with me.
Everyone needs moments in their faith journey when they ask and answer hard questions. This is one of those times, and this is one of those questions: In your relationship with Jesus, who is doing the imitating? Jesus or you? Most of us are inclined to say we are the ones doing the imitating, because that’s the way it’s supposed to be. But often just the opposite is true. His values just happen to match up with mine. His perspectives on finances just happen to align with mine. His doctrinal positions just happen to reflect my own. The reason you and Jesus rarely have difficult conversations and almost always agree is because He is imitating you instead of you imitating Him. All the while, the Real Jesus resigns Himself to stand back and watch. He loves you and is fascinated by you, but will not spend one moment imitating you.
If you need to rebuild, where and how do you start? It begins with acknowledging reality. This sounds so simple, but it is uncomfortable nonetheless. Acknowledging that at some level you have built your own Jesus implies that He isn’t necessarily going to act, think, talk, and live like you. Which means some radical changes might need to be made--not by Him, but by you. Acknowledging you have built your own Jesus means that for a time, perhaps a long period of time, you have walked a path in vain. Perhaps the path you have walked veers from the one the Real Jesus has called you to walk.
The path Jesus will call you to walk will likely be less comfortable, not as glamorous, and not as wide as the path you have been walking. Jesus said, “Small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life” (Matt. 7:14). That statement contains many implications, but here is the pertinent one for our discussion: On a narrow road, we will not be walking side by side with Jesus but following in His footsteps.