The new apprentice blacksmith was excited. He’d found a master blacksmith to learn from. The master had willingly taken him on as a student. He’d begun to assemble his tools and started showing up every morning at first light when the master started working.
That’s when things fell apart. The master blacksmith had asked him to do a whole series of tasks that had nothing to do with learning how to smith. Cleaning, organizing, running errands. It was all a waste of time. His frustration grew. Didn’t the master know he was here to learn to smith? Day after day passed filled with tasks that felt like busy work.
Finally the day came when he was invited to take up the hammer and begin trying his hand at shaping a fiery red ingot. As he took the hammer in his hand and prepared to swing, the master interrupted. “Not like that,” he said gently. Then placing his hand over the apprentices, he shifted the apprentices grip.
This new grip didn’t feel right. It wasn’t natural! The apprentice thought to himself, in frustration, “Ugh… he wants to teach me how to hold a hammer! When are we going to get to the real work?”
It’s an absurd situation, I’ll admit. If the teacher really is a master blacksmith, we know intuitively that the student needs to just let go of his pride and learn everything he can. If the student is really there to learn, he needs to be willing to trust the direction of the teacher.
Yet this is the way we relate to Jesus most of the time.
How much do you really want to learn from Jesus?
We decide we want to follow Jesus. We decide to trust Jesus for our eternity, and as our teacher for life. But when Jesus begins his work in our lives, we act like the frustrated apprentice.
Tasks are placed in front of us that don’t make sense. They don’t fit into our big plans. They feel like busy work. Then when Jesus starts shaping us, it’s uncomfortable. We’re challenged to give up life-long habits. Our motivations are confronted. Jesus even questions our basic beliefs about how the world is supposed to work. We just wanted a better life. Jesus wants to build us new from the ground up.
In frustration we say, “Yes, I want your wisdom. But I don’t want to do the chores, and I don’t want you to tell me how to hold the hammer”
Why won’t you let go?
The third commitment of an apprentice to Jesus is to let go. If we’ve decided that we trust Jesus to guide us and we’re actively learning His teaching and character, next we stop holding back certain areas of our lives. We hold back for so many reasons:
- We hold back because of pride. After all, we’re grown adults. We shouldn’t have to go back and be beginners all over again, right? (Actually, being a beginner can be one of the best things you do.)
- We hold back because of fear. What will happen if we really give God full control? Will we have to stop using the credit card? Will we have to apologize to that person we’re in conflict with? Will He ask us to radically reorganize the life we’ve worked so hard to build?
- We hold back because we think we know better. Sure, Jesus can teach us about God. But what does Jesus know about business, or finance, or dealing with an ex-wife? What does Jesus know about the upcoming election?
- We hold back because we like the idea of being an apprentice of Jesus, but we’re really not that into transformation.
Before you dismiss that last one, consider this. Most people want their lives to be better, but they don’t really want their lives to be different. Tweet That
They want the life they have, just with less pain, less drama, and less uncertainty. They hope that following Jesus will make everything a little better. But that’s not Jesus offer. The Bible ends with Jesus declaring something and it isn’t, “Behold! I make all things a little bit better.”
It’s the original reality make-over
An apprenticeship with Jesus is a long walk letting Him transform us. It is absolutely not limited to our moral beliefs and religious activities. Religious activities are the smallest fraction of your life!
Jesus wants to shape your whole life. In Luke 10:25-28 Jesus explained what part of your life He wants to work with. He claimed your heart, your soul, your strength, your mind and your relationship with your neighbor. That’s every part.
An apprenticeship with Jesus will impact your relational life, your emotional life, your finances, your business, the way you think about your body, the world around you, and the people you see every day. An apprenticeship with Jesus will alter your worldview, your common sense and your politics. The changes will start showing up in the way you spend your time, your money, and your effort.
If you’re really going to learn how to live life from Jesus, you have to put everything on the table.
Let go. And then choose to let go again.
This commitment doesn’t happen just once. We wrestle with control. We think we’ve given God full access, but in a moment of crisis or fear, we’ll be reminded:
Letting go of control is releasing in increments as we grow in trust. Tweet that
Make the commitment today. Make it again tomorrow. And then when you feel the resistance mounting inside, make it again.
Your gut will tell you where the resistance lies. The message will come in the form of anxiety, perhaps a twisting in your stomach. You’ll hear it when you’re paying the bills, or deciding what to text back when you get a hurtful text message. It will come just as you’re facing a decision that will impact your integrity.
In that moment, you will choose. You’ll either choose to let go and let Jesus influence even that part of your life, or you’ll choose to tighten your grip and take the hammer back.
Your continued growth and deepening relationship with God depend on making that choice again: Let go. Let go. Choose to trust the work of Jesus in your life, and learn from Him.