LIVING LIKE JESUS
Whoever claims to live in Him must live as Jesus did. 1 John 2:6
Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, live your lives in Him. Col. 2:6
One day as a woman was crossing a road near London station, an old man stopped her. He said to her, “Excuse me, ma’am, but I want to thank you.” She looked up and exclaimed, “Thank me?” He replied, “Yes ma’am, I used to be a ticket collector, and whenever you went by you always gave me a cheerful smile and a good morning. I knew that smile must come from inside somewhere. Then one morning I saw a little Bible in your hand. So I bought one, too, and I found out about Jesus from that Bible. Now I too am saved!” That man saw something in that woman that touched his heart. What did he see? He saw Jesus living in and through her life. Each one of us, who is saved, should so live that the world can see Jesus in our lives.
In the New Testament, one of the recurring themes is that believers are to strive to become more and more like Jesus Christ. It is God’s plan for each of us that we “be conformed to the likeness of his Son” (Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 4:13).We are called to live like Jesus. We do not need to look like him physically. We do not try to match his carpentry skills or his language skills. Rather, we are to be like him in our behaviour and in our devotion to God.
1. Obey like Jesus
Jesus was obedient to the law of God as a sincere Jew. He was obedient to his earthly parents and “grew in wisdom and in stature and in favour with God and man” (Luke 2:51-52). The Bible says, “Although Jesus was the Son of God, he learned to be obedient” (Hebrew 5:8).
Jesus lived a life of complete obedience to His Father. Obedience to God’s will was his food. Jesus demonstrated his absolute obedience to his father in several ways. Doing the Father’s will was more important than family (Matt. 12:46-50), more important than his own desires (Luke 22:42), even more important than his own life (Phil. 2:8). Obedience to the Father’s will was His burning passion (John 5:30; 14:31).
If you want to be like Jesus, you must learn to be obedient as he was obedient. Obedience is better than sacrifice (I Samuel 15:22).
2. Study the Bible like Jesus
The life of Jesus was saturated with the Word of God. Luke 2:46,47 records the story of how Jesus at age twelve stunned the scholars with his knowledge of Scriptures. Jesus studied the Old Testament by verses, holding them in his memory, and quoting them in his conversation and in His spiritual crises (Matthew 4:11; Luke 23:46). He studied it by books and divisions (Luke 24:44). The Jews were amazed and asked, “How did this man get such learning without having studied?” (John 7:15).
Six times Jesus asked the question “Haven’t you ever read?” (Mt.12:3, 5; 19:4; 21:16; 21:42; 22:31). Jesus would never have asked that if He himself had not read what He talked about. Why not imitate Jesus’ habit of Scripture-study. Jesus said, “Study the Scriptures diligently’ (John 5:39). Read four chapters during the weekdays and five during the weekends and guess what will happen? You would have read through the Bible in a year!
3. Pray like Jesus
Amazed by the prayer life of Jesus, the Apostles came to Him and asked, “Lord, teach us to pray’ (Luke 11:1). Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness and mountains for prayer (Matt. 14:23; Mark 6:46; Lk.5:16). He went to look at his Father’s face very early in the morning when it was still dark! (Mk.1:34-35). Prayer was his habit and very breath! Think about his prayers- unselfish prayer (Luke 22: 32), forgiving prayer (Luke 23:34); earnest prayer (Luke 22:44), submissive prayer (Matthew 11:26; 26:39-54), thanksgiving prayer (Matt. 15:36; Luke 9:16). The Bible tells us that he continues to pray for us even now (Hebrews 7:25).
The characteristics of his prayer life as we have found in the gospels must be the characteristics of ours. Slot a time for prayer in your daily schedule. Fix up an undisturbed place. Talk to God. You can talk about everything to Him at any time. Don’t just mumble here and there prayers. Instead, become a person of prayer!
4. Love like Jesus
During the Last Supper, Jesus gave his disciples a new commandment. He told them to love one another as he had love them (John 13:34). Jesus made it clear that his love should be our model for loving others. But what does it mean to love as Jesus loved? What are the characteristics of a truly Christ-like love?
A Christ-like love desires what is best for the other (Mark 10:17-22). It understands and accepts the emotions of others, rejoicing with those who rejoice and weeping with those who weep (John 11:32-44). It is generous and does not calculate the cost of giving (Luke 7: 36-50). It is not repulsed by illness or ugliness (Mark 1:40-42). It is patient and forgiving (John 20:24-29; 21:15-19; 8:1-11). It is not just an emotion; it is also a decision (John 13:1-15). Loving like Jesus means that we love the forgotten, the unlovely, the least and the lost in our community.
Jesus loved us so much that he gave his very life on the cross of Calvary. His love is sacrificial and self-giving (John 15:13; Rom. 5:8; 1 John 3:16). Therefore, ‘be imitators of God, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us’ (Ephesians 5:1, 2).
5. Be Holy like Jesus
Jesus has set an absolute standard of purity. The holiness of Jesus Christ manifested itself in a love of righteousness and a hatred of iniquity (Hebrews 1:9). The holiness of Jesus Christ was seen in his word and deed. Negatively, in his never doing sin or speaking falsehood (1 Peter 2:22; John 8:46; 1 John 3:5). And positively, in his always doing what was pleasing to God (John 8:29; Matt. 17:5). His holiness also manifested itself in constant and never-failing victory over temptation (Heb. 4:16). Jesus boldly asked, ‘Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? (John 8:46). The life of Jesus was impeccable! Absolutely spotless!
Several people also witnessed to the holiness of Jesus. The dying thief said that Jesus had done nothing wrong (Luke 23:41), the Roman Centurion exclaimed that he was a righteous man (Luke 23:47), Pilate’s wife asserted that he was a just man (Matthew 27:19), Pilate declared that he had found no fault in him (John 18:38). Judas Iscariot believed that he had betrayed the innocent blood (Matthew 27:3-4). Jesus himself said, ‘the prince of this world is coming and he has nothing in me (John 14:30). Be holy just as he is holy (1 Peter 1:15, 16)!
6. Serve like Jesus
Jesus is the ultimate example of a man who desired to serve others. Throughout the days of His earthly ministry, He was totally involved in serving others. In Mark 10:45, He said to His ambitious disciples, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Gospels arefilled with accounts that prove His commitment to serving others.
Jesus did tasks that were generally left to the servants, like washing feet (John 13:1-5, 12-17; Luke 22:27). He never missed an opportunity to serve others. He spent His lifetime blessing the sick and feeding the hungry. He was busy yet he stopped to heal people (Mark 5:30; 10:49). He always put people before Himself. And it brought Him great joy and peace. Jesus also spent His entire earthly life serving His father in Heaven. He put His father’s desires before His own.
The essence of Christian life is following the example of Christ. Jesus provides us with an example of imitation. He walked the pathway first. Now, we must follow “in his steps” (I Pet. 2:21). God bless you!