Becoming More Like Jesus
In any area of life, it';s good to set goals for yourself. Goals are what keep you moving forward simply because they give you something to strive for and attain.
In the New Testament, one of the recurring themes is that believers are to strive to become more and more like Jesus Christ in every area of their lives. For example, the apostle Paul wrote, “So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord — who is the Spirit — makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
“Changed into his glorious image” means we are transformed into something we weren';t before, namely the image of Jesus Christ. This means that we are made to be just like him in how we think, talk, and act. This is what Christians call “Christlike,” and it';s something we are to strive to attain not just in the hereafter but also in the here and now.
We are to be imitators of Jesus Christ in our:
approach to temptation (Matthew 4:1–11)
love (John 13:34–35)
humility (Philippians 2:2–8)
attitudes and actions toward others (1 John 3:18)
purity (1 Thessalonians 4:1–8)
compassion (2 Corinthians 1:3–7)
doing good for others (Matthew 5:16)
This list could go on and on simply because Jesus made himself the perfect example in every area of life.
We don';t become like Jesus just by accident or by some sort of supernatural osmosis where we just sit back and let his character and ways be formed in us. If that were the case, then becoming a Christian would mean losing all our free will. And while God wants our wills and thoughts to be submitted to Him, He won';t simply take them from us and force us to be like Jesus.
According to Galatians 5:16–23, who or what is the driving force behind the believer becoming more like Christ?
The Holy Spirit, because it is only he who keeps us walking, talking, and living in the same way Jesus did. It is the Holy Spirit who guides us, directs us, and empowers us to live the way God wants us to live.
Being like Christ only happens when we make a conscious choice to seek and follow him, when we willfully and purposefully ask him to come in and change us from the inside out. It only happens through prayer, worship and praise, spending time in fellowship with other believers, and — you guessed it! — reading and studying the Bible.
But how can we know specifically what the life of Jesus Christ looked like? How can we know how he lived, talked, prayed, and walked? Well, the Bible contains a four-book biography of Jesus';s time on earth, with an emphasis on the three-plus years of ministry leading up to the time of the Crucifixion.
As we read the Gospels we see that Jesus did far more than just talk a good game of faith and devotion to God, he played it out every moment of his life. And while we can';t — at least in this life — live out those things as perfectly as he did, we can look to him as our perfect example of life, love, faith, and obedience.