WHAT IT MEANS TO BE LIKE JESUS?
• Jesus and disciples
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. – Ephesians 5:2
We saw this on YouTube about somebody’s understanding on how to be like Jesus. We found it fascinating and are happy to share it with you. Please enjoy it and share it with others.
Who is a Christian?
Eighteen hundred years ago in the second century a man called Diognetus wanted to know who a Christian was; The following was written to him to explain who a Christian is:
“The distinction between a Christian and others is not about a country language or customs language or customs.
• They follow local customs in clothing, food and the rest of life. And yet exhibit the wonderfully paradoxical nature of their own citizen.
• They live in their own countries, but it is as if they are resident aliens.
• They share all things as citizens and yet endure all things as if they are inferior. Every foreign country is their homeland, and every homeland is a foreign country.
• They marry like everyone else and have children, but they do not abort their young ones.
• They keep a common table but not a common bed. They live in the world but not in a worldly way.
• They enjoy a full life on earth, but their citizenship is in heaven.
• They obey the appointed laws, but they surpass the laws in their own lifestyle, they love everyone and are universally derided.
• They are unknown and do not criticise people.
• They are put to death and gain life.
• They are poor but make many rich.
• They lack all things and yet have all things in abundance.
• They are dishonoured and are glorified in their dishonour.
• They are abused but bless others in return.
• When they are beaten up, they rejoice as men who have been given a new life.
In short, although the soul is in the body, the Christians are in the world. The soul lives in the body but is not confined to the body. Although Christians live in the world they are not confined to the world. God has appointed them for this great calling, and it will be wrong for them to decline it.”
In addition to this here are eight portraits of what Christlikeness looks like.
To be like Jesus means to:
1. Accept our roots (Matthew 1:1-17)
The circumstances surrounding Jesus’ birth might have raised questions in the minds of some. But Jesus never denied His ancestry or allowed others to shame Him. We also need to understand and accept our roots in terms of culture, race, gender and reputation. Moreover, like Jesus we want to avoid demeaning anyone else’s heritage.
2. Engage the world’s Pain and Struggle (1:18-2:23)
Jesus’s entry into human life was fraught with awkward tensions and human dilemmas: a miraculous birth, an earthly father who was considering a quiet divorce, an outraged king resorting to infanticide and a return to a homeland that remained hostile and dangerous. We too, are all born into some troubles and circumstances but we need to face up to the world and remain very much in it, despite all its troubles.
3. Commit Ourselves to other Believers. (Matthew 3:1-17)
John the Baptist was not an average individual. He lived in the wilderness – the ‘other side of the tracks’ for that day. He wore strange clothing and ate strange food. He was pugnacious, even offensive at times. Yet he helped launch Jesus’ career. In return, Jesus had nothing but praise for him. If we want to be like Jesus, we must not pick and choose our brothers and sisters in God’s family. We need to embrace other believers and demonstrate our unity in Christ, no matter how awkward or inconvenient.
4. Admit our Vulnerability to Temptation. (Matthew 4:1-11)
Matthew’s inclusion of the temptation is remarkable. It shows that the sinless Lord of the universe was tempted, just as we are. ‘For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet He did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need’. – Hebrews 4:15- 16.
If we want to be like Jesus, we must accept that temptation is real – need to be open about our struggles. In doing so we honour God, recognise the power of sin, and encourage others to do likewise.
5. Proclaim the Message of Christ. (Matthew 4:12-25)
Jesus’s life was not an open book, readable by all. To be sure, He lived a perfect, model life. But even that could not stand alone as an undeniable witness. His actions needed interpretation. So He supplemented His good deeds with good news. In the same way, we need to verbally declare our faith if we want to be like Christ. Certainly, we need to back up our words with a Christlike lifestyle. But what we tell others give meaning to our quiet walk and good deeds.
6. Commit to Changed Thinking and Behaviour (Matthew 5:1-7:27)
In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus explained the values of the kingdom. He showed that following Him will involve radical change for most of us. It may mean undoing the way we’ve always done things and rethinking traditional sources of wisdom from our parents and culture. To become like Jesus involves a tough-minded review of our values and a thorough change in our behaviour.
7. Serve Others. (Matthew 8:1- 9:38)
The Sermon on the Mount was immediately followed by ‘deeds in the valley’. Christlike values lead to servant actions – and it was obedient action that Jesus cared about, not just sermonising. Jesus modelled how to do the will of God by actively serving more than 25 different people. These included such undesirables as lepers, an officer of the Roman occupation troops, the sick, the demon-possessed, cave dwellers, tax collectors, and a diseased, outcast woman. If we want to be like Jesus, we need to befriend those who are weak, under oppression, or without Christ. Like Him, we need to become ‘a friend of sinners’. He offered much more than religious information – He served them.
8. Affirm Other Leaders. (Matthew 10:1-42)
Jesus invested Himself in the development of other people, particularly the Twelve. He gave them responsibility and authority. He accepted the risk that they might fail. Of course, He gave them adequate preparation before sending them out, and on their return He affirmed them on their successful completion of the mission. Jesus calls us to help others grow. If we want to be like Him, we will share the joys and risks of working together with our brothers and sisters.
Please remember that there should be a distinction between you and others who are not Christians. ‘Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!’ -2 Corinthians 5:17.
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By Dr. Joyce Aryee, the author