Becoming like Jesus is the key to a fulfilled and happy life.
YOU will then be the best spouse, the best business leader, and the best worker for any business. Also the best type of friend and the best parent. The highest ideal for every human being’s existence is Jesus. People forget the winners of the Olympic Games, the best actors of the year and even the most famous people later fall into oblivion. But living Jesus Christ every day of my life makes an eternal difference – in my life as well as in the lives of people I touch.
Everything in Scripture points to Christ and everything in Creation also points to Him:
“All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” (John 1:3-5).
Jesus was the perfect man!
His spirituality, thinking and sobriety, emotional intelligence, lifestyle and habits, relationship proportionality, and identity are the practical ideals for a healthy life. However, Jesus Christ is also God, the Word made flesh, the sum total of all things, the eternal glory and form of the Godhead.
Man was created in His image, and we are the most beautiful people when we mostly live and act like Jesus. If you are looking for Jesus, and getting to know Him better, you are in the right place! The character, values, disposition, ethics, habits, attitude and lifestyle of Christ are like a standard, a guide, a spirit-level to live the perfect life. We are the most beautiful people when we are most like Christ.
Christian religion has a bad name, but it is not about the Person of Jesus Christ. It is our misconception of Christ that has given Christianity a bad name. Jesus, the Son of Joseph and Mary, the husband of Nazareth in Galilee, mostly referred to Himself as the Son of Man. And whether one believes in Him or not, He is still the most generous person who has ever lived.
No other human being has ever touched or influenced humanity more than His way. No other human being has received more writings about Him. No other person in a public ministry of just three years has had such a huge impact on humanity. Jesus’ popularity and topicality continue to grow as people rediscover Him as the best life ever lived.
In other words, we are the best people when we are most like Him, when we do what is right, follow His ethical and moral example, pursue His immaculate character, and dedicate our lives to serving mankind. Living like Jesus is the best way! The life of Jesus is a universal truth, a point of departure, a blueprint and a basis for life. Christ is perfect, blameless, the right standard and anchor of morality.
But you might know: following Christ is not for everyone. It’s not a popular type of feel- good religion. On the contrary, it has nothing to do with religion! It is a life of self-denial, daily “taking up your cross” as you learn to obey Him. Fortunately, He gives us grace, and He works His right-living standard in us. You will find out that to be like Jesus is completely impossible. Fortunately, this is not what God expects of you and I, He just wants us to spend a lot of time with Jesus, because then the transformation takes place naturally and spontaneously! Isn’t that good news?
History shows mankind’s pendulum swinging between success and failure to meet Jesus’ standard. The famous New Testament scholar, F.F. Bruce discovered that the Gospels are not only historical accounts of a Savior narrative, but also a foundation of the highest human moral standard. Jesus’ character is not only the best example of excellence, but also the strongest encouragement to follow. Jesus’ life had such a profound effect that it can be unequivocally said that the account of His three short active years did more to reform and temper mankind than all the representations of philosophers and all the encouragement of moralists.
Ravi Zacharias explains the framework for moral proof according to a Judeo-Biblical worldview on the basis of three core values that Jesus taught and lived to the world:
“(1) Every human being has inherent intrinsic value: we are created in God’s image and deserve love, care, healing, and forgiveness. (2) Political renunciation of power: He never tried to impose His will on another. Every human being has the right and freedom to choose against Jesus. (3) Justice for the weak: Jesus focused unconditionally and deliberately on the marginalized of the world.
Jesus’ teachings that mankind’s sin is not only a moral issue but also a spiritual state of disconnection are essential; disconnection from God, self, our neighbor and creation. The depravity of mankind is an absolute empirical fact, but is mostly denied on an intellectual level.”
The human heart is capable of the most disgusting atrocities but also the most wonderful creativity for discoveries for our general interest. Ravi Zacharias goes on to quote the president of American Psychology, Hobart Mowrer (January 23, 1907 – June 20, 1982): “Liberation from it is seen as epoch-making. But in the end we discovered that being free in this way, in other words being sick rather than full of sin, can lead to us also being lost… When we became immoral, ethically neutral and free, we have cut off the roots of our being, we have lost our deepest perception of ourselves and our identity and we are now asking ourselves neurotically: Who am I, what is my main purpose, what does life mean?”
Anna Russell describes this thought in her song, “Psychiatric Folksong”:
“At three I had a feeling of Ambivalence toward my brothers And so it follows naturally that I poisoned all my lovers. But now I’m happy; I have learned the lesson this has taught, that everything I do that’s wrong Is someone else’s fault.”
When someone chooses to follow Christ, it must be a path of continual denial of the self. You must leave yourself behind and forget about yourself because He guides us daily to take up our cross of total obedience (Matt. 16:24). If we do not do this, we are deceiving ourselves and ultimately projecting our own view of the image of Christ onto ourselves and others.
The statements, “what-would-Jesus-do” or “be-like-Jesus”, are based on a false assumption. Man in his humanity does not have the natural ability to be like Jesus. However, we certainly have the potential, the predestined purpose of creation, to be like Jesus (Rom. 8:29). It is impossible to simply follow Him to an outward standard of good moral values without knowing and loving Him from experience, consciously, emotionally and spiritually. The outward manifestation of being like Christ is not the focus of Christian, spiritual formation. When external forms of behavior become the most important, the process will fail and fall into deadly legalism. Christians should not focus on being like Jesus. Christians need to focus on being with Jesus. This is what Jesus taught: “He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. ” (John 15:5).
Although Christian conduct is the litmus test of true Christianity, we must understand from the outset that He brings about “Christianity” in believing, obedient people. Oswald Chambers said, “Everything I do must be based on perfect unity with Him, not on my own determination to be holy.”
The Outcome of All Spiritual Activity Should Be Jesus Christ
Whether you have had an experience like Paul (he does not say his name) when he was taken up in the third heaven or whether you simply discovered new meaning in a scripture verse, all this should make you sound and look more like Jesus. Our character, attitude, values, way of thinking, lifestyle and identity must synchronize with Jesus. The focus of prayer is ultimately to become more like Jesus.
God does not need our praise. Praise is God’s tool in our lives to shape us to be like Him. That which you focus and worship becomes you. Preaching, admonition, correction, discipleship and teaching are all aimed at shaping us in the image of Jesus. The success of a ministry is therefore not only the size of the crowds and buildings, but the extent to which people begin to live and act like Jesus. The more we become one with Jesus, the more we will become one with each other and the world will believe that we are of God (John 17:21).
In Misty Edwards ‘song, “A Beautiful Heart”, she sings how perfect and pure Jesus’ heart is:
“There is no shadow of turning in You No rebellion or pride
You don’t know greed or envy or strife Your intentions are pure and holy
Delighting to do the Father’s will You don’t have a thought against Him
But humbly You live in perfect restraint
Waiting for promises given
Jesus, You have a beautiful heart
Jesus, You have a beautiful heart You’re gentle, You’re meek,
yet Your heart is strong
Jesus, Your gladness is contagious
You are not selfish,
You can’t compromise
You are the truth, You can’t lie
You don’t hold a grudge or have a cynical eye Bitterness has no part of You
But You’re quick to forgive,
let me back in again
Your kindness is so liberating”2
God ultimately wants all His children to have a beautiful heart like Jesus
The more we conform and transform to become adapted to these Jesus attributes, the more we find fulfillment in our own purpose of creation (Col. 3:2). We were created with the potential to be like Him. This potential is in every human being, but is perverted by sin. In our theology we sometimes focus so much on the depravity of human nature that we forget why God created man. Scripture is clear:
We were created to:
- To be dedicated to God (2 Tim. 1:9).
- To be His children (Eph. 1:5) (“Children” speaks of descendants, like Him, image bearers, the same character traits. Children, of course, reflect the characteristics of the parents.)
- To be holy and blameless before Him (Eph. 1:4). Holiness is therefore not a kind of self-driven piety, but rather an awareness of the Holy One’s presence.
- To unite everything under one head, namely Jesus (Eph. 1:10).
Jesus is perfect theology. Perfect theology and way of life is to live under the overall rule of Jesus Christ.We glorify God best when we live and act like Jesus. His rule simply indicates His way of life, according to His will. The more my life comes under His rule, the more I reflect on His character. If Christ is the purpose for which God created us, then it means that the potential to be like Jesus is already locked up in us.Focus on the Jesus Who Is Already In UsMany people try to imprint “their Jesus” on others, instead of manifesting the imprint of Jesus that is already within their being. It is very clear that the pattern and blueprint of man is not the devil, but Jesus. We were created in the image of God – not in the image of satan. However, this image is violated by sin. The more we are exposed to sin and begin to participate in it ourselves, the more Jesus’ image is distorted in us. 2 https://music.apple.com/za/album/beautiful-heart/1298136896?i=1298138053
Just as there is wickedness or sin in every human being (Rom. 3:23), so there is an imprint of Jesus in every human being. We choose to devote more and more of our limbs and human faculties to sin and satan over time (Rom. 6:15-23). Thus we became children of satan, dedicated to doing his will. However, when we repent and turn around, the path of devotion to God begins. The sinful nature is not a choice. We are born with a disease in world (Eph. 2: 3). Therefore, we must be “born again” to retrieve our divine nature (John 3: 3; 1 Pet 1:23). When we are born again, God again takes His rightful place of dominion in our lives and teaches us to live according to His blueprint – our purpose of creation. The destruction and devastation that occurs when we live against His will is clear. Just look at how a broken, horrible place the world has become because people live according to their own council decisions and choices. The opposite is also true: When everyone lives according to Jesus’ code of conduct and values, it will be heaven on earth. It will be a world without ambition, bitterness, revenge, hatred, selfishness, self-righteousness, self- enrichment, racism, egocentrism, injustice and disobedience.
Just as naturally as sin comes to man who has not yet been born again, so naturally and spontaneously holiness comes to the born-again person. Paul gives a touching explanation of this existence in Romans 7:19: “The good that I want to do I do not do, but the bad that I do not want to do I do.” However, the opposite happens to the born-again believer: We sometimes think of doing bad things but when it comes to the act, then we do the right thing without thinking. I find it hard to forgive someone, but when the person is standing in front of me, I want to forgive the person. Our nature has changed (2 Cor. 5:17). We are united with God and He now lives through us, as we allow Him.
For the Apostles, the End Purpose of All Their Ministry Was Always Christ
“My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you.” (Gal. 4:19)
“Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.” (Col. 1:28-29)
“For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” (2 Cor. 11:2)
“For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”(1 Cor. 2:2)
“For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Pet. 1:8)
“Till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” (Eph. 4:13).
“…idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.” (Gal. 5:20-22).
This means that the end goal of all the gifts and work of the Holy Spirit is also the nature and life of Christ. Fullness of the Holy Spirit is to be filled with the character of Jesus Christ. The fuller I am of the Spirit, the more I will reveal the nature and character of Jesus.
Holiness is therefore not how eccentric I can be, but whether I reveal the nature, heart and person of Jesus. Holiness simply means that I am full of God’s presence! When you spend a lot of time with someone, especially if the person has a very strong character, then you start to sound, talk and look more and more like the person. Our humanity spontaneously mimics the strongest character to which we are exposed. When Jesus refers to the fruit we bear, He is referring to the characteristics of God in our lives.
The truth of Jesus’ life is a universal principle and the church does not have a “copyright” on Jesus – the people who have made the most lasting impression on mankind over the centuries were the ones who lived the most according to Jesus’ life. Mother Teresa, Gandhi and Billy Graham to name a few. Although not all of them necessarily had an intimate relationship with God, nor were they necessarily professing Christians, their lives made the greatest impression on mankind because they were willing to live radically according to Jesus’ life. It is sometimes quite sobering to admit that many people who are not active professing Christians and churchgoers act and live much like Jesus in certain facets of their lives. Again, Jesus’ way of life is the best way to live this life. Many people find Jesus outside the walls of the church.
To Live Jesus’ Life Will Cost Your Life!
This is the mystery of the life of Jesus: You cannot imitate His life and try to divide it into steps like a self-help guru. His life will cost you your life: “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” (Matt. 16:24).
His lifestyle is in direct contrast to the lifestyle of the world. Matthew 5 to 6 are the most difficult chapters in the Bible to live out, so we love to talk and debate about them, because doing so is quite impossible for the self. Every act discussed and commanded here costs you everything. It costs you your rights, your dreams, your ambition, your own will. Everything! This is why so few people reveal the true character of Jesus, because although we sometimes do right and do good, His life is only possible when we make a total surrender to deny ourselves and do His will. It becomes a lifestyle – it is never easy and it never stops. Every true child of God is daily challenged to do things “differently.”
If you want to find your life, you have to lose it.
If you want to be leader, serve people.
If you want more, give away more.
If you want to gain prestige, be more inconspicuous. If you want to be free, set others free.
If you want to make war, make peace instead.
This is come to the place where you have to decide: Do I believe in Jesus or not? Are you going to live His life or not? There is no middle ground that is sustainable. Compromise works for a short time but does not stand the test of time and persecution. Some may try to do all the pretty good things for the prestige of people, but when persecution and tribulation come our way, then self-survival strongly comes to the fore. Someone who has lost his life in Christ’s Jesus’ life shines brighter under pressure. That is when His life shines brightest in us! Through the ages there have been a multitude of saints who have lived this life and in stark contrast to what the self wants to do. Therefore, every human being musteven today their lives shine His glorious light! Lives of self-sacrifice. They did not consider their lives precious, but were willing to obey God above all else. Their life calls us to complete this journey with them. May the church of the last days let His light and life shine even more through us.
People yielded to Him will reveal His character: contentment; humility; full of faith; noble and immovable in what is right and true; gentle; loving; full of zest for life and passion; agreeable and comfortable with themselves; joyful and happy; full of inner peace and tranquility, sensitive and active towards human need. These are people who testify of Jesus through their actions. So, you can notice Jesus’ life in their actions. Their maturity of character allows them not to live reactively even in opposition, but rather to reveal His way of doing things.
This life does not come by itself – it is not in man (Jer. 10:23). This only happens when we lay down our own lives and receive His life in faith (Gal. 2:20). We count ourselves dead (Rom. 6:11) and sacrifice ourselves in our daily lives as living, holy sacrifices to do His will (Rom. 12:1). As we wait on Him to teach us His way, the Holy Spirit comes to show us the way and leads us into the truth. He teaches us to forgive our enemies and persecutors, to set free and bless those who have robbed us, and to pray for those who abuse us.
Paul summarizes this life in 1 Cor. 4:10-15; 2 Cor. 4:8-18; 2 Cor. 6:3-10; 2 Cor. 11:23-28:
- Bless when you are scolded
- Tolerate when you are persecuted
- Comfort when you are slandered
- Be very patient
- Live his righteousness by living right:
- By purity
- Through knowledge
- Through patience
- By the Holy Spirit
- Through sincere love
- Through the Word of Truth
- By the power of God
- Through the armor of justice.
What Paul is showing us here is that in every crisis he has received a divine answer and strategy to overcome and stand firm. He is never a victim of bad circumstances, but through Jesus’ way of life he has found answers to overcome every challenge.How Do We Become More Like Jesus?You cannot be a spectator of this ‘Jesus life’. The only way to receive the blessing of His life is to live Jesus. You can therefore not receive it from someone else. He Himself is the source, otherwise we eat again from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. No one can do it for you and pay the price on your behalf. You must give up your own life and receive His life in faith. Only then does He work His life in you. “Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.” (Col. 3: 9-10).
You must receive Him. You accept His life as your own. You are, as it were, attracting Him as your new identity. To strive to be like Him remains a reaching like a carrot on a stick in front of a donkey’s nose. Striving is not enough. It’s like New Year’s resolutions that never materialize. NO, you accept His life in FAITH. I am buried with Jesus and He is resurrecting more and more in me every day as I obey Him in faith. The more I become aware of Jesus in me and begin to focus on what He already has done in me, the more I become like Him. How do you get the air out of a glass? By filling it with water. How do you overcome sin in your life? By being full of Jesus. Our focus is not sin, our focus is Jesus and the work He did for us on the cross. We therefore always seek first His righteousness, not our own (Matt. 6:33).
To be like Jesus is completely impossible for man. If I just think about all the characteristics of Jesus, I do not know where to start. Thank God that the Holy Spirit guides us and helps us in all truth. He guides us every day. He gives us daily instructions and leads us to trust Him. For each of us He gives relevant commands and instructions, because He is with each of us on a journey to the same goal – Jesus. As we hear and obey, it sometimes feels as if we also want to ask like Jesus: “Let this cup pass from me, Lord!” However, He cultivates the ability and grace in us to carry out the commission and as we do so, we experience a glorious resurrection in us. Grace is not given once, but is the powerful working of God working in us daily (Phil. 2:13). How do you know if you are living in grace or not? You know that it is not you, but grace. You have tried and failed a thousand times, but this time it is He who does the work in you. It’s not how hard you try, but how hard you believe in His work.
Whether you are already a follower of Jesus, or feel attracted to becoming a follower, know that it is a journey with a Person. We always try to talk about the starting point; somewhere a point on our journey, not the end point as if we have already reached it. He still leads us into the Truth every day. May the pieces of revelation of light in the study guide invite you to see the Light for yourself! Jesus helps us to mark, see and live our purpose of creation !!
My prayer for you the reader is with Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians: “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.” (Eph. 1:17-18).