Remember when Jesus called his disciples? “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19). There are three parts to this…”Come”, “follow me”, and “I will make you fishers of men.” Relative to what we have been discussing, “Come” corresponds to ‘seeking’, for seeking corresponds to the receiving of a call to follow Christ. But what do you do after receiving the call? First, “follow me” then become “fishers of men”. That is, live a life like that of Jesus, then call out to others to seek and follow Christ themselves. This is a simple accurate way of looking at the entire Christian life.
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
Christianese really bothers me, but as you can tell, I’m throwing alot of it out there. What does it really mean to “be a disciple of” or to “follow” Christ? It means that we are aiming to become just like him. Sorry, more Christianese…what does it mean to “be just like him”? Does it mean that we ought to have the same divine powers as Christ? Does it mean that we should never marry because Christ never married? Does it mean that we should become itinerate Jewish Rabbis roaming Isreal on foot in sandles? Clearly, becoming “just like him” requires some thought about the ways in which we are to be just like Christ.
Let me give you some thoughts. I’ll chunk this into a series of categories…let me know what you think!
Personality. Personality is designed to be unique from person to person, therefore, we need not emulate Christ’s personality in full. If Jesus was laid back, but you are a naturally tight person…that may not be something you need to change. It would need to be changed only where your “tightness” is a reflection of fear, lack of contentment, etc. Peters aggresivness was not his problem; control of that aggressivness was the problem.
Ability. Again, out gifts and abilities range from person to person. Jesus was an excellent teacher; that does not mean that we all are. The important principle here is that you know your abilities and you use them for God’s purposes.
Divinity. Jesus is both fully God and fully man. While he was on earth, he demonstrated characteristics of both. We must not attempt to emulate the divine attributes of Christ – only the perfected manly characteristics.
Perfection. When Jesus was born, he had both a perfect spirit and perfect flesh. When we are born, we have a dead spirit and corrupt flesh. When we are born again, we are given a living perfect Spirit, but our flesh remains corrupt. Therefore, while temptation is not unique to us (Christ suffered just as we do), sin is unique to us. That is, moral perfection is unique to Christ alone. The significance of this is that our goal should be to strive for perfection, understanding and accepting the fact that we will not succeed until we die, as we suffer through temptation as Christ did.
Circumstances. Each person has a unique context in which they live their lives, and this context is an important factor in determining the “right thing to do”. We are not expected to arrange the same circumstances for ourselves that Christ dealt with directly.
Calling. God called Jesus to specific ideals, passions and functions. Some of these we share (e.g. caring for the poor, defending the weak, standing for righteousness, etc), but some we need not share (e.g. calling out the religious hypocrisy, drinking the cup of God’s wrath, etc). What are your ideals, passions, and functions? Which do you share with Christ? Which are unique to you? We all have a unique “calling”…just be sure it lines up with Biblical principles.
Jesus is the perfect example of holiness and righteousness in a human being and we need to do anything and everything to emulate that.
So, we don’t really need to be “just like him”. But, he is the perfect example of holiness and righteousness in a human being and we need to do anything and everything to emulate that. What are you doing to better emulate these the holiness and righteousness of Christ?
Ooops…that’s more Christianese. Let me try again … what are you doing to improve your knowledge of God’s truth through the Bible, iron out the imprefections in your character, and do the right thing more often?