The only way I can live like Jesus is if Jesus lives in me.
Me trying to be like Jesus is most often a pathetic attempt to appear ultra-spiritual and devout. To be something I’m not. It can rub people the wrong way and leave them underwhelmed, not wanting more. But Christ in me, the hope of glory...that’s a different story. Then, and only then, can the people around me get a grasp of the true God. The one who loves, forgives and transforms.
Paul had it right: I am crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me (Galatians 2:20).
Christianity is not about trying to be like Jesus, it's about Jesus living in me through the power of the Holy Spirit. The Son of God - living, breathing, loving, here on earth. Through me. I don’t completely understand it but if God says it, I believe it. To be clear, it’s not just a change of behavior. It's a change of heart (See 2 Cor. 5:17; Ezekiel 36:26). I know several moral, law-abiding, decent humans who have 'good' behavior but they want nothing to do with Jesus.
Jesus Himself said that He did nothing on His own but spoke what the Father taught Him. Who am I to live differently, independent of God?
In several examples from the Word of God, we see that Christ dwells in the believer. This happens through faith the moment I believe on Christ (See Col. 2:9-14; Eph. 3:17). But it doesn't stop there. The Spirit of God is actively at work to form the character of Christ in my life. Isn’t that amazing? God wants Christ Jesus to be manifested in my life! This on-going process, often referred to as sanctification, can only happen if I die to self and, simply put, get out of the way!
The more I get out of the way, the more Jesus can be seen.
He must increase, I must decrease (thank you John B.). I've learned that what hinders my growth and spiritual maturity most often are not people, trials, or temptations. It’s me. My flesh. The roots of my old nature, screaming for attention and TLC.
It comes to this: I want to be like Him. But I'm not Him. So, what do I do?
1 - Die to the world and self, live for God (Gal. 2:20;6:14)
Read and prayerfully study Galatians 2. Paul wasn’t saying now that he has received the revelation of Gods truth, he has new motivation and a positive attitude so that he can speak and act differently. Even though he did. He wasn’t saying that because of the finished work at the cross, he can now modify his behavior in such a way that people will think he’s like Jesus. He was saying that he died and Christ lives. What? Yes, to really live in Christ is to die. We don’t have to get philosophical about it. It’s not about embracing a new lingo, memorizing hundreds of verses or staying busy in the church and community (not evil things in and of themselves). It’s about dying to self. Practically said, be so in awe with God, seeing Him for who He really is (as revealed in His Word, not modern culture), that you become numb, lifeless to the things of the world and the inklings of your earthly desires. Turn your eyes, the eyes of your heart, upon Jesus.
2 - Be rooted in Love (Eph. 3:16-19)
I’m nothing without Love. God is love. So, I’m nothing without God. This is and must be the root of all that I do. The knowledge of Christ is directly related to the love of Christ. I can’t be filled with the life and knowledge of Christ if I’m not overwhelmed by the love and grace of God. The more I love Him and press in to Him, the more I know Him. Revelation is for lovers. He reveals Himself to those who want to really know Him. To love Him is to want Him. And to keep wanting Him. And only Him.
3 - Glorify God in your body and spirit (1 Cor. 6:15-20)
Jesus was pleasing to the Father even before He began his earthly ministry. Before He did anything, he was pleasing to the Father because He was His Son. And the same is true with us. However, this doesn’t mean God can’t be displeased with me. My being accepted by God, because of what Christ has done, doesn’t mean I can’t bring Him sorrow by what I do, think or say. So how can I glorify a God who is already glorious? By living as if He’s really the Lord of my life. If He has given me a sound, renewed mind and the capacity to discern between good and evil, I must put it into practice. In my body and spirit, I must keep Him on the throne. Not me, Him.
Is that it? Die to self, be rooted in Love and glorify God? Well, yes and no.
If I do these things, through faith, and do not quench the Spirit of God, Christ will have the space and place to make residence in my heart. To abide. He’ll be pleased to remain in the house and be Lord of every area I surrender. But I must keep on doing it, by the grace that He gives.
Thank God for that. It’s so much better than my look-alike Jesus.
Keep the Fire Burning,
with Danny & Daniela Kovacs
No family is an island. Join us as we share candid discussions, Biblical advice & resources to help keep God at the center of your faith, family and career.