Journey with me as we consider how can we become more like Jesus. Let’s reflect on what we need to do to become a disciple of Christ that truly gives glory to God.
Jesus predicted that His faithful disciples would imitate Him:
“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” John 14:12
Jesus also said, “Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.” John 14:11
If we want to become more like Jesus we must begin by understanding the critical importance of being ONE WITH GOD, DEPENDENT ON HIS GRACE.
Being like Jesus – Be ONE with God the Source of All Holiness
Jesus said, “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” John 5:19
So if we want to be like Jesus we must strive to live in a communion with Our Lord Jesus. This is the essence of holiness –living in a consecrated relationship with God such that His Holy Will is always done.
Being like Jesus is not a part-time pursuit; it’s a life long sacred commitment that begins when we choose to make Jesus the most important person in our life.
We must be ready to silence our desires as we strive to understand what God desires from us.
Recall Our Lord’s struggle in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus was contemplating His death. “…With his face to the ground Jesus prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:39
If we want to be like Jesus we must be ready to pray the same prayer, “not my will but thy will be done.”
This disposition is a holy disposition. To be holy is to always pursue God’s holy will even if we have to suffer to accomplish this.
So let’s recap.
If we want to be like Jesus we must give our life to Him. We must enter into a sacred intimacy with Jesus where we continuously strive to understand and pursue God’s holy will.
This necessitates learning about what God wants from us and allowing Jesus to be our teacher.
Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:29
Jesus calls His disciples to follow Him and to learn from Him. The yoke of Jesus Christ connects us to Him in a communion that brings peace to the soul. That promise alone should motivate more souls to want to follow Jesus.
Being like Jesus – Be Patient, Be Humble, Be Obedient and Be Ready to Serve
“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death– even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2: 5-11
I urge you to consider that humility is considering ourselves to be nothing and God to be all.
Imagine being a sacred vessel consecrated to God. You are His precious channel. God Himself wishes to dwell in you and to use you for His divine purpose, but before He can do this you must consent to being all His. You must empty yourself of sin by confessing your sins to God and seeking His forgiveness and purification. A sacred vessel empty and cleansed by God for God can then be put to use as God fills His vessel with His Holy Spirit and His very own Body and Blood through the Sacrament of the Eucharist.
Pride is the opposite of humility. If we are proud we do not acknowledge our need for God. But if we are humble we acknowledge the truth that without Jesus we cannot accomplish God’s divine plans.
Jesus teaches us in powerful images. He says: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.” John 15:5-6
A branch is an extension of the vine but if it disconnects from the vine how can the branch survive?
So if we are humble we will reflect on our need to stay close to Our Lord for guidance, instruction, always asking through a persistent prayer for His grace to show us the way to holiness.
Obedience to God is only possible through God’s power and love within us. We must strive to spiritually discern God’s Will and God’s Way and this is not something we can do on our own. It is God dwelling within us that reveals to us what He wills for us to do. With patience and persistence we will learn to follow Jesus as He desires.
Everyone likes to be served but Our Lord taught us that if we are to be like Him we must serve. Remember how Jesus bowed down to His disciples at the Last Supper to wash His apostles feet. Loving God and loving one another is a mission of service. As we begin to see Our Lord in one another we are afforded an opportunity to love God as we choose to be compassionate to the many needs around us. This can take so many forms. I personally believe this service must begin within our own homes as we strive to help those that are nearest to us. The service must extend to everyone we encounter in a spirit of cooperation. I worked in very large enterprises most of my life and it always surprised me how a spirit of competition between employees limited success and innovation. If we want to become more like Jesus we must be willing to share our talents without consideration of ‘what’s in it for me.’
Being like Jesus – Be Truthful and Don’t Cheat; Teach by Example
If we want to be like Jesus being authentic and honest is critical. We can’t say we are disciples of Christ and then lie on our tax return. That doesn’t mean we have to like paying taxes but we shouldn’t be breaking the law or contributing to the ‘black market’ to escape paying taxes. We should advocate for our political leaders to close loopholes in order to make the tax system fairer for all.
Jesus said, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” Matthew 22:21
Jesus wants to help each of us connect with the truth about why we are really on earth.
What is your purpose in life?
Each of us are called to serve God and to give Him glory. That’s the essence of a life dedicated to God, but if you don’t understand this sacred truth, you may be lost in a lie about what your life’s purpose is really about.
Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
Turn to Jesus in a quiet prayer and ask Him to reveal His truth to you. Read and study the Word of God and you will discover how much God loves you, how very precious you are to Him and how He wants to work through you to spread His truth and His love in the world.
Before Jesus ascended into heaven Jesus said, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20
These instructions are commonly referred to as the ‘great commissioning’. All followers of Jesus are called to help Jesus “make disciples”. We do this in so many ways. When we teach our children to be patient, to pray, to share, to be kind, to forgive, to say ‘I’m sorry’, we are forming disciples. When we are charitable with our time and resources we are being disciples and those around us may be inspired to do the same.
Being like Jesus – Be Pure, Don’t Lust
Jesus said “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” Matthew 5:8
“Whoever loves a pure heart and gracious speech will have the king as a friend.” Proverbs 22:11… and that King is Jesus Christ!
Jesus said, “Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness.” Luke 11:34
Jesus cautioned people to not lust. “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:28
Lust is born from the senses; but true love is born of the Holy Spirit of God. If we want to be pure like Jesus then we must keep our focus on the things that are pleasing to God. We should not be looking lustfully at one another or even at things.
Now you may be thinking ‘that’s impossible’ and in response I would say “for God all things are possible” Mark 10:27. Let Jesus live in you and be surprised at what will happen!
Being like Jesus – Forgive, Be Merciful, Be Loving and Just
Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” Matthew 5:7
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” Luke 6:37
This instruction does not mean we should not judge between right and wrong. Discerning what’s good and just is critical. Society must enact laws that call out wrongful behavior. Unfortunately, though, in many cases our man-made laws do not reflect God’s holy will, legalized abortion is one example.
God doesn’t want us to judge the hearts of our neighbors. All of us carry different crosses. I was abused as a child and as a consequence I am not the most trusting person. I have been broken in ways you probably won’t understand. People like me are often misunderstood; don’t judge my heart and I won’t judge yours. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t help one another judge what’s wrong in our world or in our life as we strive to find new, creative ways to address the many problems facing us. We must challenge one another to new innovation as we seek solutions to address injustice and hypocrisy – including corruption within our churches.
Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35
At the beginning of my spiritual journey, over fifteen years ago, I heard God’s voice in my heart asking me this question: “What is love?” To this I answered “love is a feeling” and a gentle, loving voice said “wrong”. So I asked God, “What is it then?” and God replied, “Love is a choice”.
I realized that I was making choices that did not please God. Jesus helped to understand that true love is all about making choices that are difficult. Choosing to love people that you don’t like in order for love to triumph over evil is all about making a choice in spite of how you feel. That’s what Jesus did on the Cross. He died a horrible, tortuous death because He chose to love sinners!
Being like Jesus – Be Brave, Don’t be Afraid, Persevere, Deny Yourself and Carry Your Cross
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18
All over the world so many Christians have been martyred because they believe in Jesus. Let us pray that Jesus gives us the courage to do all that He wills and to witness to our faith in Him. Sometimes that requires that we put ourselves in dangerous situations.
Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” Matthew 16:25
Fifteen years ago I heard Jesus calling me to follow Him. This calling ultimately resulted in me leaving the business world, learning the Word of God and becoming an evangelist. I used to be an IT evangelist. I used to help businesses and educational institutions understand how to use IT to improve their success. Now I preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to try to help people improve their life. One door closed and another one opened. I have had to embrace some hardships including loneliness and rejection. I have had to ask God for the courage to do His will (not mine) and Jesus has graciously embraced me, taught me, loved me and kept me close to His heart…and He will do the same for you, if you let Him. Invite Him in!
Being like Jesus – Be a Peacemaker and Pray, Pray, Pray
What distinguishes Jesus the most to me was His willingness to give all to create peace between God and mankind.
Did you know the name Jesus means “God saves”?
Jesus is “The Christ” which means “The Anointed” or “The Chosen One”. God chose to save mankind through the “Anointed One” – Jesus Christ.
If we want to be like Jesus we too must choose to help God to save souls.
Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Matthew 5:9
So many souls are in jeopardy today because the power of evil has preyed over them. Greed, lust, promiscuity, violence, corruption, war are all the work of evil in our world and that evil takes souls from God.
Disciples of Jesus are called to help create peace in our world. I am horrified as I read about the ongoing political threats from North Korea for nuclear destruction! We are in urgent need for the Spirit of God to silence the force of evil in our world that is threatening to annihilate countries by nuclear war.
Remember the promise of God:
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
The Holy Spirit of God is the Spirit of Love, Peace and Truth. Let us pray for God to send His Holy Spirit to silence the evil threatening peace in our world.
Please join A Peaceful Revolution in the Name of Jesus Christ, a global peace movement, that is uniting Christians in a daily prayer for peace @ the Time Jesus died for us, 3pm (in our local time zones). At this time remember the greatest love the world has ever known, and will ever know, the love of Jesus Christ and pray for His Holy Spirit to change the world, one soul at a time.
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13