“Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.”
In these verses, Paul gives us a primary pattern for the Christian life. God isn’t looking for cookie-cutter believers who all look the same, talk the same, and do the same things. Instead, God wants us to imitate His Son. Jesus walked this earth for 33 years, living a perfect and sinless life. Through the pages of Scripture, His example is still shining brightly today. What does it mean to imitate Jesus Christ?
Although Jesus was fully God, and already had all the wisdom and power He needed, He was constantly praying to His Father. The Bible records that Jesus prayed in public and in private. Before choosing His twelve disciples, He spent all night in prayer (Luke 6:12). He also taught His disciples how to pray and gave them a model of prayer (Luke 11).
Jesus challenged them to be faithful in prayer, “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.” (Luke 18:1) And He commanded them, “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matt. 26:41)
As humans, we struggle with obedience. Our hearts are naturally rebellious and self-willed, and we often don’t feel like listening to our teachers, employers, and supervisors. However, Jesus’ example puts us to shame.
When He was a child, Jesus obeyed His parents completely, despite their sin nature and imperfect parenting. He never rebelled against His teachers, priests, or authorities. And, throughout His life, He obeyed God the Father completely. The Bible tells us that He was, “obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:8) If we want to be more like Jesus, we ought to be obedient.
In James 1:19, God commands us, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” Throughout His life on earth, Jesus was slow to speak. This didn’t mean that He was shy or lacking confidence. Instead, He knew the power of well-timed words.
When the angry scribes and Pharisees called Him to condemn the adulterous woman, He drew in the sand. In Matthew 15, Jesus did not immediately answer the Canaanite woman who begged for her daughter’s life. Instead, He tested her faith and then healed her daughter.
When He was accused before Pilate, Jesus didn’t defend Himself. This fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah 53:7, “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.”
Like Jesus, we need to carefully weigh our words before speaking. This is a mark of true wisdom.
In 1 Peter 5:5, we read, “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.”
Jesus’ life was marked by authentic humility. He didn’t ask for worship, praise, or public recognition. He never demanded service or attention. Instead, He quietly served others. Jesus didn’t think of Himself as less than He was. Instead, He did not think of Himself at all.
Humility doesn’t mean criticizing yourself or focusing on your faults. It means forgetting about yourself and focusing on others. Like Jesus, we should be humble and submissive to others.
In John 15:11, Jesus promised a reward for those would obey His words. He said to His disciples, “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” Joy is the natural result of obeying God and walking with Him. If you’re not experiencing joy in your Christian life, there is a problem. Contact us at the local church’s prison ministries to learn more.
Which of these 5 character traits do YOU most need to develop? We’d love to hear your answers in the comments! At the local church’s prison ministries, we want to become more like Jesus every day.
Are you searching? Jesus has the answers for addictions and stubborn habits. For more information, send the Crossmans a private message here on Facebook or come to a church service at Prince Albert Baptist Church. Take the first step in a walk of freedom!
For more information, call (306) 940-9554 or email firstname.lastname@example.org