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IN HIS LIKENESS

January 28, 2013

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Hebrews 12:2

 

We hear the term ‘Christ-like’ in regards to living a Christian life pretty frequently, all told; though it occurs to me that not everyone shares a universal definition of the phrase. To that end, I thought I’d take a few moments to examine my thoughts on the matter. So, what does it mean, to be ‘Christ-like’, do you think? Is it to live humbly, like He did? To live righteously, as He lived? Is it to stand for His word which we know to be true, and be willing to die as He died? I think it’s probably all of these things…and much, much more. But most important, I believe, is to share the love with which He loved the world. “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:34-35)

 

Love. To be ‘Christ-like’ is, above all things, the ability to unconditionally love those around you. To tolerate the intolerable, to forgive the unforgivable, to love the unlovable. This is the defining characteristic of a Christian: our capacity to love freely and indiscriminately. All other things flow from that one single ability…the ability to love. Paul tells us to “let love be without dissimulation” (Rom. 12:9); which is to say, without hypocrisy: to love all with the Godly love with which Christ gave so freely to all. I’ve said many times that, no matter where Jesus was, or what He was doing, or how busy He might have been, He never denied those who came to Him for aid. He never told them to come back later, or that He was in the middle of something, or that He didn’t have the time; no, Jesus dropped everything to help those who sought Him out, no matter the situation or consequences. How many of us can make that claim? We are told that the servant is not greater than his Master, and yet our Master Jesus Christ, the Son of God, would go the aid of all who asked – without hesitation! – while we, the servants, will not deign to do as much! So, if we would truly be ‘Christ-like’, then we must show the love of Christ to all! That co-worker you can’t stand, that rival you’ve not liked all your life, that no-good drug-addicted thief you despise…all are every bit as worthy of God’s love as you are! And, if we truly desire to be like Christ, then we must give it to them! “This is my commandment, that ye love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12). There is no justification, no rationalization, to not show God’s love to any and all. After all, one of His last acts in this world was to show His love by forgiving the thief on the cross next to Him.

 

When you look at the verse at the top, are we, too, “looking unto Jesus” as our guide and example? What was “the joy that was set before Him”, for which He endured the Cross? It was the love of the Father, perfected by the Son’s sacrifice: the ultimate love which expresses itself in the salvation we are offered, and the love with which we are expected to live with one another. So, today, let us all work just a little harder to show that love; let us strive to bear it close to our hearts, so that we might “rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.” (Rom. 12:15). Let our hearts be open, and receptive, and loving towards all those who share this life with us – ready to give whatever we might be able to give, as our Master and Savior was always prepared to do before us. If we would be Christ-like, than let us “abide in faith, hope, and love, these three,” for, “the greatest of these is love.” (I Cor. 13:13)

 

“For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” – Romans 8:29

Be blessed,

Joshua

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