Online Articles

Online Articles

Can We Be Like Jesus


I Peter 2:21 makes Jesus our example when it says, “Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps”.  I recognize this statement is made in the context of suffering; it also (in my opinion) suggests much more than just following His example in suffering.  We are often encouraged to be more like Jesus.  One of the songs we sing, “O to Be like Thee” expresses both a wonderful and proper sentiment.  In some ways we cannot be like Him: we have no miraculous powers, we have only limited wisdom, we are not sinless, and we do not receive our instruction directly from God the Father as He did.  Yet, there are many ways in which we CAN be like Him, maybe more ways than we might think.  I have heard some use the fact that we are not sinless, as He was, as an excuse to willingly do sinful things.  (That is an entirely separate discussion to be held later.)  How, then can we be like Jesus?

Our Attitude toward God:  We can be like Jesus in this way.  “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me” (John 6:38).  This passage assigns purpose to His coming into the world, why He was here.  Jesus put the things of God first in His life and teaches us to do the same (Matt. 6:33); and we can do this only if we love God supremely, with all the heart, soul, and mind (Matt. 22:37).  If we really wish to do so, we can be like Jesus in our attitude toward God.  Are we like Him in this way?

Our Attitude toward God’s Word:  This too, is a way we can be like Him.  Jesus said that God’s word is truth (John 17:17), and He said that He would speak just what the Father had said unto Him (John 12:49,50).  We should already know that God’s word will give us the answer to all that God expects of us (II Tim 3:16).  When we offer anything more than God’s word, we are saying that God’s word is not sufficient.  This is true whether we like it or not; whether we intended it or not.  We can have Jesus’ attitude toward God’s word.

As a Teacher:  This thought is extremely important to each of us.  His example in teaching applies to all of His followers.  God set the course of His teaching about 1500 years before Jesus was born, “I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him” (Duet. 18:18).  In Acts 3:22, Peter quoted this verse and applied it to Jesus.  Let’s look closer at this OT passage.  According to this statement, God was to put His own words in the mouth of Jesus; and Jesus was to speak all that God commanded Him.  According to John 17:8, Jesus gave the very words which He received from the Father to the Apostles.  We already know that the Apostles wrote those words down as received, and we have them in the pages of the gospel (Eph.3:1-5; I Pet.1:25).  Based upon these facts, we can accurately say, if it is not in the gospel, Christ did not speak it; If Christ did not speak it, God did not command it!  Jesus never left anything unsaid that needed to be said.  He never tried to entertain an audience, but always kept God’s word before the people.  He was not mean in His tactics or methods; at the same time He was plain and often pointed.  Even His enemies recognized the source of His message (John 3:2; Matt. 22:16).  Jesus taught daily (Matt. 26:55); and He called names when necessary (Matt. 23).  Jesus spoke all that God commanded, nothing more and nothing less.  In this we can be like Jesus.

Our Attitude toward the Lost: One verse plainly shows Jesus’ attitude toward the lost, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).  Such is the purpose of preaching the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15, 16).  The gospel is God’s power to save (Rom.1:16).  Jesus had this in mind as He constantly urged men to believe and obey the message from heaven.  The death of Jesus for the lost is sufficient proof of His attitude toward the lost.  Paul had the same attitude toward his fellow Jews (Rom.9:3).  If we love the lost that much, we will find ways to talk to them about their soul’s salvation.  We can be like Jesus in this as well.

Our Attitude toward Error:  For some one thousand years before Jesus was born, the Psalmist plainly stated the right attitude toward error, “Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way” (Psa. 119:104).  Jesus manifested this attitude constantly.  He knew the danger involved --- that false ways would lead people to hell.  This would defeat the very purpose for which He came into the world.  Do we have the same attitude for error that was shown by our Lord?  We can.

Our Attitude toward False Teachers:  Yes, we most certainly need to be like Jesus in this respect.  In Matt. 23, He repeatedly called them by name and condemned them.  Falsehood cannot spread without the false teacher to spread it.  Jesus knew that the false teacher must be challenged, exposed, and urged to repent.  God’s people must have protection from the false teacher and his error.  I think this can best be provided by those who teach and preach God’s word.  But it is not restricted to these, nor to the Pastors.  Jude 3, so often falls upon deaf ears, “Beloved, ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”  We can have Jesus’ attitude in this area.

Our Mind Set:  One passage is sufficient here: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil.2:5).  To focus our attention on this truth, we should remember that with the mind we think, feel, and purpose.  Therefore, to be like Jesus here, we must learn to THINK, feel, and purpose as did HE.  We can be like Jesus in this.

In Morality:  Was Jesus guilty of adultery, or a drinker of intoxicants?  Did He take the name of His Father in vain, or did He steal, lie, or cheat anyone?  NO.  He “did no sin” (I Pet.2:22).  “If we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin (I John 1:7).  Add to this last verse vs. 9, and we have the means by which we may eradicate our own sins.  However, both those thoughts begin with an “if”.  Yes, we may be like Him in morality, but it is not unconditional; and, it often takes a good deal of effort.  When we do those things, that are wrong, or questionable, over and over, the result will so be a “hardened heart” toward these things.  Then we will continue in sin, while denying it all the time.  We must be like Jesus in morality, and we CAN.

As a Child:  Yes, we can start early in being like Jesus.  Parents have an obligation to their children to point them in this direction (Eph. 6:4).  Please read Luke 2:51, 52).  Verse 51 tells us that Jesus was “subject” to His parents, then in verse 52 says, He “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”  In this verse, we can notice at least four ways in which Jesus grew: intellectually, physically, spiritually, and socially.  Do you wish your children to be like Jesus?  Of course!  Then, here is your job.  And it can be done.

Other ways:  There are other ways in which we should be like Jesus.  By showing no respect of person (Matt.22:16; James 2:9); in humility (Matt.11:28-30; Phil.2:7-8); in not seeking revenge (I Pet.2:23); His prayer on the Cross (Luke 23:34); and His obedience to the Father (Phil.2:8; Heb.5:8,9.  The list is almost endless; and, we should set our sights higher and higher, from day to day, to be like Him, until finally we stand in His presence and hear Him say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

I do not believe it is expecting too much that we plan, or try to be like Jesus by asking ourselves the question “What would Jesus do about this?”  That pause for God’s approval can make all the difference.  We CAN be like Jesus.  May God grant us peace, wisdom, and courage to be like Jesus.

Larry Lauderdale