How To Be More Like Christ…

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Jesus is my hero. I mean, really. I want to be just like him. He’s so incredible and amazing. He is funny (Luke 24:31), challenging (Matthew 6-7), and respectfully counter-cultural (John 8:7). He lived his whole life without sin (Hebrews 4:15), fulfilled prophecies (Isaiah 53), and literally changed the world (Romans 5:18). Seriously, no one could even compete. When I look at the Word, I see the way he lived on earth and think, ‘Wow, I would love to be just like that.’

So, how do we do it? How do we become like Jesus? The answer to that question is loaded. Searching the depths of Scripture, though, you can find example after example to follow. But in Peter’s first letter to the early church exiles, we find a charge to be like Jesus in one specific way. He writes,

“For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in His steps.” (1 Peter 2:19-20)

5 ws

Okay, let’s use some inductive Bible study skills, let’s look at this passage and ask a few of the 5 Ws and an H questions:

What are we called to do? Endure

When? When we do good and suffer

Why? Because that is what Jesus did!

How?  Peter answers this one too when we keep reading:

“He [Jesus] committed no sin, neither was any deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds, you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:21-24)

Christ, our example, really suffered, and he didn’t deserve it. He never sinned, but he was still criticized, hated, and had abuses hurled at him. However, He did not revile in return. He uttered no threats.

Instead, he kept giving himself over to God again and again. His last words before death were, “Father, into Your hands, I commit my spirit!” (Luke 23:46). He entrusted himself to the Father until the very end. And according to the 1 Peter passage, he did that so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.

2 Challenges

Believer, in this hear two challenges:

1) Endure in hardship. When hard times hit, know that you are not alone. Jesus has been there, and he gives you the strength to endure. He set an example of trusting the Father through it all instead of returning the pain inflicted on him. In His strength, you and I can do the same.

2) Die to sin and live to righteousness. It is why Jesus endured to the end. Let there be no other reason to live righteously than this: Jesus made you able. We know that righteous living does not guarantee a life without suffering. In fact, the implication of this passage is that suffering comes after good deeds, but we live righteously because we have been healed by the wounds of Jesus.

I have spent a few months visiting some friends in another part of the world. Years ago, they left everything they knew and moved really far away from home, like Jesus. They work jobs that they are over qualified for, choosing to serve the people around them, like Jesus. In my time with them, they have experienced complication after complication with their home. It just seems to be falling apart. At the same time, their children have all been really sick. Their youngest, a baby, had to spend several days in the hospital, hooked up to tubes, and was miserable. All of this is happening in the midst of people who are resistant to the good news of Jesus, and some days, it feels like they aren’t accomplishing anything for the kingdom. They suffer.

But in my time with them, I have also witnessed them endure. They know that they are dead to sin and alive to righteousness, unlike all of their neighbors. They know that Jesus is just too good to give up on. So, they trust God and keep going.

I am thankful to see the Word in action through my friends, but theirs is not the only story. If you are not living thousands of miles away from home or don’t have kids who are sick or a house to take care of, you can still relate. Suffering is a reality for everyone. Pain is pain. If your suffering is a bully at school, an illness you just can’t get past, circumstances that inhibit your dreams, or anything else, you can still follow Christ’s example. When suffering hits, let us trust God and endure. Every tear shed and moment spent in prayer; each reviling word unspoken and threat kept silent brings us closer and closer to the image of Him who created us. There is no greater example to follow.

Kristina received her degree in theatre from the University of Georgia. She first came to Transform Student Ministries as a Boot Camper, then, came back several years later as one of our Summer Interns, and has staffed at Boot Camp. Kristina loves the Lord with all her heart, and wants to follow Him fully! Her love for the Lord is contagious. 

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