I Don’t Look Like Jesus

5839424_sWhat makes one “like” Jesus? How does one know what to do in answering the question, “What would Jesus do?” What does it look like when Jesus is “formed in” us (Gal. 4:19)?  What does it mean to be “conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom. 8:29)?

I wish to be like Jesus, I really do. I want my life to look like Him. I pray that I am more like Him today than I have ever been. But I also know there are so many ways in which I am not like Him. I don’t look like Jesus when…

  • my response to humankind is anger or resentment or disgust instead of compassion (Lk. 7:13).
  • I cannot feel comfortable in the company of the irreligious (Mk. 2:15).
  • my only associations are other church people (Lk. 15:2).
  • people with wrecked and ruined lives do not feel comfortable around me (Matt. 9:36).
  • my own preferences and ideas carry more weight in the practice of my faith than does God’s own word (Jn. 4:34).
  • I do not possess an overwhelming sense of utter and complete dependence on God always (Jn. 5:30).
  • in helping serve people in need I fail to also point them to spiritual food and clothing and shelter (Jn. 6:27).
  • I isolate myself from the world (Lk. 13:22).
  • I think everyone will love me (Jn. 15:18).
  • protecting personal comforts prevent me from engaging the world (Lk. 9:58).
  • my family ties prevail over spiritual ties (Matt. 12:48-50).
  • I only preach to people and fail to serve them (Matt. 9:35).
  • prayer is only of marginal importance and infrequently practiced (Mk. 1:35).
  • tradition takes priority in my actions and practices over God’s own word (Mk. 7:8-9).
  • temptation cannot be met and defeated through the use of Scripture (Matt. 4:4,7).
  • I expect people to come to me and I am unwilling to go to them (Lk. 13:22).
  • if concern for the condition of lost souls is not the highest concern in my life (Lk. 19:10).

It appears that I don’t look much like Jesus.

Don’t get me wrong, it is NOT that our being accepted and received by God is based on our ability to emulate Christ. It isn’t as if He’ll love me more the better job I do of being Christ-like. That would put my standing with God on the basis of human merit and that is actually “contrary” to the gospel (Gal. 1:8).

Neither is this about heaping up guilt for our shortcomings. If it were, that wouldn’t be like Jesus either.

Instead, I need to know that growing up “to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” is the objective (Eph. 4:13). And, no matter how far I’ve made it, I still have a long way to go. There is no place to stop, no time to look around and compare my progress with others, no reason to despair and give up. He is there every step of the way to help, to encourage, to restore, to heal, to forgive, and to guide.

The fact that I’m not like Jesus in so many ways motivates me. It’s like Paul said, “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own” (Php. 3:12).


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