As far as Jesus is concerned, the more you copy Him, the better.
Very often, children do not like other children copying them. It is not unusual to hear them say, “Stop copying me” or “Stop being a Copycat“. But that is something that Jesus will never ever say to you. As far as Jesus is concerned, the more you copy Him, the better. In fact that should be our aim – to be more like Jesus every day. I found an article on the internet which said: “If there is one thing I have learned in my life as a follower of Jesus, it is that it is impossible to live like Jesus. I mean, after all, He was God! He lived a perfect life! If He is my standard, I’m throwing in the towel right now. But thankfully, we aren’t called to live like Jesus. We are called, however, to like Jesus“. My response to that is, “Well actually Jesus is our standard, but don’t throw in the towel! It is doable. And as for liking Jesus, I think you’ll find we need to do more than just like Him!” Seriously, teaching like this is exactly what the Church does not need.
Is that setting the bar too high?
Of course we need proof that Jesus really is our standard, so what Biblical evidence is there that we are supposed to be acting like Jesus? Plenty!!!! Let’s start with Philippians 2:5 from the New Century Version, “In your lives you must think and act like Christ Jesus”. Is that setting the bar too high? God doesn’t seem to think so, because in 1 John 2:6 He says, “Anyone who says he is a Christian should live as Christ did” (The Living Bible). And in John 13:34 from the Easy to Read Version Jesus said, “I give you a new command: Love each other. You must love each other just as I loved you” – we are not only called to love each other, but to love each other in the same way that Jesus loves us. We certainly are being set an extremely high standard, but is God setting is up to fail? Is it indeed time to throw in the towel? Before we answer that, here’s one more verse: “As children copy their fathers you, as God’s children, are to copy him” (Ephesians 5:1, J.B.Phillips translation). So not only are we supposed to copy Jesus, we’re also supposed to copy God the Father!!!! But don’t panic – hold on to your towel! It’s to time find out how……
What help did Jesus have?
One thing we can be sure of, is that we definitely cannot do this in our own strength. Jesus did indeed live a perfect life and was totally obedient to God, however during Jesus’ ministry He did have some help. Jesus was not doing everything in His own strength (although fully God, whilst on Earth Jesus was operating as fully man). So what help did Jesus have and is the same help available to us? Acts 10:38 in the J.B. Phillips translation gives us the answer to the first part of the question: “You must have heard how God anointed him with the power of the Holy Spirit, of how he went about doing good and healing all who suffered from the devil’s power—because God was with him“. To summarise:
- God anointed Jesus with the power of the Holy Spirit
- God was with Him
We can have total confidence that God is always with us.
If Jesus was operating in His position as the Son of God, He would not have needed any help because, after all, He was (and is) God. But the truth is that Jesus was operating as a man (which in no way questions His deity). Let’s look point two first: Can we expect God to be with us, as He was with Jesus? What does God say to those who shudder at the thought of trying to be like Jesus? God says, “I’ve commanded you to be brave and strong, haven’t I? Don’t be alarmed or terrified, because the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9, Common English Bible). God also says, “Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you” (Isaiah 41:10, The Message). We can have total confidence that God is always with us, and not just with us in the sense of standing there, watching us mess up and then offering some encouragement. No! God has promised to give us strength, to give us help, to keep a firm grip on us.
Confidence is holding on to a strong faith in God, that’s backed up with a complete understanding that with His help you can do anything.
— Joyce Meyer (@JoyceMeyer) 27 July 2017
What about point one though: Is the help that Jesus had through the Holy Spirit available to us? Short answer: yes! Jesus said in John 14:16, “I will ask the Father to send you the Holy Spirit who will help you and always be with you” (Common English Bible). I think we can agree that if Jesus asked the Father for something, He was going to get it. So the Holy Spirit is as available to us as He was to Jesus. (For more on why the Holy Spirit is essential to us as believers, you can check out my post: ‘The Holy Spirit – He’s Not An Optional Extra‘.) God has set a high standard for us, but He has also given us all the help that we need to live up to that standard. Furthermore, there is a very good reason why He wants us to fulfill this high standard. God knows that the more we follow His way of doing things; the closer we walk with Him; the more we copy, and become like, Jesus; the better our lives our going to be – because that’s where the blessings are! Everything God does is for our good, God doesn’t do anything to cause us problems, or to make things hard for us. God loves us and He wants the very best for us. So start being a copycat!
If you have any further questions or thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment.
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