Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Christ as our Example

One of the reasons Jesus came into the world was to give as the example of how a child of God should live. He was a model or pattern. Peter says, ‘Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow in His steps’, 1 Pet 2.21. Paul prayed, ‘I am in travail till Christ is fully formed in you.’ Gal 4.19.

Christ is our example. Paul says, ‘Imitate me as I imitate Christ.’ [1 Cor 11.1] Or ‘Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.’ [NIV] Jesus told His disciples, ‘Follow Me.’ We have to walk in His steps. We have to ‘walk as He walked’, 1 John 2.16. It is not something static, we have to ‘walk’. It is more than looking into a mirror; we have to walk in the path of obedience, appropriating His grace, and then we will know what it is to ‘follow Him’ or ‘emulate Him’.

Paul tells Timothy, ‘Be an example.’ 1 Tim 4.12. Paul tells Titus, ‘Be a pattern of good works.’ Christ was a pattern of good works, and His life was the model of a holy and separated life. Though He was ‘in’ the world, and was a ‘Friend of sinners’, yet He was not ‘of’ the world. His was a heavenly, a spiritual walk, but extremely practical.

Jesus said, ‘Learn of Me; I am meek and lowly.’ Matt 11.29. Do we have the lowliness and meekness of Christ? A change has to take place in me, as I am being transformed into His likeness. Others must see the meekness of Christ, the patience of Christ, in me. James says, ‘Take the prophets as an example of suffering and patience.’ Jas 5.10. Paul tells Timothy that his life of long-suffering was a pattern to the believers [1 Tim 1.16].

We often need to ask the question, ‘What would Jesus do [in this situation]?’ When we examine ourselves, we realize there is so much carnality, so much impatience and intolerance, so much lack of understanding, so much of a critical spirit, so much of the flesh and the world in us. It will take a long time, and a deep work of the cross, before we are transformed into His image.

This is not following Christ in an outward way. Thomas a Kempis wrote ‘The Imitation of Christ’; which was ‘outward’. We have to know Christ in an inward way, and as we keep ‘looking unto Him’ we are being changed into His likeness day by day. Remember, the Lord is faithful, and He will do it! [1 Thess 5.24] 

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