I haven't had a particularly hard life, but I wouldn't say my life has been easy either.
Holistically, in my short, quickly approaching 30 years of living my biggest fight has been remaining warm, gentle and soft in a world that would prefer me be callous and cold.
To be Christ like in a world that would prefer me to be anything but.
But what does it mean to be Christ-like? What are the characteristics of Christ?
First, here is where I shamelessly plug in my very sage advice:
You need to read your Bible.
But, obviously I will also help by pointing you in the right direction.
Jesus' ministry can be found in the four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
In these passages you will find the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus detailing who He is and what He is like.
I want you to spend some time with God, searching these texts to answer the question of Jesus' character for yourself, so that you can deepen your relationship with the Christ you love. If you are here, reading this blog, I'm assuming you've experienced God on some level and you trust Him according to that experience.
But do you know Him?
Who is Jesus?
Jesus is kind.
In John 4, you will find the retelling of Jesus' encounter with a Samaritan woman at a well. Historically, the culture that Jesus was living in held the Samaritans in a low regard, and the fact that Jesus is recorded as not only talking to a Samaritan, but talking to a Samaritan woman who had had multiple husbands AND the man she was currently with wasn't even hers?!?!? Any body else would have walked by her, nose in air.
Yet Jesus takes the time to see her, to talk to her heart and offer her not just a casual acknowledgement and conversation, but salvation is something we as Believers need to take note of.
Are we kind to others for kindness's sake?
Jesus is loving.
In John 11 we find the retelling of Lazarus being raised from the dead. This miracle in and of itself is astounding, but let's take a closer look at how the encounter is described in the moments before the miracle:
"So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick. When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”-John 11:3, 4
"When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” -John 11:33-36
Jesus' love for Lazurus was so profound that when people talked of Lazurus, they talked of Jesus' love. Jesus loved loudly, even in life as just as profoundly in His own death.
Jesus who knew that He was going to perform the miracle of resurrection for Lazurus, still wept when He saw His friend dead in the grave, he still grieved for someone he cared deeply for.
Do we love others as deeply as Jesus loves?
Jesus defends the weak.
John 8 Jesus saved the woman caught in the act of adultery, and really in every place where he calls the pharisees hypocrites. The religious leaders preyed on those who didn't know any better and those they held almost tyrannical power over.
The point that always stands out to me in this woman's encounter with Jesus, is Jesus' priority to save her life. This woman was wrong. She was literally in the middle of having sex with a man that was not her husband and Jesus' response was not to pick up a stone himself or even to recount her wrong in front of those who had already condemn her.
He redirected the attention to those who were ready to kill her and chastised them into leaving her alone. After she has been spared her execution, Jesus tells her to leave her life of sin and sends her to continue living her life.
We can learn so much from Jesus! Notice how he rescues her from those who would persecute her, before correcting her wrong.
Do we defend the weak? Or are we persecutors?
Jesus is humble.
In Matthew 16, Jesus is talking to the disciples and they're trying to figure Him out. He walks in the confidence of His calling, stating in truth who He is. He is never arrogant, He only ever informs others of who He is. He is constantly pointing all glory and honor back to His father in Heaven, always careful not to give credit to His earthly form.
Do we live our lives in service to our Heavenly Father?
Jesus is forgiving.
Luke 23:34 says,
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.."
These men have falsely accused and executed Jesus and in His dying breaths He asks the Father to forgive them, because He understands that they were driven to anger by pride and didn't truly understand what they were doing. Can you imagine extending such compassion to your murderers? Which also leads us to our next characteristic...
Jesus is compassionate.
Matthew 15 we find the retelling of an instance where Jesus fed the multitude because He knew that they were hungry. He is thinking of the needs of the people who are choosing to follow Him and is meeting those needs miraculously.
Jesus is a leader
In Mark 6 Jesus calls the disciples to take what he taught them and teach others. Verse after verse in the Gospels we find examples of Christ educating, delegating, and leading by example.
I'm sure when you continue your personal study, you'll find more. I would love to know what you find in the comments below!
But, I will leave you with this:
God isn't asking us to do anything that He didn't ask Jesus to do first. He intentionally allowed Himself to take this fleshly form as an example for us to imitate and if God went through all the trouble to relate to us, to draw and follow a blueprint, the least we can do is read it.
Grab your #Christlike t-shirt in the Highly and Humbly Shop and remind yourself what you stand for.