Ever noticed that you find yourself sounding like your friend? Perhaps, you’ve muttered something that they always say. How does that happen?
I am a people watcher, especially when I am taking my walks. It has been my observation that some friends even look alike. When I was in the workforce and would go out for lunch, often I would see coworkers/friends who dress alike, and usually are the same size. I have observed that females would sometimes wear the same sorts of outfits, same hair styles.
Why is that? Of course, we usually are attracted to people like us, and as we spend time together we begin to unknowingly adopt some of the same speaking patterns, laughs and sometimes tastes.
Time spent is the key, so I suppose that the same might be said if we would dare spend more time with Jesus. The more time that we would spend in his Word, where we find out who he is, what he’s done, what he likes and dislikes, the more we apt to become more like him.
What is it to be like Christ? Two main characteristics come to mind. The first characteristic to be like Christ is being “mission oriented”. Jesus always kept before him, that his was to do the will of his Father.
For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but to do the will of Him who sent me. John 6:38 ESV
Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. John 4:34 ESV
I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. John 9:4 KJV
What’s our mission?
Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Matthew 28:19-20 KJV
That should be what drives us, as Jesus’ mission drove him all the way to the cross.
The second characteristic is a denial of self. Jesus, in order to save his people from their sins, left the glory of heaven and subjected himself to live life in the flesh among those he created, willingly suffering temptations, rejection, humiliation, and even death on the cross to accomplish the will of his Father, which was to be the propitiation, final sacrifice for sin.
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Philippians 2:5-8 KJV
These two characteristics found in Jesus are not natural for us. Sure, we may be mission oriented about short-term projects, but if it goes on too long, we get distracted and move on. Denying ourselves is much more difficult. However, that is what Jesus called us to do.
If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. Matthew 16:24b KJV
If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because your are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master’. If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. John 15:18-20a ESV
Does it seem like a tall ticket? Jesus was willing to lay down his life for his friends. To become more like him requires a power greater than ourselves, the power of the Holy Spirit and a “new mind”. In fact, the Apostle Paul lays it out this way:
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice–the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:1-2 NLT
We really are like our friends because of the time spent with them. Jesus says that if we do love him, we will keep his commandments. Again, we learn of his commandments by reading his Word. I’m convinced that the more time we spend in the Word with the intention of learning of Jesus and his will, the more we become like him, the Greatest Friend to mankind, Jesus Christ.