As Christians, we realize that our goal in this life is to become more Christlike. But what does this mean to each of us as individuals? Maybe we need to examine the concept. Does “Christlike” mean exactly like Jesus in all ways except physical appearance?
Christlike means being like Him in spiritual qualities and having the same fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). But such similarity to Christ still leaves room for Christians to be different from each other in significant ways. These differences can lead to conflict and division within the local church. Or they can lead to the church having a more effective outreach to a greater variety of people.
Can two people be Christlike but not share the same sense of humor? Can they both be Christlike if one is financially cautious while the other is the “buy now and pay later” type? Can both be Christlike if they differ in preferred worship styles, witnessing techniques, recreational activities and methods of funding mission projects?
The answer is yes.
The Holy Spirit helps each of us become more Christlike, but he allows us to have specific talents, experiences, traits, weaknesses and strengths. During this “becoming” process we may actually become less like some of our fellow church members. But our unique, genuine Christlikeness will enable us to achieve goals for His kingdom that other church members might never reach.
Paul addressed this idea in I Corinthians 12:4-31. As children of the Father we must learn to accept and value the way the Holy Spirit develops Christlike qualities in our brothers and sisters. Individual soldiers in an army have varied skills and assignments, but they fight together for a common goal. In much the same way the Holy Spirit will produce unity despite our differences, if we just allow it.