Becoming more like Christ is a worthy goal, one that every Christian should work to achieve. But there is disagreement concerning which characteristics compose Christlikeness. Exactly how would a person feel and act if he was fully like Christ?
Many of us have a limited view of Christ. We believe that if we avoid sin we will be like Him. Therefore we concentrate on identifying sin and obeying the details of scriptural and man-made rules. We become absorbed with the “don’ts” of Christianity.
Certainly Jesus was sinless. No attempt to model a life after Him will be successful unless sin is avoided. But unless our Christlikeness includes more we will become dangerously like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day. Their morality included little more than “Don’t.”
Jesus’ life was marked by more than sinlessness. His was a life of service to others. On more than one occasion when He wanted to get away from the crowds and go to a quiet place with the disciples the needs of the people were so urgent and great that they intruded into His life. Then He would put aside His own needs and minister to those who were hurting.
His ability to do this was based on His personal, intimate relationship with His Father. His consistent, intensive devotional life enabled Him to be a servant to all. Because of that intimacy He was always aware that His power to serve came from God. This allowed Him to remain humble, even when others were urging Him to become their earthly ruler.
What then is Christlike? It is a life of service to others that comes from a humble spirit. It is always giving God the glory while doing the work of a good Samaritan. It is praising God while helping the needy. It is telling others the message of salvation based on the Father’s mercy and grace. It is loving everyone, even the unlovely.
If we are not increasingly willing to love and serve, we are not becoming like Christ.