[Jesus told his disciples,] "A disciple is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully qualified will be like the teacher" (Luke 6:40 NRSV).
The goal of every Christian is to be like Jesus. We want the life of Christ to come alive in us (2 Corinthians 4:10-11). We want Jesus to be as real in our lives as the clothes we wear (Romans 13:14; Galatians 3:26-27). Transforming us to Christ is the goal of the Holy Spirit for us (2 Corinthians 3:17-18). Seeing disciples become mature in Christ was the apostle Paul's goal for those he led to Christ (Galatians 4:19; Colossians 1:28-29).
Jesus is not only our Savior and Lord, but he is also the model on whom we are to build our lives! How he treated people is how we must treat people. How the Lord handled criticism is how we should handle criticism. As Christ gave himself passionately to the work of God, we must also devote ourselves to the work of God. How Jesus carved out time to be alone with the Father, so too must we.
James Nored talks about sharing in the life of Christ in today's video:
James' focus is on our faith in Jesus, our baptism to share in his death and burial and resurrection, and his pouring out the Holy Spirit on us as we come to him. Last week, we emphasized how these events in our own lives are our actual participation with Jesus in these saving events in his own life.[LASTWEEK] Our life is actually caught up with Jesus' victorious life, and we will one day share in his glory:
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory (Colossians 3:1-4).
As a disciple of Jesus, we not only are becoming like our Teacher, we are sharing in his life! We were joined with him in his death, burial, and resurrection in faith, through our baptism with him, so that our future is found in him (Romans 6:3-14). We unite our lives with him, and not even death can separate our connection with Jesus (Philippians 1:19-24; Romans 8:32-39). Because we are God's children like Jesus and with Jesus, we seek to become like him in this life because we will be like him in the next (1 John 3:1-3).
So, I believe the next question for each of us is clear: What do I need to do today to deepen my life in Christ?
- Do I need to join my life with Jesus in his saving death, burial, and resurrection through baptism?
(Colossians 2:12; 3:1-4; Romans 6:3-14)
- Do I need to get up each morning, remind myself that I am clothed with Christ, and go live demonstrating the faithfulness, righteousness, and compassion of Jesus?
(Galatians 3:26-27; Romans 13:14)
- Do I need to turn from sin and seek to live a life of holiness, honor, and purity in Christ?
(1 John 3:1-3)
- Do I need to reach out to the lost, broken, and marginalized like Jesus did in his earthly ministry?
(Matthew 12:1-21; Mark 1:35-45; Luke 7:1-17, 36-50; John 4:1-42
- Do I need to kneel before the Father and say, "Father, not my will, but yours be done"?
- Do I need to look beyond the troubles and trials of the moment and trust that glory awaits me in the presence of my Lord?
(Romans 8:18, 28-29)
You see, sharing our life with Jesus is a life-long journey, an exciting and challenging adventure. This life is far more than a bunch of religious-sounding trite clichés. Sharing our life with Jesus has practical implications for how we live each day. It is rooted in decisions that help us leave a Jesus-impact on others. We are seeking to leave a grace-filled trail of steppingstones that help others find their way to Christ. So, like Paul, let's recommit ourselves to sharing our life with Jesus:
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ — the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ — yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:7-14).