The one thing I have seen taught in church probably more than anything else is that we should be more like Christ. The word Christian itself is derived from the Greek word christianos, meaning “follower of Christ.” When this term is used to describe a person, in its original meaning, it would be almost like an apprentice, or someone who followed and learned from a master-worker the way of doing something. In our case, the master-worker is Jesus, and we are his followers who have the sole directive to become like Him, continuing on in His work by doing what He did and living how he lived. As in any apprenticeship, our entire lives should reflect what we are learning, and the rest of our lives will be spent being perfected in our work.
Today’s Grace and Truth Paradox study pointed out that the early church was extremely successful at drawing people in because they were so very much like Jesus. We could spend all day listing the positive personal character traits of Jesus – patience, kindness, wisdom, obedience, mercy, and honesty only being a tip of the iceberg. But the apostle John was able to sum up every characteristic of Jesus into two words – Grace and Truth. John 1:14, when speaking of Jesus, said “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (emphasis added). And verse 17 continues by saying “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” The traits that Jesus exemplified were Grace and Truth. The traits the early church modeled from Christ were Grace and Truth. And the traits we should model if we are to be more like Jesus are Grace and Truth.
What does this look like in our lives? Ask yourself these questions:
- Are you better at overlooking others faults or point out their flaws?
- Do you stand up for what is right or worry more about what people think?
- Are you full of pride or filled with humility?
- Do you look out for the needs of others or do you only think of yourself?
- Are you a demanding person, or do you treat others with gentleness?
- Do you stand unwavering for what you know is true, or are you willing to compromise in these situations?
If you’re anything like me, these questions hit a little too close to home. We know we have things in our lives that are not very Christ-like, and most of us want to change that. That’s a good thing. I hope and pray that we keep it up, that we keep on fighting our human nature to stay as we are, and that we keep on changing for the better. And I hope and pray that the world sees that we’re different, and that in that difference, they see Jesus and come to know Him. I pray that we grow in our ability to show grace and speak truth, just as Jesus did.