4 Essential Steps: How to Live and Become Like Jesus
Updated: 4 days ago
You might expect this blog post to be about Jesus' attributes and how we can imitate them. But the answer to truly becoming more like Jesus is truly loving him – truly valuing him and what he has done for us. When we really value Jesus more than anything else, we will do whatever it takes to get to know Jesus better and become more like him.
This post is all about how to live like Jesus.
The keys to living like Jesus and becoming more like him, is to sincerely love and value him for who he is and what he has done.
This may be a tough pill for us to swallow – I know it was for me – but if we are struggling to become more like Jesus and live like him, do we really value him more than anything else? Do we really love him above all others?
1. We Must Really Love Jesus
What does a real love for Jesus look like? Here are the Apostle Paul’s own words in Philippians 3:10-11
‘I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead.’ (NLT)
2. We Must Value Jesus Above Everything Else
Valuing Jesus more than anything else looks like this. Our goal in life, what we consider our ultimate prize, is to do whatever it takes to experience and know Christ, even if that mean sharing in his suffering.
What does Paul mean here, by ‘experience the resurrection from the dead’? He is not simply referring to being brought back to life when he was once dead in sin, or the promise of eternal life. Jesus’ death brought death to sin, and a new life in Jesus makes possible a life which is blameless and pure. Paul new that he wouldn’t experience a blameless and pure life yet, but he looked forward to the day when he would be blameless and pure like Jesus. His ultimate goal in life was: to be like Jesus.
Where did Paul’s great love for Jesus come from? Why did he value Jesus more than any other?
3. We Must Truly Repent of Our Sins
To answer this, we need to see who Paul was and where he came from. Paul says this in Philippians 3:13
‘…I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,’ (NLT)
Why did Paul want to forget the past and look forward? What was it that he wanted to forget? Paul said this in 1 Timothy 1:15
‘…Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’ – and I am the worst of them all.’ (NLT)
Paul believed himself to be the worst of all sinners. He felt shame, guilt, and self-loathing. What did Paul do that was so horrible? Paul rooted out Christians, had them sent to prison, and put their names forward for the approval of their executions, including Stephen one of Jesus’ 12 apostles. Paul was a murderer of Jesus' followers.
Then Jesus himself, after his resurrection, appeared to Paul and changed his life forever. To Jesus, Paul was worth saving!
Paul repented of his sins, and Jesus forgave him for every. last. one. Jesus not only forgave Paul, but he paid the price for Paul’s sin. He took upon himself capital punishment – a death sentence – so that Paul would not have to.
Imagine being charged and found guilty of a heinous crime. Your victims and their families hate you. The world hates you. You sit alone in solitary isolation awaiting your death sentence.
But along comes Jesus saying that he will pay that penalty on your behalf. You are set free. The cell doors are opened wide, and you are free to go. Free to start a new life, completely forgiven.
How would you feel about Jesus? How would that change your life?
4. We Must Choose to Follow Jesus
Wouldn’t you want to know everything there was to know about him and wouldn’t you want to do whatever it took to be repay him?
Though we might not be heinous criminals, Paul says in Romans 3:23,
‘For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.’ (NLT)
And in Romans 6:23 he says:
‘For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.’ (NLT)
We are no different from that prisoner on death row. Before accepting Jesus as our Savior, we are all awaiting our death sentence.
Have we stopped to consider the gravity of what that means? Do we realize how great a gift Jesus gave to us through his death and resurrection? From a place of complete awe, gratitude, and humility at the thought of what our fate was going to be and how our lives have been forever changed, should spring the deepest love for Jesus. There should be nothing more valuable in our lives: not our families, friends, our jobs, money, status, entertainment, or anything else.
We’ve all seen how fans can behave and react over their heroes: musicians, movie stars and athletes. People will do anything to see their heroes in person, and they go through great lengths to model themselves and their lives after them.
Do we sincerely want to model ourselves after Christ? Is he our greatest hero?
What Does Being a Follower of Jesus Mean?
Some people think that becoming a Christian is all about going to heaven instead of hell. But is that really the whole purpose and point? And even if we don’t agree with that statement, do we find ourselves simply waiting it out - living the day-to-day life waiting for the day we get to go to heaven?
Is this what being a Christ-follower means?
How Did Jesus Live?
Being a follower of Jesus means living like Jesus and modeling ourselves after his character. We will only desire to live the way Jesus lived and mirror his qualities and characteristics if we admire him. If he is our hero and who we ultimately wish to become like.
Being a Christian requires more than just accepting God’s gift of forgiveness and righteousness, and then go about living any way we want. The life of a true follower of Jesus is not an easy one.
So, who is Jesus and how did he choose to live?
1. Jesus Loves Unconditionally
1 John 3:16 says this,
‘This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.’ (NIV)
1 John 4:19 says,
‘We love because he first loved us.’ (NIV)
Jesus’ way of loving was to put others’ needs before his own. Though we may not be called to sacrifice our lives for others (though some people have bravely risked or given their lives for the lives of others), this verse is talking about self-sacrifice: sacrificing our own comforts and needs to fill the needs of others.
2. Jesus Came to Serve
Jesus said, in Luke 22:27,
‘For I am among you as one who serves.’ (NIV)
And Matthew 20:28 says,
‘For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.’ (NIV)
Jesus’ life was not about him, but for us. This is how he showed us his love. In humility, Jesus came to serve others and ultimately die for us, even for people who hated him.
The attribute of servant-hood stems from loving others more than ourselves, even those difficult to love.
3. Jesus Is Our Humble King
2 Corinthians 8:9 says,
‘For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.’ (NIV)
Jesus is God and he deserves to be exalted above all else. But Jesus humbled himself to the lowest state so that we could be raised up and richly receive his grace and forgiveness.
4. Jesus Was Obedient, Even unto Death
Philippians 2:8 says,
‘He humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.’ (NLT)
Jesus modelled obedience for us - complete obedience - even when that obedience required him to be put to death.
Choosing a life of righteousness, as Jesus did, is a requirement of being a follower of Jesus.
Faith is All That It Takes to be Called a Follower of Jesus. But What is Faith?
Faith is most often associated with the word, “believe”. The Oxford dictionary says that to believe means “to accept as true or hold as an opinion”.
But is it enough to ‘accept as true’ that Jesus is the Son of God and that he died in our place so that we could be made right with God?
The Bible often interchanges the words ‘faith’ and ‘believe’, but the Bible’s definition of faith and belief has a deeper meaning than is commonly used by the world’s standards.
For example, the Greek word used for ‘believe’ in John 3:16 is pisteuo which means “to think to be true; to place confidence in; to be committed to”.
As you can see, it’s more than knowledge about something. There is also an action behind it: to trust and commit.
Dr. Michael Heiser defines faith as “belief and loyalty”. Anyone can believe in Jesus – even Satan believes who Jesus is – but we must also commit and be loyal to Jesus.
What do we have to commit and be loyal to exactly? We must commit to becoming like Jesus and obey his teachings. This is the definition of being a follower of Jesus.
Do you want to know how to live like Jesus? Becoming like and living like Jesus starts with realizing who we were before Jesus saved us, understanding the depth of what he accomplished for us, and loving and valuing Jesus – our hero – more than anything else this world has to offer.
Saturate: Being Disciples of Jesus in the Everyday Stuff of Life by Jeff Vanderstelt - there’s more—much more—to the Christian life than sitting in a pew once a week. God has called his people to something bigger: a view of the Christian life that encompasses the ordinary, the extraordinary, and everything in between.