We shouldn’t be surprised that things are getting worse, should we? If I remember correctly, the Bible explicitly told us that would happen (2 Timothy 3:13). But when things seem to be falling apart in the world around us, we have to constantly re-evaluate what it means to be like Jesus.
Does being like Jesus means we have to be a Republican? Does it mean we have to hate the LGBTQ community? Does it mean that we should cloister ourselves under the ground and wait for the end of Armageddon so we don’t have to expose ourselves to so much sin?
It seems to me that even a lot of people who claim to follow Jesus Christ are confused about how to be like Him in our current world-wide circumstances. Especially Americans. *Mentally preparing for backlash against this post.* I see people posting things like, “Well, they said this,” or “This person said that.” You know what? I don’t care. I want to know what Jesus said. And so here is a list of things Jesus told us to do as a reminder for me and anyone else who needs it.
What does it mean to be like Jesus?
I’m not going to ease into this, so if it smarts… good. I hope it hurts you just as much as it hurts me. Let’s feel the pain together and try to be more like Him, shall we? Feel the burn, people.
“But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, ‘You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.’” – Mark 10:42-45 NKJV
Whatever we think we’re entitled to… we aren’t. It’s just that simple. We are instructed to be servants. We are instructed to be last. Why? Because if we do that, we’re in good company with Jesus… the One who gave “His life a ransom for many.” Jesus sacrificed His own rights and entitlements unto death, and He’s the only one that actually deserved worship, praise, and any other thing He could be given. What should that fact do to our perspectives? God, I pray you would break us. Help us to see things the way You do.
“’Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.’” – Mark 11:24-25 NKJV
This verse is much more than a simple exhortation. Instead, this verse invites us to investigate to the very last recesses of our souls and ask the question, “Do I have anything against ANYONE?” But let’s be specific. I want to ask a question I think every single one of us needs to answer before our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ… Is there a specific group of people we hate? Do we justify our hatred by saying that this group is a group of sinners? Our entire world is one large group of sinners. I am a sinner. You are a sinner. We are all sinners. Jesus came to us while we were still His enemy in sin and died on the cross to cover our sin debt! Why do we assume He can’t do that for everyone?
How many of our prayers (unselfish prayers that honor God and fulfill His purposes in our lives) are hindered because we have things against others? It’s a question worth thinking about.
I’m just going to leave this one here.
“‘Therefore do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” ‘For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.’” – Matthew 6:31-34 NKJV
Also… here’s a verse I think most of us don’t believe anymore.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 5:10 NKJV
How Much Like Him Are We?
Maybe, like me, you’re frustrated with the state of the Church. Every day I have to resist the urge to become disillusioned with other Christians who say racist things or defend hateful positions or blame victims for being violated. It’s hard. They are not accurately representing Christ and that makes actually representing Him a lot harder. These days when I tell non-Christians that I am a Christian their enthusiastic response of meeting someone new dulls. That breaks my heart because it shouldn’t be that way. Jesus was passionate, compassionate, loving, and full of merciful truth. How much like that are we, His followers?
A lot of time I just want to keep to myself as to avoid all the posturing and arguments, but I know that’s not the answer. The only thing that gets me through, that helps me to emerge from my introvert cocoon everyday is to remember what Jesus said, what He did, and how He still transforms hopeless bitter people like I used to be into liberated loving children of His Kingdom.
The Short Version
I know you want me to answer the questioned I posed at the beginning of this post. I could do multiple posts on each (and in some cases I have covered these topics in past posts or in one of my books)… but the short answers are: Jesus would not be a Republican (or any politician… He’s the King), Jesus loves the LGBTQ community and wants to see them come to a saving knowledge of Himself, and to answer the third question… no bunker… we should avoid separating from people who aren’t in the church. In the world, not of the world doesn’t translate to completely apart form the world.
May the verses shared in this post penetrate our hearts, minds, and souls to be the change we need to see in today’s church body. Amen?
“As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” – Jesus (via John 9:5 NKJV)