Read: Matthew 10
“The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household.” (Matthew 10:24-25)
When I first became a Christian, I assumed it was blasphemous to seek to be like God. After all, isn’t that how the serpent tempted Eve when he told her, “when you eat from it … you will be like God” (Genesis 3:5)?
But then I was introduced to verses like these (10:24-25), where Jesus Christ clearly taught his disciples that they should be like him. Elsewhere, God directly says, “Be holy, for I am holy.” (Six times in Leviticus and twice in 1 Peter.) Paul’s advice is to imitate him (Paul) as he imitates Jesus (1 Corinthians 11:1).
It is now apparent to me that where people seek, in their hubris, to make themselves like God through their own efforts (as Eve did), they sin. But where we respond to the call of Jesus to follow him, to follow his example, to be like our teacher and master Jesus Christ, to be holy as the LORD is holy… in this, there is no sin, only sanctification.
These verses and others like them are the reason part of my tagline at crux.live is live Christ.
In my character, I am to seek to live like Christ, with the Spirit’s help. In doing so, I should expect to be persecuted, just as my teacher and master was persecuted.
The wider the gulf between contemporary culture and Christ-like holiness, the more Christians will suffer persecution for their resemblance to Jesus. This is what is currently happening to Australian sportsman Israel Folau for his (biblically-based) social media comments. Persecuted Christians need to cling to Matthew 10:32, where Jesus promised, “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.”
A disciple of Christ manifests the likeness of Christ.
LORD God Almighty,
Your Son was perfect and yet he was persecuted.
Jesus was sinless and still he was slandered.
May I give glory to Jesus Christ in my everyday ordinary Christian life. May I never be guilty of persecuting Christ, and never slander his name.
Please make me like Christ, my teacher and master. Make me compassionate and wise, confident and generous, merciful and hopeful. Make me shrewd and innocent. Help me to manifest Christ’s likeness in my everyday ordinary life.
Do not protect me from persecution, or else how will I know that I am like my teacher? But please, LORD, help me to endure whatever persecution comes and stand firm in my faith to the end. I pray this also for Israel Folau and for all who are criticised for their Christ-like holiness.