Links Daily Devotional

To Be Like Jesus

“… train yourself to be godly… physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things… both the present life and the life to come.” (1 Timothy 4:7b-8, NIV)

Jesus gave his disciples the mandate to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19, NASB).

How am I to apply this, where do I begin? Paul wrote to Timothy in a second letter, “You have heard me teach… Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others” (2 Timothy 2:2, NLT).

Paul was saying, “Timothy, making disciples begins first with you, then discipling others. Both.”

Our part in becoming more like him is to daily, even hourly, “humble ourselves.” His part is to “transform us into his image” by his Spirit.You may have read my last devotion, where I noted that Ben Hogan’s target was often a target other than the pin. The newcomer to golf grips a club and aims at the pin. The best professionals seldom aim directly at the pin.

Hogan always had his end goal in mind. When he practiced, he was thinking what he needed to do for the Big Win—the U. S. Open title or one of the other majors. Nicklaus, Woods, McIlroy, and Spieth have all followed Hogan’s example. Their daily practice sessions and pre-tournaments are preparation for their end goal.

Our end goal as followers of Jesus is to be like him. Jesus said that after a disciple is fully trained he “will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40, NASB). Paul wrote that those who love God will “be conformed to the image of his son” (Romans 8:29, ESV). One day we will think like Jesus, love like Jesus and serve like him. This is our destiny.

One of the greatest expositors of the Scriptures in this past century was John Stott. He began his last major address before his death with the question, “What is God’s purpose for his people?”

“I want to share with you where my mind has come to rest as I approach the end of my pilgrimage on earth,” Stott said. “And it is—God wants his people to become like Christ. Christlikeness is the will of God for the people of God.” (If you have not read his message, you can access it here.)

Many dedicated disciples of Jesus do not believe they can become Christlike. In some ways this is true. Jesus was perfect; he was God incarnate. But Jesus was also fully human. He wants us to follow his example. One of the first things he asked his disciples to learn was gentleness and humility. “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart…” (Matthew 11:29, NASB).

What, then, is the path to becoming more Christlike? It is humility. Our part in becoming more like him is to daily, even hourly, “humble ourselves.”  His part is to “transform us into his image” by his Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Our part is to continually acknowledge he is Lord. And ask him to live his resurrected life through us.

We don’t get there by trying to become more like Jesus, but by the practice of “walking in his Spirit… loving Jesus passionately… obeying him precisely and promptly” (Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction).

As we make this a daily habit, we can be assured that we’re on the path to that Final Win. That day when we stand before Jesus, as every living human being must do, that day when we hope to hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant…enter into the joy of your master” (Matthew 25:21, 23, ESV).

Jim Hiskey
February 23, 2016
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