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GROWING IN CHRIST

"Imitate Jesus"

Date published: 12/12/2016
 
Ephesians 4:2 “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” (NIV) 

   This verse always makes me think of Jesus. Humility, gentleness, patience, and loving others beautifully describe Jesus’ character and lifestyle. Jesus responded in humility instead of evaporating Pilate, his soldiers, and accusers. Jesus continually expressed gentleness with those in sin instead of judging them. Jesus’ demonstrated divine patience with His disciples instead of abandoning them in exasperation. Jesus exuded love in Mark 10:21 when He was about to expose the rich man’s idol, “Jesus looked at him and loved him.” (NIV) Jesus did not verbally say, “I love you,” to the rich man; but His countenance expressed so much love that Mark saw it enough to write about it.  

   1 Thessalonians 1:6a says, “You became imitators of us and of the Lord.”(NIV) Imitating Jesus gives us the perfect role model. Where I struggle is when Paul added in Ephesians 4:2, “be completely.” I know the limits of my flesh and character and fall woefully short in replicating Jesus’ character. Romans 13:12b-14 gives three helpful hints in imitating Jesus, so that you and I can move closer to Paul’s imperative of “completely,” “So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” (NIV) The first way to imitate Jesus is to put darkness aside. How do you know what is darkness? You know darkness by going deep into the Word. This includes not just reading and hearing the Word, but allowing God to impress His heart on yours, so that you can know and be convicted of sin. The second way to imitate Jesus is to put off sin, negligence to God’s truths, and any disobedience that God has revealed in you. God hates sin and loves righteousness. You know what to put off if you are dwelling in Jesus. The final way to imitate Jesus is to clothe yourself in the Lord Jesus Christ. Each day you dress to get through the day. In the same way, you can dress spiritually by having a quiet time that takes you into your day. Pray to encompass the full personality of God in praise, confession, thanksgiving, and petition. Pray to not only commit each part of your day to God, but to also seek His wisdom, direction, and character for doing it. Obey what God puts on your heart. Continue praying throughout the day. Hold close those truths God gives you. By using your spiritual disciplines, keeping your mind on the Lord throughout the day, and living by faith in His promises and truths, you will free God to be Lord of every encounter in your day. Making Jesus Lord of your life clothes you for your life as a Christian. 

Colossians 3:12-14 “Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (NIV) 

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Here are some Bible studies from Growing in Christ to help your transformative experience: “Discipleship” and “Satisfaction.” 

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