With a simple login and click, you can be swept into the “perfect” lives of those that fill the internet and our daily lives. Getting lost in this cycle of who to be, what to do, where, when, and how to do it, is as far from the biblical model as possible.
The biblical model is this: God deliberately chooses imperfect vessels to prepare and send out so his strength can be made perfect in our weakness. Rest assured, we are not sent out into God’s green earth without guidance and indescribable grace.
God, the maker of the heavens and the earth, gave us his Son to be an “in the flesh” example of who God calls all his children to be (1 Peter 2:21). We will never be as perfect and pure as Jesus Christ this side of heaven, but we are blessed with the knowledge of Jesus’ character that helps open our eyes to what we should strive to be.
How do I know if this is part of his plan?
How do I make a decision that glorifies him?
Who is God calling me to be?
We typically understand the Ten Commandments as our guidebook for life as believers, but those are solely the “do’s and don’ts.” God calls us to accept his Son, Jesus Christ, as our Savior. He calls us to give our lives to him, and in doing so, develop and grow into the character of Christ (Ephesians 4:15). God wants us to become more like Christ.
The way of Jesus tells us that any number of systems—not all—will work well if we are genuinely good. And we are then free to seek the better and the best.
Christ has many attributes, but his holiness, love, and faithfulness are a few highlights of his character. Our goal is not to wish or strive for immeasurable perfection, but to pursue Christlikeness—to live like Jesus in an ever-changing world. We are to bring the kingdom of God to every corner of human life by intentionally and fully living in the kingdom with him.
Over the next three days, let’s take some time to study the journey of Jesus Christ and the way his character changed the world for believers. I hope it’s an inspiration and encouragement to your identity being found in Christ and nothing else.
Day 1: God Wants Us to be Holy
Read Galatians 4:7, 1 Thessalonians 4:3, Leviticus 19:2
Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He walked the earth for 33 perfect and pure years, ministering to, guiding, and loving the people around him. God sent his Son to be a witness and teacher of his love and faithfulness. Jesus taught that the kingdom of heaven lies within. Jesus also taught that he was in the Father, and the Father was in him (John 14:11).
God’s holiness means that he is separated from sin and devoted to seeking his own honor and glory. Holiness means “other, different, separate, transcendent above his creation.” God is holy because he is eternal. He was never created but is the creator and sustainer of all things.1 Because Jesus is the “image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15), we can agree that Jesus, too, is holy.
There is no other person or thing that God would tell us to emulate when Jesus Christ is the embodiment of all that he is. In Colossians 1:19, Paul said that “all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell” in Jesus.
Galatians 4, also written by the apostle Paul, reflects on God’s sending of his Son in the context of a larger theological argument about what it means to be children of God (and our calling to Jesus Christ). This passage talks about our “connectedness” to God through Jesus Christ as children of God. Most importantly, we are advised not to live in search of identity, but to find our identity in Christ, following in his example.
- What does holiness in your life look like?
- Take some time to reflect on Jesus’ walk with holiness. Make a list of instances in the Bible where his holiness shows and reflect those to your own life.
Day 2: God Wants Us to be Loving
Read John 15:12-13, Romans 12:9-10, 1 Corinthians 13:4-5
God, who is love, created us from love, for love, to love.
Throughout his time on earth, Jesus showed his love for others by blessing and serving the poor, the sick, and the distressed. He told his disciples to love one another as he had loved them. Jesus was compassionate, encouraging, and kind to all people in the name of love.
In Matthew chapter 14, many people had gathered to hear Jesus’ teaching. They listened for a long time and became very hungry, but there was only a little bread and fish to feed all of the people—at least five thousand of them. Jesus blessed the food and told his disciples to give it to the people. In the end, everyone had enough to eat, and there was much food left over. Jesus is a provider, and his unconditional love goes hand in hand with that.
In the book of John, Jesus blessed a blind man to be able to see, solely because of his loving kindness. Jesus also healed the sick well and gave sight to the blind, showing us his compassionate care, meeting the needs of the suffering.
Ultimately, Jesus sacrificed his life on the cross for us. He laid down his life to give us eternal life and to spread the ultimate gift of God, which is love. It was never said that loving the people around you would be easy, but it will be worth it. A life lived in Christ is one that serves and loves others in any way possible, even when it is hard.
- Do you give others the same love God has given you? Is it conditional?
- What keeps you from choosing to love those around you?
- How can your life model Christ’s love?
Day 3: God Wants Us to be Faithful
Read 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24, Deuteronomy 7:9, Hebrews 3:6
The author of Hebrews draws attention to the parallels between the faithfulness of Jesus and the faithfulness of Moses. Both men accompanied God’s covenants; Moses with the Law (the Old Covenant), Jesus with abundant grace (the New Covenant). The book of John tells us, “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17), concluding they were faithful to God with what he had entrusted to them.
In this comparison we get a clearer understanding of the superior faithfulness of Jesus: first, his faithfulness to God, and second, his faithfulness to us.
As Jesus was called to be faithful to God, he was inherently called to be faithful to God’s divine plan as well. When Jesus was called to the cross, he was faithful to the Father’s plan and to the billions of souls that would be redeemed through his obedient work on the cross.
As followers of God, we are called to reflect the faith in God that Jesus had. Jesus was led to his own death, yet was still fully confident and faithful in God’s plan and promise. Jesus’ example shows us the way of faithfulness. He is the perfect expression of God’s faithfulness to humankind as well as the perfect example of humankind’s faithfulness to God.
- Take some time to think about what areas of your life you lack faith in. Is it a relationship? Work? Make a list of situations in your life that are confusing or hard and write how these could change with faithfulness in god.
- How have you known God’s faithfulness in trial?
- How does a desire for faithfulness actively change our relationships with God and with others?
1“What Does It Mean That God Is Holy?” The Exalted Christ, https://www.theexaltedchrist.com/knowinggod/what-does-it-mean-that-god-is-holy, accessed August 25, 2021.
Image Credit: Emilee Carpenter