Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Character of Christ: What I Want to Be.


“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning...The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:1 and 14 clearly present and shed light upon the incredible truth that Jesus Christ, the Messiah and Savior, who is fully God, came to dwell on this earth in human flesh. Considering they are One, He therefore possesses the characteristics of our Father and the Lord of all; and throughout His life on this earth, our Savior illuminated these characteristics in all that He did. He was, and is, and will forever be perfect, after all. Any human being with a healthy conscience and a sane, sound mind would surely have the desire to follow in these steps and be as Christ, wouldn’t they? Christ undoubtedly inspired an innumerable amount of people in the way that He presented Himself; He also willingly and obediently died to save us from our deplorable nature and sin. Again, a question comes forth: Why would anyone turn away from the opportunity to accept such a marvelous Savior, and thus emulate His nature? The questions never cease; but neither does unfailing His love for us. I desire to obtain every single characteristic of Jesus Christ, of course. This, however, is simply impossible, for I am not a perfect, eternal, all-powerful being. There are three characteristics of Christ, however, that I most of all desire to illuminate throughout my life each and every day; these include humility, patience, and a loving spirit.

First of all, I certainly have a strong desire to exemplify Christ in practicing humility. Matthew 20:28 says, “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Jesus Christ ultimately longed to serve out of uncomprehendable love. He basically lived in poverty, travelling from home to home; this is not the standard impression of how a king should go about. Jesus could have easily obtained riches and limitless wealth. Rather, He exercised the natural selflessness that He so perfectly possesses, and focused completely on the mission given to Him by the Father. Christ did all these things out of humility. He was entirely selfless. He joyfully contributed every ounce of His time to His people; whether He was preaching to them, healing them, or even praying for them. “...but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!” As Philippians 2:7-8 states, Christ Jesus redefined humble as the world knew it; He brought forth an overwhelming realization of the unfathomable love He has for His people. He voluntarily endured a tormenting death for us; He laid down His life so that we can now have free salvation. I hope to continue to become more and more selfless and compassionate, for one can never be too humble. This would be an incredible witness to many people who come into contact with me each and every day. I hope to continue to inherit the heart of Christ and empathize with those who are suffering, or even simply show God’s love through my humble actions.

Furthermore, I long for the patience Jesus possessed. We have been commanded to be patient. For instance, in Ephesians 4:2 we are to “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” We are to be patient with everyone (1 Thessalonians 5:14). Jesus was faced with a great number of instances in which He had to be patient; His patience was tested constantly. He dealt with oppression, demons and even suffering. However, there is a different side to this testing of patience. Jesus’s patience was also tested when He was faced with the sight of pain. He is entirely compassionate and He most likely has a nearly over bearing desire to heal all suffering. However, this was not done every time He laid His holy eyes on it; He had to stay with the Father’s plan and not deviate from it. This could mean leaving the moment and gazing into the future of a person’s life and seeing God’s plan being played out. God may use the person’s suffering for the overall benefit of them and other people; perhaps as a testimony that one day will lead to millions of people giving their hearts to God. I desire and strive to exercise patience constantly as Christ did. In having patience, I can be a light and show the patience that Christ applied daily in His life on earth. Having patience with others honors God and allows others to see the heart of God. Having an immense amount of patience is a tool used for successfully avoiding anger, which, in turn, provides more room for joy in the heart. 1 Corinthians 13:4 states, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” Love is patient. Christ, himself, is love! Therefore, we must be patient in love, and we must be patient as love is patient, as Christ is patient. We must be as Christ is in character.

Likewise, I strive to love as Christ loves. I cannot even begin to fathom the love that our God has for us. The slight realization of it constantly overwhelms me and forces me to redefine the normality of my life and my purpose; it forces me to rethink how I act towards God, myself, and others. Christ’s love is like no other force I have ever experienced. It overpowers and convicts. Christ, Himself, is love. 1 Corinthians 4: Love is patient; Christ is patient. With Christ’s love, we are made righteous unto the Father. Christ’s love showers over us and protects us. Through His love, we are sanctified, redeemed, saved, and made good in God’s sight. What could be better than being totally accepted and loved by our Heavenly Father? What on this earth could be better than being made holy in His precious sight? This truth is amazing. Christ humbled Himself out of love. Jesus took our place on the cross. In reality, we are deserving of death; we spit in the face of Jesus and play games at the foot of the cross every time we sin against Him; we are so terrible as to take advantage of His sacrifice. Yet, He took on our sin head on and defeated it. He replaced us; His hands suffered the penetrating nails; His face painstakingly endured the permeation of the razor edged thorns that were meant for us. Jesus took on this death willingly to save us; it was His plan (John 10:17-18). This humility and love cannot be fathomed by the human mind. Christ’s sacrifice is the ultimate illustration of love. Why can’t we love everyone, considering the fact that our Savior suffered agonizing death for us out of love? We desperately need to take after Jesus in this and follow His example. This corrupted world craves something, anything, that could relieve suffering; it is screaming for an intervention. The resolve is simple: It needs love. Christians are to show Christ’s love to all people; it should multiply and spread to every corner of the planet, and reach every individual. It is part of the great commision to which we are called. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." Acts 1:8. We are commanded to love: ”My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” (John 15:12).

Our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ lived a perfect life on this earth. From then on, He has never ceased to show His amazing character. Jesus is God, and the Holy Spirit, Three in One. Thus, Jesus has the magnificent character of God. I strive to emulate as much of this divine character as humanly possible. All things are possible with God (Philippians 4:12); this is to say that without Him, I would be nothing, and I would be condemned to the pits of hell with no way out. But Jesus is here, and He is everything. He selflessly gave His life in order to save us from eternal condemnation, and with Him, it is possible for me to be Christ-like. Jesus does not require from us what he does not already manifest in his own person and life. He makes it possible and attainable. Once we accept Christ, we are made righteous and holy in our Father’s sight. I only long to be good enough, but that does not matter; for, in His sight, I am His portion. Of the infinite, amazing characteristics of Jesus, I long to emulate three more than anything else: His humility, or selflessness, His patience, and His love. In doing so, I desire to be a light for Christ each and every day of my life to every one I see. In 1 John 2:6, John commands us to “...walk as Jesus did.” That is my goal.