15 Ways To Follow On How To Be Like Jesus

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Published by Kimberly Wall

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Co-Founder, Disciple Group Leader, Author

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In a poignant story, Jesus washed his disciples’ feet during their final meal together. His actions, described in John 13:15, conveyed a profound lesson in servant leadership[1]. Jesus, the teacher and Lord, kneeled before his followers, cleansing their feet without complaint. This powerful act of selflessness illustrated that true greatness lies in serving others with love and humility.

Jesus’ message was clear: his disciples should follow his example, serving one another with the same devotion. The disciples would carry this lesson throughout their lives, spreading Jesus’ message as rulers and humble servants.

The narrative emphasizes that greatness isn’t about power or wealth but about selfless service and love. Jesus’ entire life exemplified these principles, leaving an enduring legacy for those who seek to walk in his ways.

Why Is It Important To Be Like Jesus?

So God created mankind in his own image; in the image of God, he created them; male and female, he created them.

— Genesis 1:27

As God’s children, we are called to follow in Jesus’ footsteps. The Bible emphasizes that humans were created in God’s image, particularly in the Old Testament. Although it doesn’t mention Jesus directly, this concept forms the basis for aspiring to be Christ-like in Christian theology.

Imago Dei (Image of God)

This notion means humans possess unique qualities and attributes that reflect God’s character and nature. While the exact nature of this “image” has been a subject of theological debate, it generally includes characteristics like rationality, morality, creativity, and relational capacity. When expressed in a godly manner, these attributes align with the qualities that Jesus exhibited during his earthly ministry.

Christlikeness

In Christian theology, Jesus is considered the ultimate representation of living in alignment with God’s image. Verses like Colossians 1:15 and Hebrews 1:3 describe him as the “image of the invisible God” and the “express image of [God’s] person,” respectively.

Consequently, Christians aspire to emulate Jesus, seeking to mirror not only his outward actions but also his inner character, attitudes, and values, as they believe this reflects living in the image of God.

Ethical And Moral Conduct

The New Testament portrays Jesus as a model for ethical and moral conduct in Christianity. Jesus told His disciples many things. Following His teachings and example, Christians should therefore aim to obey God and lead lives the same way the apostles did.

This means practicing love, compassion, forgiveness, and justice, values emphasized by Jesus during his ministry. Adhering to these principles is seen as a way to honor God and manifest the divine image in their lives.

Redemption And Transformation

Christians also believe in the transformative power of faith in Jesus Christ. They hold that a personal relationship with Jesus enables spiritual rebirth and conformity to his likeness. This transformation includes sanctification, wherein believers progressively adopt Christlike thoughts, attitudes, and actions.

black and white photo of man giving money to beggar in a tunnel

How To Be Like Jesus

Striving to be more like Jesus Christ is a noble and spiritual goal for many people. While humans can’t fully replicate Jesus’s divine nature, there are various ways you can cultivate qualities and values that align with his teachings and example.

15 Ways To Be Like Jesus

1. Practice Love and Compassion: Benevolence and care form the essence of Jesus’ teachings, urging individuals to extend these virtues to loved ones and their adversaries. It promotes treating all with kindness and empathy, aligning with the teachings of Jesus in the Bible.

2. Forgiveness: Forgiveness is a central theme in Christianity. Jesus emphasized pardon, urging the release of anger and resentment to promote spiritual and emotional healing. This teaching of God’s mercy underscores the value of letting go of grudges and extending forgiveness to those who wrong you.

3. Serve Others: Jesus’ selfless service serves as an example for others. This principle encourages individuals to seek opportunities to help those in need, whether in their local community or through acts of charity and kindness on a broader scale. It underscores the importance of imitating Jesus’ selflessness in daily life.

4. Humility: Meekness entails acknowledging personal limitations and prioritizing others’ needs over one’s own. It reflects a modest and unpretentious attitude, aligning with Jesus’ teachings about the meek inheriting the earth. This virtue underscores the importance of selflessness and focusing on serving others in Christian doctrine.

5. Prayer and Meditation: Prayer and reflection provide a means to connect with one’s spiritual self, seek guidance, and derive strength from faith. These practices deepen one’s relationship with a higher power and promote inner peace. They serve as vital tools for spiritual growth and self-discovery, facilitating a sense of harmony and alignment with one’s beliefs.

6. Study Scripture: Understanding Jesus’ teachings and wisdom necessitates familiarity with the Bible, especially the New Testament. Jesus grew in wisdom by studying Scripture. It is a foundation for spiritual growth and a deeper connection with Jesus’ teachings.

7. Seek Justice: Championing justice and fairness is central to the Christian life, urging one to support marginalized and oppressed individuals and confront injustice. This posture aligns with Jesus’ example of defending the vulnerable and reflects the Christian commitment to social righteousness and compassion.

8. Generosity: Generosity entails sharing time, resources, and love and selflessly giving to those in need without expecting reciprocation. It embodies the spirit of benevolence and altruism.

9. Patience: Cultivating patience and tolerance is essential, particularly during adversity or when engaging with complex individuals. Patience enables a composed and empathetic response, even in trying circumstances. These qualities promote harmonious relationships and personal growth in challenging times.

10. Kindness: Compassion means displaying empathy and kindness to all, irrespective of background or beliefs. It entails treating everyone with respect and dignity and fostering a harmonious and inclusive environment.

11. Gentleness: Approaching conflicts and challenges gently and peacefully means avoiding aggression or hostility. It aligns with Jesus’ teachings on turning the other cheek and seeking peaceful resolutions.

12. Faith: Faith is central to Christian spirituality. It entails trust in a higher power and a belief in the teachings and promises of Jesus and the Bible.

13. Self-Control: Restraint involves aligning emotions, desires, and actions with faith by managing them judiciously and according to one’s beliefs. It helps you make wise and virtuous choices.

14. Honesty and Integrity: Living with honesty and integrity means always speaking the truth and keeping your promises. It’s about being a person of moral character and reliability.

15. Sacrifice: Similar to Jesus’ sacrifice for humanity, this principle urges individuals to be ready for personal sacrifices in pursuit of the greater good. It might entail relinquishing something valuable for the benefit of others or in service to one’s faith

These principles collectively constitute a moral and spiritual framework Christians follow to align with Jesus’ teachings and faith.

Personal growth and transformation are gradual processes requiring patience and self-compassion. Building a supportive community of like-minded individuals can assist one’s endeavor to emulate Jesus Christ and integrate these values into daily life.

What Challenges Can We Face When Trying To Be More Like Jesus?

For those God foreknew, he was also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

— Romans 8:29

Striving to be more like Jesus is a profound journey filled with challenges. These obstacles include selflessness, forgiveness, humility, love for all, patience, resisting temptation, maintaining a spiritual connection, leading by example, perseverance, and continual learning. Overcoming them requires dedication, reflection, and a supportive community, leading to personal growth and enlightenment.

  • Human Imperfection: We are inherently imperfect beings, and Jesus is often seen as a perfect, sinless individual. Emulating his moral and ethical standards can be challenging because we are bound to make mistakes.
  • Selflessness: Living like Jesus, characterized by selflessness, compassion, and service, can be challenging in a self-centered world. Prioritizing others over oneself is a demanding but spiritually enriching endeavor.
  • Patience: Jesus exhibited remarkable patience and forgiveness, even in the face of adversity. Cultivating this level of patience and forgiveness can be extremely challenging, especially in difficult or trying circumstances.
  • Nonviolence: Jesus advocated for nonviolence and turning the other cheek. Living by this principle can be tricky and may require significant inner strength in a world full of conflicts and confrontations.
  • Sacrifice: Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice through his crucifixion. While most people will not face such extreme circumstances, living a life of sacrifice and putting others before oneself can be demanding.
  • Temptation: Just as Jesus faced temptation, we, too, will encounter various enticements and distractions that can pull us away from our spiritual path. Resisting these temptations can be a constant struggle.
  • Social Pressure: Living in alignment with Jesus’s teachings amidst societal pressures can be challenging. Society often promotes values conflicting with these teachings, making it vital to maintain one’s spiritual beliefs with resilience and authenticity, seeking a harmonious balance between personal faith and societal norms.
  • Faith and Doubt: Maintaining unwavering faith can be difficult, especially when faced with doubt or skepticism. Jesus’ faith was steadfast, and believers may struggle to reach that level of trust.
  • Understanding Scripture: Interpreting the Bible, which holds the teachings of Jesus, can be complex, yielding various interpretations among individuals. This diversity can lead to confusion or uncertainty as people navigate the nuances of faith and spirituality.
  • Consistency: Maintaining a life consistent with Jesus’s teachings demands continuous effort and self-reflection. It’s easy to revert to old habits or lose sight of spiritual goals, highlighting the need for steadfast commitment and mindfulness.
  • Criticism and Persecution: Just as Jesus faced opposition and discrimination, individuals striving to be more like him may encounter criticism, ridicule, or even persecution for their beliefs and actions.
  • Loneliness: Following a spiritual path that differs from the mainstream can sometimes lead to feelings of loneliness or isolation.

How Can We Overcome Those Challenges?

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

— 2 Corinthians 3:18

Striving to live and be like Christ Jesus is a profound and challenging endeavor that requires a commitment to moral and spiritual principles. However, several significant challenges often stand in the way, and overcoming them necessitates dedication and self-reflection.

  1. Living selflessly in a self-centered world poses a significant challenge. To overcome it, individuals should actively engage in acts of kindness, generosity, and empathy, fostering a service-oriented mindset.
  2. Forgiveness means releasing resentment and anger, and understanding it frees one from bitterness without condoning wrongdoing. These challenges underscore the importance of personal growth and spiritual development.
  3. Cultivating humility involves regular self-reflection and the acceptance of constructive criticism. Humility is a fruit of the Holy Spirit that often clashes with pride, a common societal trait. Similarly, loving all individuals, irrespective of differences, requires confronting and shedding biases through education and empathy.
  4. Mindfulness and meditation techniques can help individuals develop patience and focus on the bigger picture. Patience, a quality that Jesus exemplified, can be hard to practice in a fast-paced world. Resisting temptation, whether related to materialism or unethical behavior, demands self-discipline and a supportive community.
  5. Maintaining a consistent prayer life and deepening one’s spirituality can also be challenging in a busy world. Dedicated time for prayer and guidance from spiritual mentors or faith communities can help in this regard.
  6. Being a role model for others involves consistently aligning your actions with your values. Leading by example often leaves a more significant impact than words alone. Additionally, persevering through adversity and criticism may be necessary when living by Christ-like principles. Finding strength in faith and a supportive community can help you endure these challenges.
  7. Continual learning and growth are fundamental in the journey to be like Jesus. This lifelong process involves reading scriptures, seeking inspiration from religious texts, and engaging in self-improvement through mentors and resources.
person with hands outstretched palms up full of coins with sign that says make a change

Conclusion

The journey to emulate Jesus is fraught with challenges from human imperfections, societal pressures, and the stark contrast between our nature and His ideals.

Overcoming these hurdles requires prayer, self-reflection, community support, and unwavering faith in one’s spiritual journey. Acknowledging that becoming more like Jesus is a lifelong endeavor, not an expectation of perfection, is vital

We find inspiration in Jesus’s teachings of love, compassion, and selflessness in facing these challenges. By persisting in this transformative journey, we aim to live in greater alignment with His principles, ultimately positively impacting our lives and the world around us. This enduring commitment reflects the profound influence of Jesus’s lasting message of love and goodness.

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