Am I a Christlike Person?

John13:15
“For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.”

Jesus made this statement right after He had washed His disciples’ feet, the night before He was crucified. The disciples were puzzled at the gesture. They did not yet realize the significance of what this deed represented. After Peter had resisted Him, Jesus responded to Peter:

John 13:7
“What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter.”

Luke would later record Peter’s monologue to those present at Pentecost, in his second letter to Theophilus (Acts 2:14-36). That monologue showed how Peter had later gained the understanding that Jesus had predicted. The difference in the Peter described by John on the night of Jesus’ betrayal and the Peter later described by Luke at Pentecost… is staggering.

This got me thinking about how much I have gained in my understanding as to who Jesus is and what He did, and who I am and what I have done, since I became a Christian. As we (Christians) all know, or all should know, it is good to examine oneself continually to see if we are in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5). It is good to continually concentrate on finishing the race, just as Paul had written that he had done when he wrote to Timothy (2 Timothy 4:7). A great place to start when examining oneself is to ask:

“Am I a Christlike Person?”

A popular icebreaker when evangelizing is to ask, “Are you a good person?” It opens the door to show the person that, compared to Christ, they are not a good person. The next step is to then explain who Jesus is and what He did, offering them the only hope there is, which is found exclusively in Christ; encouraging the hearer to recognize their dilemma (repent), and to also trust in Him.

Now, as Christians, we already know that we are not good persons. The question we should challenge ourselves with is, “Am I a Christlike Person?” In other words, “Am I in a continual state of being conformed to the likeness of Christ?”

But, how would I know whether I am or not?

I came across an article written by Diane Stark. You can click it here. In the article, she uses 1 Corinthians 13:4-6 as a template for her “tween” daughter to test whether a crush she has on a boy is good or not. She encourages her daughter to insert the boy’s name into the 1 Corinthians verses. After going through the verses, the author’s daughter came to the conclusion that the boy is not who she had thought he was, and then… she rethinks her interest in him.

(As a father of a girl myself, I like this template. No boy could possibly qualify! LOL)

But, all kidding aside. In light of how Paul describes to the Corinthian church what love is in those verses (13:4-6), us using them as a self examination template, as to whether we are Christlike or not, is extremely helpful in seeing where we are at. Let’s go through it…

First, we know that Jesus is God. The whole of scripture points to such. This scene below is an example. It depicts very clearly that Jesus had given the impression that He had revealed publicly that He was God:

John 10:24-33
“The Jews then gathered around Him, and were saying to Him, “How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me. But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?” The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.””

Second, we know that God is love. John wrote:

1 John 4:8
“The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”

So, what is love then?

Let’s look at how Paul describes love to the Corinthians in the same verses Diane Stark referenced for her daughter:

1 Corinthians 13:4-6
“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;”

Now, let’s put it all together:

Jesus, who is God, who is love, is… patient, kind, not jealous, does not brag, is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly, does not seek His own, does not provoke, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth.

Taking Diane Stark’s idea of having her daughter  apply the 1 Corinthians verses to the boy she had had a crush on, and now applying them to ourselves, will reveal to ourselves just how Christlike we really are not. This, is a good thing. It reminds us as to who we are, and that even though we have an advocate in heaven for not being Christlike (1 John 2:1), we are not to get cocky or dismissive of the fact that we still fall short of the glory of God. Paul puts it this way:

Romans 7:21-25
“I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.”

Jesus not only gave His disciples an example as to how they are to treat one another as He had done to them by washing their feet, but He also gave them ongoing examples throughout His ministry. He was always who He is… love (patient, kind, not jealous, not bragging, not arrogant, not acting unbecomingly, not seeking His own, not provoking, not taking into account a wrong suffered, and not rejoicing in unrighteousness, but always rejoicing with the truth).

As I continue in my walk, I am gaining a better and better understanding as to who Jesus is and what He did, and I am also gaining a better understanding as to who I am and what I have done. When I ask myself:

“Am I a Christlike Person?”

The answer is clear.

John 13:7
“What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter.”

How true that is…

Godspeed, to the brethren!

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