In undergrad, I took a class (a Psychology class…) and after the first two tests, I wasn't doing very well. I didn't understand why! I was paying attention, writing heavy notes, reading the chapters—the same things I usually did that worked well for me in other classes. At the same time, I had a close friend in the class who listened, but wrote very little, didn't really study, and hadn't even purchased the textbook. It was puzzling and unacceptable to me. I went to the professor to ask what I could be doing wrong. In our conversation I gave the same comparison as above. He said, “It’s because she’s smarter than you, that’s the bottom line.” Needless to say, that was not what I expected to hear. He went on to explain, “We only compare ourselves to those we deem smarter, prettier, more athletic, or whatever. You don’t compare yourself to anyone with a mental deficiency, do you?” We weren’t using emojis then, but if we had I would have been the smiley face with the big eyes. I refused to accept that my friend was smarter than me—even if our Psychology teacher had said she was. The competition was on!
To whom do you compare yourself? Is it an intelligent, well-spoken co-worker, a charismatic parent; a neighbor who seems to have it all; your pastor, or his wife who is caring and compassionate to everyone she meets? I guess if we’re comparing ourselves it’s good that we are holding ourselves to a higher standard. We must realize, though, that each of our associates is flawed, no one is perfect. If we really want to hold ourselves to a high standard, we would compare ourselves to the only man to ever walk the Earth who was without blemish. We would compare ourselves to Jesus Christ.
The Bible tells us that Jesus was a leader through his servanthood. (John 13:3-5) “Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.”
The Bible tells us that Jesus had self-control. In the wilderness, fasting for forty days he was relentlessly tempted by Satan. “Jesus answered him, ‘It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” (Matthew 4:7 NIV)
Through His ultimate sacrifice we know that He was humble and obedient. “Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:8) Jesus was humble and obedient, by choice. As He proceeded towards His certain death, He was apprehensive as any man would be, and prays asking God to take away His suffering. John records His words as, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." (Luke 22:42) He showed His love and obedience by choosing to die on the cross to save the lives of His friends. “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13)
Jesus was forgiving. From the cross, after being wrongfully accused, tortured and now nailed to a cross between two criminals, Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’ And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.” (John 23:34) He asked God, the Father to forgive those who had done this to Him, and forgive those who were on the ground dividing up his clothes to keep as souvenirs.
I can only speak for myself, but I’ve got a ways to go as I compare myself to Jesus. My self-control can certainly use a boost. My humility, obedience, and leadership through servanthood are all working, but I cannot say I do these things without an occasional grumble or less than pleasant facial expression. :-) How do you compare to Jesus? I guess the better question is, do you know Jesus? Whether you’ve known about Him for years or you are just getting to know Him through this blog, He desires a relationship with you. He knows your sin, and will forgive you. What He is most interested in is your heart. It is our belief in Him that saves us from spiritual death. Paul tells us in Romans 10:9, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” I don't think it’s possible to ever truly be like Jesus, but as we grow in our walk we can certainly emulate more of His ways. We can all be glad that being like Jesus is not a requirement for salvation.
Happy Easter / Resurrection Sunday, Everyone!
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John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
Copyright 2018 Kimberly Griffith Anderson
If you like this style of writing, you will enjoy Turn North: A 30-Day Devotional and Journal written by the author of this blog.