Christians start out pretty much like everyone else. We’re sometimes nice, at other times surly. We’re often selfish, angry, and egotistical…sometimes kind and generous. The good news is that somewhere along the way God begins the process of transforming us so that we’re more like Jesus. Considering the kind of person Jesus was, that sounds great…but the bad news is that until God gets well into the transformation process a person is often remarkably similar to what he was before he became a Christian. That’s often not so great.
So: what do we do in the meantime? Well, fortunately for us, God gave us some instructions. The Bible tells us pretty plainly how to be more Christlike:
…put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts”.Romans 13:14
And that’s not all…there’s more! Not only are we supposed to ‘put on Christ’, we’re also supposed to put on humility:
You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another….1 Peter 5:5
We’re also supposed to put on something called ‘the new self’:
“…be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth”.Ephesians 4:23-24
And there’s a bit more:
Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him…”.Colossians 3:9
And, we’re told to put on:
- a heart of compassion
You get the picture. We’re supposed to “put on” a whole bunch of things. In essence, we’re supposed to act like Jesus until we become like Jesus. There’s an old saying: “the clothes make the man”. The general idea is that what you wear affects how you feel about yourself…and that by dressing like the person you want to be you will act like that person and eventually become that person. When the Bible tells us to “put on” those things, it’s saying that we should act like Jesus. If we act like Jesus acted we will eventually become like Him.
Many non-Christians consider Jesus to have been a virtuous man. As Christians, our goal should be to be viewed in the same way. One last Bible verse…1 John 4:12: No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us”. If we act like Jesus acted we become an example of what God is like. So, the next time you feel like just being yourself…don’t.