When Jesus invited 12 men to be His disciples, He simply said to them: “Follow Me.” With this invitation He was saying: “Come and be with Me, and I will change you.”
So the disciples learned to pray by watching their Master spend all night before the Father. They learned what it meant to be a broken, humble individual by watching His life of total submission and obedience to the Father.
Observing and Following
We often think that if we can just accumulate enough Bible knowledge and study philosophy, Hebrew and Greek, we will become like Jesus. Though these studies may help us understand Scripture, it will not turn us automatically into disciples.
The model the Lord gave us to become like Him is through observing and following an example. That means we must observe those who truly walk like Christ and learn from them.
The Apostle Paul was such an example. He wrote to the believers: “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1).
The Apostle John, too, instructs us to walk like Jesus walked: “He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked” (1 John 2:6).
Is it Possible?
Is it really possible for us to live like Christ lived? Or is God asking us to do something that is impossible for us to do? Surely God is not unfair to demand something we simply cannot do!
The mistake we often make when we read about the life of Christ is to say, “Oh, He is God and He is supernatural and has the advantage of all this extra power. I am just a failing little creature; what can I do?”
The truth is, Jesus walked on earth as a man. We read in Philippians 2:5-8 that when Jesus came to this earth, He emptied Himself of everything that set Him apart from us. The book of Hebrews tells us He faced every temptation you and I encounter. The only difference was He refused to give in to sin, and He walked in total obedience to the Father. In order to live a victorious life on earth and to perform miracles, Jesus had to rely on the power of the same Holy Spirit you and I received when we were saved.
The Bible tells us that, like Jesus, we must also choose to walk in obedience to the Word of God and say no to the desires of the flesh when our selfish nature wants to disobey God and gratify itself.
However, instead of saying no to our flesh, we often look for a shortcut, something that is easier to do than walking in obedience. Some years ago, when I was speaking in California, a lady came up to me and said, “Would you please lay your hand on me and pray for me?” I answered, “Yes, I will. Can you please tell me what it is you want me to pray for?” She paused and said," Well, you see, I got a demon of smoke inside me. Would you cast this demon out?" I never heard a request like that in my life. So I replied, “I can cast out demons, but I cannot cast out the flesh.”
The Apostle Paul very clearly tells us what we must do with our flesh on a daily basis so we can be like Jesus and walk in obedience to God’s Word: “And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:24).
How Much More?
My dear friend, how much more information do you need before you become the person you know deep down in your heart you need to be as a follower of Christ? How much more teaching do you need before you turn off the computer and stop watching stuff you know is destroying your life? How many more messages do you need to hear before you stop listening to the music that pulls your heart away from your devotion to Christ? How much more time has to pass before you say, “Enough is enough! I will walk away from the lure of material things and the love and enticement of the world.”
Please understand, I don’t say or write these things to condemn you. But the number-one enemy hindering us from becoming like Jesus and living like Him is our own self centeredness and our unwillingness to die to ourselves.
Following His Example
The Apostle Peter wrote: “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps” (1 Peter 2:21).
This Scripture is not simply talking about the nails, the blood and the suffering of Jesus on the cross of Calvary. It is talking about His lifelong practice of saying no to Himself in order to obey the Father’s will.
That’s where we need to start in following His example. If we do, we will indeed become disciples who reflect the life of our Master.
Dr. K.P. Yohannan
Founder & Director of Gospel for Asia
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About 5 Minutes with K.P.
5 minutes with K.P. is a short devotional that first appeared in our ministry magazine, GFA World and is written by Gospel for Asia's Founder and Director, Dr. K.P. Yohannan.