Summary: A true disciple of Jesus Christ wants to be like him.
Today we begin a series on Discipleship. Discipleship is all about becoming like Jesus. Consequently, in beginning this series on discipleship, I want us to understand that the disciple’s hero is none other than Jesus Christ. Like any kid who looks at that athlete, or that actor, or that parent and says, "I want to be just like him or her," a disciple is one who looks at Jesus and says, "I want to be just like Him."
Why is it that we want to be like our heroes? We want to be like them because they have accomplished something admirable. Well, Jesus, we are told here, has not only accomplished something admirable, He has accomplished something eternal. He has engaged the forces of evil that have held men captive and kept them alienated from God, and now is glorified in heaven. Consequently, the Bible tells us that one day He will be hailed by everyone as the ultimate hero - "God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth-even those long ago dead and buried-will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father." ~ Philippians 2:9-11 (The Message)
The Bible tells us that one day, everyone who has given his or her life to Jesus, will be like Him in the sense that, like Jesus, will live in perfect obedience to the Father and we will share in the eternal victory He has won. In fact, there are two things that will make heaven such a wonderful place:
A. I will be with Jesus -
"In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Mys4f~ that where I am, there you may be also." John 14:2-3 (NKJV)
B. I will be like Jesus -
"Yes, dear friends, we are already God’s children, and we can’t even imagine what we will be like when Christ returns. But we do know that when he comes we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is." - 1 John 3:2 (NLT)
Yes, one day in heaven, I will be with Jesus and I will be like Jesus.
The good news, however, is that I do not have to wait until I go to heaven to be like Jesus. In fact, the will of God is that I seek today to be like Jesus - walking in obedience to the will of the Father and sharing in the victory of our Lord. So, what does it take to become like Jesus?
1. I must set priorities - "throw off everything that hinders"
If we are not careful, we can find that things of lesser importance can crowd out those things that should be priority in our life. What should be priority for the disciple? Simple. Any relationship, any activity, any possession, any pursuit, any thing, that holds me back in my pursuit to become more like Jesus is not a priority!
This was Paul’s commitment. In Philippians 3:14 (WE), "Like a man running a race, I try hard to reach the line so that I will receive the prize. Because we belong to Christ Jesus, God is calling us to receive this prize that he has for us in heaven."
What prize does God have waiting in heaven for us? Christ-likeness! Paul says his commitment was to progress toward Christ-likeness now, to live his life in such a way as to become more and more like Jesus today!
The only way you will ever live life to the fullest is if you set this as your number one priority in life - to become more and more like Jesus. Jesus said, "But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides." ~ Matthew 6:33 (Amplified). The only way to live life to the fullest is to live it like Jesus!
2. I must seek purity - "throw off... the sin that so easily entangles"
It stands to reason that I cannot be like Christ if I give place to the Devil through clinging to sin in my life.
Now it’s one thing to fail, confess our sin, recommit ourselves to pursuing Christ-likeness, and moving forward. It’s another thing, however, to cling to a sinful activity, attitude, or arrangement with no desire to turn from it.
You see, while in this life we cannot be Christ-like when it comes to perfection, we can still seek to head in that direction. But if I have sin I refuse to turn from, I am stuck. I’m not able to move forward toward Christ-likeness, because I’ve camped out at this spot where my favorite sin is, refusing to move from it.