I had a friend tell me that they wanna be like Jesus, you know, do good things.
It made me stop and think. Others cheered him on, it’s a good thing right? But is it, really? Do you know what you are actually saying?
To be like Jesus is to die. I know that sounds incredibly dramatic, but Jesus himself tells us to take up our cross daily (Luke 9:23). Paul tells us that we are to be imitators of God by walking in love and giving up our lives (Ephesians 5:1-2). Jesus came and he sacrificed himself. We are called to do the same.
He didn’t come to do good works or to be nice to people. In fact, he was very punk rock and divisive (Luke 12:51). We belittle Jesus when we call him a nice guy. He was much more than that. And doing good things? Yes, He did great things. The greatest thing he did was taking on the judgement that we deserve and offering us salvation (just read all of Romans!). And obviously, that’s something I can’t do.
I understand the sentiment of what my friend was trying to say. Being like Jesus is the equivalent of being nice, being moral, and loving people. But that’s not Jesus.
Sure, as Christians we are called to love and care for the orphans and the widows (James 1:27), and many more things, but to do that we first must die to self (Mark 8:34-35) and that’s painful.
So the question we have to ask ourselves is, do we really want to be like Jesus? And the answer is no, we don’t.
And that’s okay. If you’re a Christian, it’s a process — you’re putting on the new self (Ephesians 4:22) and the desires of your heart will eventually change.
And if you’re not a Christian? You don’t want to be like Jesus. Plain and simple.