…it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher…
Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’
Lately we’ve been considering what Christian should mean and that Christ-in-us is the heart of this. But what does it mean to be Christ-like?
While I believe it’s important that we as individuals and especially together remain in the entire Bible (including the Apocrypha), I doubt that there’s anything more profitable in scripture than carefully going over the gospel accounts: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, considering everything and with a focus on Christ himself, the one we’re called to follow, to imitate. All else must be seen and understood in that light.
Christ-likeness is many things, a life and practice in all the will of God. That is both individual and communal, separate and together both. None of us is Christ, nor all of us together. And yet we are individually called anointed ones, essentially little christs in John’s first epistle, and we collectively called the body of Christ. So in a true sense, when people see us they should see Christ. But honestly, what do they see?
Even with our inevitable faults and sins along the way, if we are sensitive to the Spirit and above all seek to live in love, humbly confessing our sins along the way, and seeking to live in harmony with other Christ-followers, as well as in deep humility before and with everyone in the world, then people will “see” something they won’t be able to put their finger on, well beyond merely us. Somehow the real Christ will be present, yes, even in us. Christ-likeness in the world looks like, or we should say comes out of this perhaps more than anything else.
That said, we need to make it our life-long study and prayer to be like Jesus in all of life: in the trials, good times, all the time. And a large part of that, as Jesus pointed out from the prophets, is to be people of mercy with each other, and with the world. When people think of us, think of Christians, they ought to be drawn, not because they’re drawn to us, not at all, but because they’re drawn to Christ-in-us. Because we have the aroma of Christ. Some will hate that, but many will be drawn to it to sit at the feet of the One whom our hearts are set on.