“Oh, to be like Him,” those of my generation sing in the hymn, and our most earnest prayer is that we find within ourselves that quality of Christ-likeness. But I ask myself, how often do we wonder what it is that makes a person to be like Christ?
When we think of being like Christ, do we think about spiritual warfare? Y’shua’s life was a battle from the beginning. Mary and Joseph had to flee from Bethlehem to Egypt with the Babe of Nazareth. He was condemned by royal decree to die. Why? Not for any evil he committed—an infant couldn’t commit any act worthy of death. Yet Y’shua’s very presence was a total disruption. His very existence made Herod unable to think, unable to judge and unable to rule.
I think that his entire earthly life was a battle. If He didn’t reach out to others, He would have gone unnoticed, unchallenged and probably unharrassed. Instead, every attempt to speak what was on His heart, to show others what the Father wanted them to see, was confronted by someone, something, blocking His way. But he did overcome and we must also overcome.
Some of the battles we face are not from outside forces, but they are inner struggles that may seem small, even childish.
The youngster says, “See how unselfish I am. I let you pick the big piece of cake.”
“Yes,” says the other, “I did notice. But you didn’t notice that I picked the smaller piece on purpose. I want to be selfless, not selfish. And it is selfish of you to try to trick me into taking the larger piece, so that you can be the selfless one instead of me.”
And so the mental and spiritual wrestling goes. Each of us tries to find a way to prevail while seeming to give the best and the most to the other one.
True selflessness is something that only happens when no one sees it happening.
True selflessness says, not just out loud but from the heart, “You first. Not me.” And says it with a smile, as though the other had given the more. A true giver makes the recipient feel good about themselves. It does not contest to see who can give the most, be the most, or endure the most.
To be like Him is to say in our hearts, to every person,
“You first. Not me.”
“May you be honored.”
“Let me help you.”
“Use my strength.”
“Take from me all you need to be what God would have you be, and
give me the task that discourages and prevents you from becoming like Him.”
Y’shua should have been tired out by people. So many wanted to hear Him. So many wanted to carry away their own special word from the Master.
Sometime He was tired and yet He always seemed to have as much strength as He needed. He gave, and He gave, and He gave some more. And giving didn’t tire Him out—it seemed to strengthen Him. When He should have been overwhelmed, miracles happened. Five loaves and two fishes became enough to feed five thousand.
That’s the way it is with true Christian-ness: we give, and we give, and we give some more. And yet, there’s there’s more to give. Our limbs don’t tire—our minds don’t dizzy. We’re able to smile, and to give that, too. That’s just part of what it is to be like Christ.