Perhaps you remember the old gospel song whose lyrics went, “To be like Jesus, to be like Jesus, all I ask is to be like Him.”

That’s an awesome thing – to be like Jesus. If you knew someone who is truly like Jesus, wouldn’t you want to spend time around them? Wouldn’t you want to be more like them? Indeed, Paul says that’s exactly God’s goal for us: “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son.” (Romans 8:29)

How well are you doing in that department? Periodically it’s smart to check our transformation progress.

The longer you and I continue in the Christian life, the more we should be coming to being like Jesus. But what does that look like? How can you tell if you’re making progress?

Being like Jesus includes both “soft” and “hard” characteristics – traits that feel warm and inviting, and those that feel tough. Think of the Bible characters you know, or revered Christians who have lived since Jesus’ time. Every personality is represented, but many of the underlying character traits are similar. God can begin with you at whatever stage you are right now, but as you mature these character traits should be increasingly evident.

Here’s a starting list of positive character qualities that being like Jesus would include. Some of these you and I are probably exhibiting fairly well, and others we need to grow further into. See how you might stack up on this list.

What it looks like to Be Like Jesus

  1. Loving – loving people well
  2. Joyful – much deeper than happiness
  3. Peaceful – living with peace even in difficult circumstances
  4. Peacemaker – spreading calm by your presence
  5. Courageous – moving forward on your mission in the face of opposition
  6. Wise – synthesizing information to make good decisions
  7. Merciful – giving others grace wherever possible
  8. Kind – treating others with respect and goodness
  9. Slow to speak – listening more than talking
  10. Resilient – returning to your mission any time tough things try to move you off course
  11. Perceptive – seeing behind the words and actions of others
  12. Forgiving – able to let offenses go
  13. Obedient – living your life before an audience of One – God, following all His directions
  14. Full of faith – relying on God to be and do what He says He will do
  15. Faithful – someone others can count on
  16. Humble – thinking of others more than yourself (not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less)
  17. Generous – freely giving what you have to those who are able to receive it
  18. Self-controlled – not ruled by your appetites
  19. Passionate – putting your whole heart into your mission
  20. Perseverant – not letting circumstances or distractions dissuade you from your mission
  21. Godly – constantly mindful of God’s perspective on your life and mission
  22. Integrity – being the same regardless of who is (or isn’t) watching
  23. Prayerful – regularly communicating personally with God
  24. Truthful – honest, having nothing to hide
  25. Sacrificial – willing to give yourself, when God so directs, even when it hurts
  26. Righteous – doing everything such that God would approve
  27. Hopeful – mindful of heavenly eternity even when things look dark
  28. Fully alive – living each moment to the full – physically, emotionally, spiritually
  29. Growing – always increasing in maturity, wisdom, skills
  30. Thankful – acknowledging to God and others the gifts you receive
  31. Diligent – investing your time and other resources to get a good return
  32. Excellent – doing all that you do to the very best of your ability
  33. Jealous – fighting against injustice when those close to you are in danger or harmed
  34. Intimate – willing and able to share the deepest parts of you with select others
  35. Friendly – willing and able to enter into and participate in other people’s worlds
  36. Servant minded – looking more for what you can give than what you can get
  37. Self-aware – conscious of what you think, know, and feel
  38. Confident – absolutely certain of who you are and what your mission is
  39. Patient – invested fully in the now while allowing God to direct future results
  40. Flexible – able to adjust tactics without changing mission
  41. Unafraid – not moved by fear in any dimension
  42. Valuable – making other’s lives better by your involvement with them
  43. Self-protective – risking yourself only when others can truly benefit
  44. Inspiring – living in such a way that others are lifted up
  45. Spirit-filled – allowing the Holy Spirit inside you to do what He wills with you
  46. Calm – not emotionally flustered by opposition or circumstances
  47. Nurturing – caring tenderly for those who are hurting or broken
  48. Healed – not controlled by wounds from your past
  49. Healthy – refusing to indulge in anything – mentally or physically – that might lessen your wellbeing or fitness for mission
  50. Discerning – able to determine the source of an action or circumstance – from God, from the enemy, or from a person

That list looks and sounds so intimidating, doesn’t it? How can you ever get there?

In many respects, only Jesus can live up to that standard. But you and I are to be like Him! As long as you give Him permission, God will keep changing you until you do become like His Son.

And these foundational character traits make a difference whatever your earthly goals are – to overcome some big problem, become successful in business, build a healthy marriage, or simply to be a happy person.

Perhaps as you read through this list the Holy Spirit is putting His finger on some aspect of your character and saying, “Here, let Me change you here!”

If He is, I hope you will let Him do so!

(For Scriptural pictures of such spiritual growth, check out Galatians 5:22-23 or 2 Peter 1:5-8.)

Your Turn: What character quality is God working on you about right now? Are there any other character traits you would include in ‘being like Jesus’? Leave a comment below.


  • Want to be like Jesus? Here’s a list of 50 character qualities to contemplate. Tweet that.

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