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