Assorted Extra-Biblical and Non-Biblical Thoughts on Being Like Jesus

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”  ― Mahatma Gandhi

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Search YouTube for [I want to be like Jesus] and you’ll see that lots of songs have been written on this subject.  This includes “I want to be more like Jesus” by B. J. Thomas and “Lord, I want to be like Jesus” by Fernando Ortega.  And it seems there have been many children’s songs written over the years with this theme.  (I hope that this doesn’t indicate that adults consider it a theme to juvenile for them.)

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In His Steps: What Would Jesus Do? is the title of a book by Charles M. Sheldon published in 1896 which has sold over 30 million copies since then.  The subtitle (What Would Jesus Do?) and its variations “have been used by Christians for centuries as a form of imitatio dei.”  (Wikipedia article)  I found the book mildly thought-provoking but it was limited by Sheldon’s vision of the way he wanted communities in his day to behave.  Thus it promotes a social gospel which seems more akin to politics than personal relationship with, and personal obedience to, the Lord Jesus.

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“What Would Jesus Do?”  – This phrase “(often abbreviated to WWJD) became popular in the United States in the 1990s and as a personal motto for adherents of Evangelical Christianity who used the phrase as a reminder of their belief in a moral imperative to act in a manner that would demonstrate the love of Jesus through the actions of the adherents.” (Wikipedia article)

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“Imitatio Dei”  (Imitation of God)  –  This is “a religious concept by which man finds virtue by attempting to imitate God. It is found in ancient Greek philosophy and several world religions. In some branches of Christianity, however, it plays a key role.”  (Wikipedia article)

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The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471)  –  This ” is a Catholic devotional book…and is perhaps the most widely read devotional work next to the Bible.”  (Wikipedia article)  I have tried reading this book but have not found it helpful.  By contrast, I have found another devotional classic, The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence, extremely helpful and have written a post about it.

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Imitation of Christ  –  “In Christian theology, the Imitation of Christ is the practice of following the example of Jesus.  In Eastern Christianity the term Life in Christ is sometimes used for the same concept.  (Wikipedia article)

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“What’s #1 on my ‘to do’ list for today?  To be more like Jesus than I was yesterday.  Is there some reason that shouldn’t be #1 on my ‘to do’ list for every day?”

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 I think most failed attempts to imitate Jesus result from either a misunderstanding of Him or a lack of faith in Him.

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