It’s no secret that a majority of Christians today are described as not reflecting the attitudes and actions of Jesus Christ. In fact, in this recent study done by Barna, only 14% of all Christians were described as being Christ-like.
Where’s the disconnect? Why do we drop the ball on what we are instructed to do by our worldview?
Of course, I am not excluded from the majority unable to live like Jesus. I too exhibit attitudes and actions that reflect love for myself moreover anything higher. But I’ve been able to self-reflect on my tendency to do this, and what I’ve found is, much of the problem is how my heart responds to the challenges of today.
Our society today doesn’t make it any easier to live like Jesus. But when we spot the hurdles that topple us, that’s when start to breakthrough, to fight the resistance that has held Christians back for so long.
For that very reason, consider some of these possible explanations as to why we don’t look more like Jesus today:
1. We value career over character.
If we’re honest, much of our biggest pursuit in life is about finding the job that makes us happy. This is why we strive for shiny resumes. This is why we network and buff up our LinkedIn profile.
Yet, the only problem is, we leave matters of our character entirely untouched—as if our character improves on its own.
What we need is to give equal balance to both our external success and our internal affairs. One over the other doesn’t make for a meaningful life—especially when it comes to living like Jesus.
2. We ignore the need for simplicity.
Society today is caught in a mad cycle of entertaining excess. We are given choices and possessions that cause us to circulate around our own desires. This is why I believe Jesus endorsed a life of simplicity—it allowed Him to focus more on the needs of others.
As we make the choice between excess or simplicity, may we tread down the path that brings us closer to others.
3. The Internet gives us mob mentality.
With the rise of social media, our ability to publicly cause an uproar over moral problems has heightened. We hide behind our screens and simply voice our opinion without showing any love or grace.
If anything, social media should not be our soapbox to denounce sinners; it should be a vehicle to love them further.
That’s how I believe Jesus would use social media.
4. We filter God through societal lies.
The pull of culture is powerful—and though culture is not our enemy, it can become increasingly difficult to resist the lies that attempt to stray us from our devotion to God.
We need an enhanced ability to distinguish the lies from the truths that culture tells us.
When culture tells us that we can be happy living for our own desires, we must see the fallacy in that. When culture tells us to rake up money for ourselves, we must spot the emptiness in that. Only then will we cause positive ripples in our society.
5. We are more cynical of the Church today.
Just because we each have our own social media profiles that highlight our own voice and opinion doesn’t mean we can use that voice to destroy the work God is doing in the Body. Jesus told us that the Church—however broken it may be—is our tool for redeeming the world. This means we live like Jesus the closer we remain to the Body, not the further we distance ourselves from it.
6. We segregate our devotion to God and everything else we do in life.
Faith was intended to be a holistic matter—applying to every single activity we do in life. But for many of us, church can become something we do on the side. We can go there with friends on Sunday, and then focus the rest of our time during the week on furthering our careers.
The impressive thing about Jesus was that He saw all the ways God intersected with daily life. This is the model we have for faith. We would do better seeking out all the ways we can bring faith back from the margins of our life.
7. We all want to be leaders, not servants.
Jesus taught us that we all must become servant to become leaders. But if we’re honest, we don’t like this idea. We understand it, but we don’t practice it. In fact, many of us aim to become servant-leaders, not servants.
We have to purge the innate desire that tells us to reach for leadership without passing through the plane of humility called servanthood.
In Jesus’ model of leadership, there is no shortcut around this plane. If we want to be great in the way Jesus intends, we must be servants.
8. We struggle with convenient friendships.
In our race to accomplish our ambition, we can ignore our friendships. We can only have room for the friendships that are convenient—the ones that we don’t have to put much effort in to maintain. But all life-giving relationships require risk. We can’t circumvent this risk with social media or only being friends with our neighbors.
Let’s take a lesson from Jesus and sacrifice for our friends—that’s the only way we change anything with our friendships.
9. We’re afraid of offending or making others feel uncomfortable.
Jesus’ mission wasn’t to make people feel comfortable. His mission was to save them. This meant caring less about offending them, and caring more about their relationship to Him.
Now, don’t misunderstand this to me you can abuse those who aren’t Christians. Our words must always be seasoned with the love, grace, and truth that Jesus provides.
In our daily actions, we must be brave—and really, I think that’s what it all boils down to when living like Jesus. If we are not brave in our approach with people and in our self-conquest of all the dark growths in our character, then we will not arrive anywhere close to living like Jesus. Let’s be the bravest people we can be, and tread the different path of living like Jesus in everything we do.
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