Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did. – 1 John 2:6
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). Then came the occasion for that Word to step into the world He had created. The occasion was the need for a saviour who would be like his brothers. Then “the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). He completed the work of saving us from our sins and ascended into heaven where he still lives. While the Word, Jesus Christ the Son of God, was here on earth, there was a way he conducted his life, a way he lived. To say ‘Living as Jesus did’ is in the past tense. For every other person, that would mean that they died and saw corruption. For Jesus, it means the part of His life that he lived while here on earth, because He still lives in heaven, where He makes intercession for us.
Is there a way that He lived that we can hope to emulate? Most certainly! Peter says, “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps” (1 Pet. 2:21, my italics). He could have jumped down to earth from heaven and be crucified, but he didn’t. One reason for living out a life here on earth was to bequeath to us something that we could follow. A spoken word is good, but an example is more powerful; it is said that actions speak louder than words. To live as Jesus did is therefore to pattern one’s life after the example that He (Jesus) left for us to follow.
Jesus, God’s Pattern Son
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. – Romans 8:29
When God made the decision that you would be His child by adoption in Christ Jesus, he didn’t intend that you would be like someone else. He also predestined that you would conform to the likeness of Jesus. Even before birthing you and saving you, God decided that when you came to Him the life of Jesus would be in you and the character of Jesus, that flowed from His inner life, would also be found in you. When he designed eternal life as the end for you, he decided that the way your life should be, might be like that of Jesus. When you accept him and imbibe his life and example, you are actually being who you were/are meant to be.
There are many examples of good men in Scripture and in the contemporary world whose examples you can follow, but they are not who you were predestined to conform to. On the mountain of transfiguration where Jesus took his disciples Peter, James and John to pray, Moses and Elijah, representing the law and the prophets, appeared. Peter was talking about making three tents for Jesus, Moses and Elijah when God interrupted from heaven, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him” (Mt. 17:5). God’s emphasis here is ‘This’ not ‘these’; and ‘Son’ not ‘sons’. God was very clear on who pleased Him and should be followed: His singular, only begotten Son, Jesus Christ the Righteous. Moses and Elijah were good men, but Jesus infinitely exceeds them all. Jesus is the only one God has unreservedly asked us to follow. We can follow the examples of other men so long as they themselves have followed or are following Jesus. At His Baptism, God also spoke of Jesus through a voice from heaven: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). The writer of the book of Hebrews also speaks of the supremacy and pre-eminence of Jesus. He says, “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son” (Heb. 1:1-2a). If anyone wants to hear God, listen to Jesus. If anyone wants to please God, do so through Jesus and follow His example. He is the pattern set before us.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. – Philippians 2:6
I could do a lengthy list of various things that Jesus did and ask you to imitate Him, but that would be legalistic and an impossible act. The way to live as Jesus lived is to first have the life that Jesus had. All He did flowed from the life within Him. Where to begin therefore is to possess the life of Christ by accepting him as Lord and Saviour. To all who receive Him, who believe in His name, He gives them the power to become children of God (John 1:12). That is where it begins. To live like Jesus did, requires an empowerment that is not within you but by the Holy Spirit. He renews your mind and gives you the kind of attitude that Jesus had. When that is done, you can study his life as recorded in Scripture and follow the example that he left for all his followers to follow.
One good place to begin is to look at Philippians 2:5-11. In summary, Jesus lived a life of unreserved obedience and submission to the will of God, even when that meant death! Once he told his disciples that his “food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work” (John 4:34). If that is the motto of your life, you would live as Jesus did. You can also be specific about various aspects of his life. How did he pray? How did he handle the word of God? How did he respond to temptation? How did he sleep? When he awoke, how did he handle his sleeping place? How did he eat? How did he choose his disciples, including Judas Iscariot? How did he relate to his subordinates? How did he relate with his parents and brothers? How did he relate to those in authority? How did he relate to the women around him? How did he handle those who opposed him? What was his attitude to the sick, poor, hungry and downtrodden? How did he handle the knowledge of his impending death? As you open your heart to know and follow Him, he would reveal himself to you, for those who seek Him find Him.