2. Being like Jesus is about doing all the right things.
Jesus lived a perfect life, and His actions are worth replicating. For example, Jesus set us an inspiring example in prayer, forgiveness, care for the needy, etc. While being like Jesus does involve such behaviors, being like Jesus is not just about doing the right actions. What is more important is the manner in which one does them, one’s attitude and intentions.
Consider Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 6. He teaches on giving, praying and fasting. These three actions are the foundation of the holiness in both the Jewish and Christian religion. However, Jesus abolishes the idea that just taking part in these behaviors is good enough.
Jesus says the following in regard to prayer, “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:5-6).
According to Jesus, praying in and of itself is not pleasing to God. Just because you pray does not mean you are like Jesus. What Jesus emphasizes is the way you pray. People may think that those who are most like Jesus are those who pray long, elaborate prayers for all to hear. However, Jesus explains that those who are most like Him are those who pray when no one else is watching. Those who pray in only the witness of God the Father are those who are most pleasing to God.
Jesus practiced what He preached. Read the following words in the Gospel of Mark, “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed” (Mark 1:35). Jesus did not go out of His way to pray in front of others so they could observe His holiness and righteousness. On the contrary, Jesus went out of His way to pray 1) in the middle of the night, and 2) in an isolated place where no one would see Him. This is how Jesus calls us to pray. Praying in itself is not enough to be like Jesus. To be like Jesus, you must pray like Jesus.
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