BY: JEFFREY H. SYPOLE
“Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.” ~ John 2:6
I wrote this May article for Forsyth Family a month ago, not knowing what the current state of our community, country, and world might be regarding the coronavirus pandemic. I’m hoping that there has been a positive turn by now. But let me say this: Wherever we are at this point, as Christians, I present a challenge to you and me. Have a great aim—have a high standard—make Jesus your ideal. Be like him in character. Be like him in outlook and attitude toward God and others. Be like him in the home—thoughtful, patient, and loving. Be like him in your work—honest, reliable, and always willing to go the second mile. Be like him in your social life—approachable, unselfish, and considerate. Make him an ideal not solely to be admired, but also to be followed.
The life of Jesus illustrates nearly every variety of true character. Humility, gentleness, patience, sympathy, charity, trust, and courage – all mixed in that one personality. Crowds gathered around him, for he spoke with authority, and not like the scribes, who merely parroted what they had studied. The people wondered at the gracious and wise words that proceeded out of his mouth. Here is that unity of gentleness and power that stamps a good character. He entered the homes of the social outcasts without any snobbishness or pretension. He was known as the friend of publicans and sinners alike. Courage and love, perfectly blended, were characteristic of his whole life. He sought God’s will and fearlessly followed it, no matter the cost. In his outlook toward people and his treatment of them, sympathy and love found expression in a practical way.
Allow the beauty of this character to absorb your thoughts, so that whenever you deviate from this ideal, your conscience will convict you. When that happens, do not try to excuse yourself. Face your fault. Own it to be yours and yours alone. Ask God’s forgiveness and where it affects others, ask their forgiveness, too. Ask God’s Spirit to stand by you and help you till that part of your character, outlook, or attitude comes into line with the ideal you have in Jesus.
My hope as a minister of the gospel is that all of us, including myself, will live as Jesus lived. Indeed, it’s a high standard set by an Almighty God. It is His will for us, and it ought to be our objective as we live this one life we have received. When we open our hearts to live a life inspired by God’s love, it can change the world. It compels us to pray and even open our doors to those who are hungry, sick, or forgotten. It leads us to reach out to those who are struggling. It drives us to stand together for justice and inclusion. When we live with open hearts and outstretched hands, we are being true Christians. Don’t forget about others!
Whatever the current state of our existence is, not only during this pandemic, but in any circumstance, we need to strive to exemplify Jesus’ character. We are all concerned about what is going on in our world today. Do we worry? Yes. Did Jesus ever worry? I’m not sure, but I do know He absolutely trusted in God His Father. If I could take just one of Jesus’ characteristics and live by it, it would be always to trust in God my Father.