“Jesus replied: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37)
What do you like best about Jesus? His nature is love. Love—not getting but giving. How much? Total self -giving. Other-oriented, not self-oriented. That’s #1in his model for us.
Number one then, is loving God. But there’s more. Jesus continued with number two: loving the others in our life. As a son of Eve, we are not naturally that way. I work to fulfill me, not you. I sacrifice anything to protect me, provide for me, yes, even entertain me. But Jesus loved his neighbor, not as himself, but more than he loved himself. Love. Maybe we get close to loving our spouse and children that way, but our friends? Even broader, my neighbor? Why can’t I love you that way? Love on God’s standard. If we consider Satan’s anti-image of God to this self-giving, covetousness, then, reigns. To get more than to give. Love.
Is there anything else you like about the Jesus model? How about holiness? What if he were corrupt, untrustworthy, filled with lust? In the anti-image there is also pride. And there’s a dilemma here. How could humility be part of the character of the King of Kings? Humility? But that also is his model for us. Philippians 2:3-8: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!”
Jesus sets a high standard, indeed. How different were Eve in the lush garden of Eden, and Jesus in the desert! Eve with a perfect heredity, Jesus with a deplorable ancestry. Yet Jesus prevailed. He is our model. Ever so briefly then, that’s the Bible’s standard for the God–intended life. In a word, Jesus.
What is a picture of that standard: Victory— Overcoming all conscious, deliberate rejection of the known will of God. Yet it’s not just victory over temptation that God plans. The life he intends for you is far more than that. He wants the positive, He wants you to feel like Jesus, to think like Jesus, to choose like Jesus, to act like Jesus.
Christ-like life. Feeling, thinking, acting more and more like Jesus. But even that is not the ultimate, remember, He planned to restore the image ON PURPOSE. He created, redeemed and sanctifies us in order that we might have loving oneness with Him. Lovers to become truly one must be compatible, right? Therefore, we were created God-compatible. Loving oneness with God is the goal of it all. Joy filled companionship.