It’s a question I have read. It’s a question I have been asked. It’s a question I myself have asked. “Is it possible to live like Jesus?”
Maybe I should start by saying that I believe Jesus is God’s Son. I believe He came to the earth, as a man. It says clearly in Hebrews that He was made like us in every way. But the Bible says that Jesus didn’t sin, and that makes me wonder. (Hebrews 2:17-18; Hebrews 4:15-16.)
“We are just human”
My whole life I have heard the same old story, which went something like this: “God looked down at us sinners, and He felt sorry for us. He loves us, so of course He wants to spend eternity with us. But because we are such horrible sinners, He can’t just let us all enter into heaven. So God sent His Son to earth to take the punishment for our sins and die for us, to forgive us our sins, so that we who believe in Him can spend eternity in heaven with Him! And because of His goodness towards us, we love Jesus, and we try to live in a way that brings praise to His name. But we are just human. We sin.”
Isn’t God powerful enough?
Every time I heard this explanation, I would get a feeling that something just didn’t make sense. Can’t God help us to stop sinning? Isn’t He the Almighty God? Isn’t He powerful enough?
Then one day I heard a different story that finally made sense:
God looked at the world, at the men and women He Himself had created. He saw all kinds of people. He saw people living openly in sin. He also saw people who were trying to keep His commandments – people who were really trying to be obedient to the laws He had made for them – but they couldn’t stop sinning.
God was very sad, because He loves us so much that He really wants to spend eternity with us. But because of His own laws that cannot be changed, God cannot let people who live in sin enter His kingdom, a kingdom that is made up of righteousness, peace and joy. (Romans 14:17.)
So God sent His own Son down to earth to save us. Jesus died for our sins, and God promised to forgive us our sins if we accept Jesus as Lord in our lives. But that was only the beginning of God’s plan!
The most important part of the story of Jesus wasn’t the fact that He died on the cross for us. It was the life that He lived! He was here, He was a man, and He was tempted—in every possible way, just like us (Hebrews 4:15). But He didn’t sin! He hated the sinful lusts and desires in His human nature. He hated them so much that He said “No!” to them every single day. He never gave in to even one of them. That’s why when He died on the cross on Calvary, death didn’t have power over Him, and He rose from the dead and showed Himself to His disciples, before returning to heaven to be with His Father!
Footsteps we can follow!
Jesus went before us as an example. He said “No!” to every sin He was tempted to, and now we can follow Him (1 Peter 2:21-23). It says clearly in these verses that as His disciples, we have to follow in the footsteps of a man who never sinned. That means that we can also live without doing any sin!
You see, Jesus didn’t just go back to heaven to be with His Father again, leaving us here struggling in our own sin and unhappiness. He promised to send the Holy Spirit to help and teach us, and to give us power to overcome sin in our own lives. But not just anybody can get the Holy Spirit. No, God sends the Holy Spirit to those who are tired of their own sin, and who obey Him (Acts 5:32).
We need to pray for help to stop doing what we know is wrong, to stop doing our own will, but to do God’s will instead. Jesus is very glad when He sees that we want to serve Him with our whole heart, and He sends His Holy Spirit to help us to become free from sin.
Little by little, He shows us more things that we need to stop with. In this way, we become more and more like Jesus; we become full of righteousness, peace and joy. The fruits of the Spirit become our life, and we can look forward to living an eternity together with Jesus, the one whom we follow, who lived and died for us!
This story makes so much more sense to me—and I don’t think it’s just a story. I believe it is the truth. I believe it’s for me. This is why I am a Christian.
“But be holy in all you do, just as God, the One who called you, is holy ” 1 Peter 1:15 (NCV).