I WANT TO BE LIKE CHRIST PART 2
Updated: Jan 31, 2021
Christ stands up for those that most would judge. He will defend those that most would feel were not worthy of defending and love those shunned by others. He offers acceptance, gives confidence and showers love on those that others don’t understand nor care to. And if we are sensitive to His promptings he has a way of making us look at ourselves when passing judgment on others.
One day there was a woman caught in the very act of having an adulterous affair. As Jesus was about to teach the people in the temple this woman was brought before Jesus by the religious leaders. (You can read this for yourself in John 8:1-12). They told Jesus that Moses’ law says they are to stone this woman. Then they asked Him, what do you say? ….Hmmm what would Jesus do? Uphold Moses’ law by having her stoned or defend this sinner? You see this confrontation was not so much about condemning this woman. Oh yes, she was definitely caught in sin but she was not really the point. No she was just the bait. This was all about setting a trap for Jesus, so they could accuse Him. At first He said nothing……He began to write something in the dirt as if he had not heard them. (NOTE: I don’t know what Jesus wrote in the dirt but take note of Jesus’ example, take the time to think things through before you react to the things people do)……Anyway, this woman mind you is standing there completely humiliated, ashamed and alone, so she thought. But no… the King of Kings is about to represent her…no better Advocate than that. While she stood there with her head hung in shame Jesus looked across the crowd, soon Jesus would face this same type of crowd Himself. He no doubt looked into the faces of these people pointing fingers, smug in their judgment and convinced of their piety while condemning this woman, after all they had Moses’ law on their side. Jesus looks at them and does not argue her innocence or justify her sin. He simply says you who is without sin throw the first stone at her. Then he bent down and began to write in the dirt again. One by one, starting with the oldest they turned to leave, none worthy of such a task. Ironically the only One worthy to do so turned to this tortured soul and asks…where are your accusers? Has anyone condemned you? She looks up and answers no one, Lord. That’s right, no one was left but the Savior. Her Savior. All have gone but He remains. Then Jesus says they have not condemned you and neither do I, now go and sin no more. Wow! How awesome is He? He didn’t lecture her..He didn’t ask why..He didn’t ask her to explain herself and she didn’t owe Him anything. You see whatever she was looking for in the arms of a man who was not hers she did not need. Later, when Jesus spoke again to the people, He goes on to say I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. That kind of love gives you strength to stand up to temptation..that kind of love puts a pep in your step..that kind of love opens the door to possibilities…that kind of love allows you room to change. That kind of love makes you want to go and sin no more. Being condemned zaps your energy, discourages change and eventually leads to defiance and rebellion. I noticed something else in this story. Jesus was also gracious to this woman’s accusers. After making His point Jesus bent down to write in the dirt again. He didn’t stare them down to intimidate them. He didn’t ridicule them for being caught in their own trap. He was gracious and allowed them time to reflect, to see the error of their ways (if they chose to) without condemning them. He did not shame them for their mob mentality or for their treachery. He allowed them to just walk away.
In the previous story it was probably fairly easy to identify with the woman who had sinned. After all, we’ve all made mistakes, messed up, said the wrong thing or made a wrong choice. We may not have been caught having an affair but we’ve all at one time or another found something that was not necessarily good for us to soothe or numb our pain or feed a need (self-pity, food, anger, drugs, unwise relationships, self-indulgence and the list goes on and on). Most of us would hope we could be as compassionate and as wise as Jesus if we had the upper hand and sat in a place of judgment. But how many of us would want to see ourselves in the place of the accusers? Not very pretty to contemplate. It is not easy seeing ourselves mirrored negatively in scripture. But acknowledging is the first step to changing and that is a good thing. The first step to becoming more like Christ is getting real with ourselves about the places where we are nothing like Him. I would love to say I know all this from study, prayer and getting it right but the truth is I’ve learned my best lessons from getting it wrong and allowing the Holy Spirit to counsel and in some cases console me. Humility is essential when walking with Christ. He’s not condemning us as He said to the woman caught in the affair but He is saying learn and then go and sin no more. Remember Beloved we are responsible for our own behavior and have to take ownership of how we act or act out. This is not a punishment just a fact. We will reap what we sow whether or not we feel justified. If we follow our flesh we will reap from the flesh if we follow the spirit we will reap that which comes from the spirit. Yes we may have gotten it wrong on the way to getting it right but the key is to acknowledge it, fix what we are equipped to fix and keep it moving in the direction of the light and to encourage others along that same path.
It takes a lot of stamina, determination, prayer, willingness and as I said before an extreme amount of humility to strive to be like Christ. Desire is the seed but that alone will not cut it and pride will stop you dead in your tracks. Because in the right environment faced with just the right scenario we can all be seduced by strife, lured by evil thoughts and enticed with behavior that is contradictory to Jesus. Be especially careful in situations where you feel you are right and justified. The enemy is extremely cunning, deceitful and subtle in creating division. To be Christlike will also require the ability to forgive yourself first otherwise our Christlikeness will just be a mask for self-loathing with no real power and no path to forgive anyone else. It will all just be a pitiful, depressing sham that will hurt you and the many innocent ones who need to see Christ in you. And this will greatly grieve the Holy Spirit. Whenever you are confused or need clarification or justification judge it by the Word. Don’t ask your friends ask the one and only final authority….God. He will help you get perspective in dealing with situations that at face value may seem black and white but upon further, deeper reflection actually may be gray and require amazing grace. Recognize Beloved that anyone can be used to further an evil agenda even those of us that love the Lord. We must be aware, alert and cognizant of our behavior and the behavior of others. What kind of fruit is being produced? We are either promoting peace or strife either within ourselves or outwardly. We have the responsibility as lovers of Christ to promote peace.
When hurt, confused or offended always defer to Christ and err on the side of love the Lord will handle the rest. Of course we can always justify why we do the things we do. We can come up with clever and convincing arguments that would probably pass the test of public opinion, but if it cannot stand up to the testing of the Word find a why to let it go. It will ONLY lead to destruction and the only one that will be jumping up and down in joy is the evil one that led you so skillfully down the that path.
Sometimes being Christlike will mean that when faced with temptation we stop, think and do what He would do and not take the bait. Sometimes it will mean when you have the upper hand and have every reason to judge….. you don’t. Sometimes it will require standing in the gap for someone who needs grace…sometimes it means accepting judgment you don’t think you deserve. Sometimes it will mean letting go of old mind sets that seem so right….and changing your mind to the mind of Christ. Then the one that will be filled with joy and well pleased will be the Savior you followed down the path of peace and on to victory.
Jesus was fearless. He spoke the truth. He didn’t let public opinion or the attitudes of others sway Him. He was full of compassion for those that were repentant and in need of grace. He was very wise because He knew when and how to speak the truth in a way that could not only be understood but received… if one chose to. That’s what Goodwill Ambassadors for Christ is all about. It’s a movement to speak the truth with the compassion and wisdom of Christ without fear. I want to be like Christ.
Amplified Bible (AMP)
29 For those whom He foreknew [of whom He was [a]aware and [b]loved beforehand], He also destined from the beginning [foreordaining them] to be molded into the image of His Son [and share inwardly His likeness], that He might become the firstborn among many brethren.
30 And those whom He thus foreordained, He also called; and those whom He called, He also justified (acquitted, made righteous, putting them into right standing with Himself). And those whom He justified, He also glorified [raising them to a heavenly dignity and condition or state of being].
31 What then shall we say to [all] this? If God is for us, who [can be] against us? [Who can be our foe, if God is on our side?]
32 He who did not withhold or spare [even] His own Son but gave Him up for us all, will He not also with Him freely and graciously give us all [other] things?
33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect [when it is] God Who justifies [that is, Who puts us in right relation to Himself? Who shall come forward and accuse or impeach those whom God has chosen? Will God, Who acquits us?]
34 Who is there to condemn [us]? Will Christ Jesus (the Messiah), Who died, or rather Who was raised from the dead, Who is at the right hand of God actually pleading as He intercedes for us?
No one Lord, no not one. Hallelujah and Amen!
Ms. Wanda, GAC