As Christ-followers, we are constantly encouraged to “live like Christ.” What would Jesus do? we are often asked. And rightly so as John himself writes that whoever says he abides in him [Christ] ought to walk in the same way in which he walked (1 John 2:6).
But what does it mean to “walk like he walked?” I think theologian Kelly Kapic nails it when he writes…
The short answer is that Christians are called to imitate Jesus’ self giving love on the cross, not his crown as a king of his career as a carpenter. The point is clear: Jesus cross provides the primary pattern for our faithfulness to God in the present.
It was the cross of Christ in which humility, sacrifice, and love were exhibited. Therefore, for us to imitate Christ leads us to a life of humility, sacrifice, and love as well.
We are told by John that by this we know love, that he [Christ] laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth (1 John 3:16-18).
Our lives should be one of cruciformity. To be saved by the power of the cross is also to be transformed by it. Christ made us alive with Him so that we could freely live and find true life; the true life that goes counter to the ways of this world as it lives out the ways of the cross.
This life of the cross, along with the message of the cross, will look foolish to the world. Paul writes that God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being[d] might boast in the presence of God (1 Corinthians 1:27-29).
“When we remember,” Kapic writes, “just how radical the cross is, keeping in mind how it was considered ‘folly’ to worship a crucified Lord, we see how radical this metaphor becomes for shaping the Christian life.” The world glamorizes comfort, ease, and personal honor, but the cross is one of suffering, humility, and sacrifice.
However, though such suffering, humility, and sacrifice look weak to the world, they are really the ways in which God is shown to be most powerful. God does not and has not used the ways of our fallen world to reveal himself. Our King came to the earth by being born in a stable and died by way of a cross. Not exactly the way we would visualize the Creator of the universe coming to the world to restore it. And yet it is through such foolishness that we are being saved (see 1 Corinthians 1:18).
To walk as Jesus walked, therefore, and to live as he lived, is one which is shaped by the cross. It is a life of humility empowered for service and obedience. It is a life of self-sacrifice. And, contrary to the world’s thinking, it is a life of joy!!