Walking Worthy of His Name
I think about you often, and I pray that you will become steadfast in your commitment to the Lord and represent Christ well in this world. Let me share with you a few thoughts on this subject.
When the Lord Jesus went back to heaven, He left His disciples behind to give leadership to the Church that was born on Pentecost. The Church was to represent Jesus here on earth and to proclaim the Gospel to the rest of the world.
Something wonderful happened, and we read about it in the book of Acts: “...and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch” (Acts 11:26).
The remarkable thing is that the believers did not choose the name “Christians” for themselves; it was given to them by the people of their society. What caused the people to select this name? The reason was this: They remembered how Christ acted and talked while He was on earth, and these believers behaved exactly like Him.
That means these believers loved like Jesus, showed compassion like Jesus, walked in humility like Jesus, spoke the truth like Jesus, prayed in faith like Jesus, cared for others like Jesus, healed the sick and cast out demons like Jesus, obeyed God’s Word like Jesus, preached with authority like Jesus and were faithful until death like Jesus.
What name does the world give us? If the people around us closely observed our private lives—the way we talked and dealt with our parents, husband, children, neighbors, co-workers, pastor, leaders, fellow believers and others we come in contact with—what name would they give us to identify us?
Would they call us pretender, gossip, self-seeker, lover of money, unsubmitted, prideful or covetous, or would we truly qualify to be called Christians?
We often excuse our un-Christlike attitude and behavior by pointing out that no one is perfect and that we are no different than anyone else in church. It may be true that other believers are as sorry Christians as we are, but that should never be our justification or satisfy us to stay as we are. We must desire with all our heart to become someone worthy to be called a Christian.
There are specific things we must do or change in our lives to become more like Jesus:
1. Jesus must become our measuring rod. Romans 8:29 tells us that “He [God] also predestined [us] to become conformed to the image of His Son.”
Therefore, the cry of our heart must be, “Lord Jesus, I want to become like You, so I can bring honor to Your name.” This means we will no longer use our culture, our family background, our past failures and other people’s poor examples as excuses to stay as we are. But we will look at Jesus alone to tell us what God destined for us to become, through His grace and the power of the Holy Spirit.
2. We must decide to obey the Word of God regardless of what others practice. If other believers gossip, we will not join them. If they do not submit to authority or exhibit a critical spirit, we will not have any part in it. Why? Because we choose to do the will of God as His Word instructs us.
3. We need to surround ourselves with people who live what we desire to become. There is an old proverb that says, “Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are.”
We may think it doesn’t really matter who our close friends are or who we spend time with, as long as we follow our own convictions. My dear sister, this may well be one of the most successful deceptions the Enemy uses to keep us from becoming like Jesus. We may not believe or admit it, but the negative behavior, critical spirit and rebellious attitude of those we associate with will surely rub off on us. It will not happen overnight, but over time and without us realizing it, our heart is being poisoned little by little.
Perhaps we think we are strong enough and this will never happen to us. We are wrong. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals’ ” (1 Corinthians 15:33).
My dear sister, if we want to become like Jesus, then we must surround ourselves with people who live what we desire to become. We may have to make a deliberate choice to let go of some of our old friends and choose to spend time with sisters who will influence us toward godliness, walking in the light and in obedience to God’s Word. We need to choose those people as our friends who have the same desire as we do to become like Jesus, and encourage and correct each other as we pursue this goal.
Yes, we will hurt some feelings, including our own, when we dissolve some friendships that pull us the wrong direction. We need to let them know that their influence is causing us to become as negative and critical as they are and, therefore, we can no longer maintain close friendship with them.
4. We must draw near to God. God put a wonderful promise and invitation in His Word for us: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8).
If we desire to become like Jesus, we must be faithful to spend time with Him in prayer and in reading His Word. We will find that His presence and character will transform our thoughts, hearts and actions in such a way that we become authentic Christians.
My dear sister, may God’s love and grace strengthen you to follow Jesus.
Your sister in Christ,