O TO BE LIKE THEE
O to be like Thee! blessed Redeemer;
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
O to be like Thee! O to be like Thee!
Blessed Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart
We understand what it means to have role models. We all have people who have shaped our lives. We want to be like them because they exhibit good qualities. We can follow these good examples—2 Thessalonians 3:7, 3:9; Hebrews 13:7. Not only is our prayer to be like God, but we are actually challenged by God to be like God. Leviticus 11:14 says, “For I am Jehovah your God; sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy; for I am holy.”
Ultimately we are challenged, not to be like heroes of the faith, but to be like the Hero of our faith—Jesus Christ. Jesus alone was able to demand people follow Him without exception. Jesus challenged the rich young ruler, “If thou wouldest be perfect, go, sell that which thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come follow me” (Matthew 19:21). He offered the greatest work on earth when He said, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). He warned of the sacrifice necessary to inherit the greatest reward—“If any man would follow after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, ad follow me” (Matthew 16:24). The redeemed are those who “follow the Lamb wheresover he goeth. These were purchased from among men to become the firstfruits unto God and unto the Lamb” (Revelation 14:4).
With so great an example of heroic faith, we are faced with a seemingly impossible challenge to be like Christ. However, we are encouraged and enabled because “His grace reaches me.” Paul said, “By the grace of God I am what I am” (1 Corinthians 15:10). God’s grace makes us capable to carry out God’s mission. “And such confidence we have through Christ to God-ward: not that we are sufficient of ourselves, to account anything as from ourselves: but our sufficiency is from God; who also made us sufficient as ministers of a new covenant; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit gives life” (2 Corinthians 3:4-6).
We must also focus on the tools which God has given us which make our mutual ambition possible. We can be like Jesus because he has given us the tools we need to mold our hearts into His own image and to walk in His footprints. This Christian faith leads to the Christian’s life which is molded by the Word of God.
We see that His word guides us with all the knowledge we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3-4). God has bestowed upon us every bit of knowledge we need to know how to be pleasing to Him by being like Him. Paul said that he forsook all “that I might know Him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable to His death” (Philippians 3:10). We must have the same attitude when it comes to studying and applying God’s perfect Law to our lives.
Since we have all the knowledge we need in our hands, we are expected to apply that knowledge and grow into a mature Christian—2 Peter 1:5-7. We are to diligently add to our faith. We add virtue (the courage to do the right thing), knowledge (information that leads to the ability to discern between right and wrong), self-control (the discipline which is learned and aids in growth), patience (enduring the situations others put us in), godliness (a noteworthy characteristic of those who have spent time in His presence and go forth with his beauty), and brotherly kindness (love for one another that comes from God’s love).
We are then to make our confession and demonstration of faith certain by continued diligent study of the word and our own lives—2 Peter 1:8-10. This continued diligence will keep us aware of our need for God’s grace and our goal to be increasingly like Him. This continual progress in the faith will also help prevent regressing to the realm of sin.
This daily struggle we have between the temporary pleasures of sin and the limitless bliss of grace is rewarded with eternal benefit. Those who make it their aim to be like Jesus and diligently put that goal first in all things will find Heaven. Peter said, “for thus shall be richly supplied unto you the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Take the challenge. Take the knowledge. Take care to walk in the pathway of Christian duty which Jesus has cleared for His people.