How would you describe the life of Jesus? How would you say He lived, while on earth? Is there anything we can learn from the life of Jesus that we can apply to our own lives?
When we are faced with various life situations or faced with decisions to make, one question often presented is “what would Jesus do?” Now, depending on your personality and how you’d like the situation to turn out, you might say something like, “well we don’t know because JeSuS nEvER wEnT tHrOuGh tHiS.” It would be unproductive, but you might say it lol I’m not picking on you; I’ve said it too.
It’s true. Every single situation known to mankind is not recorded in the Bible—much less within the four Gospels. Perhaps, in individual situations, the decisions we should make are not always so cut and dry. In those situations, we should pray, consult God’s Word, seek wise counsel, and listen for God’s guidance.
How about when we are faced with our day to day routine? Our daily living? What might Jesus do with our lives every day? How would our lives be different if we spent each day living like Jesus? I think this question is easier to answer (and can even inform how we move when those life situations and decisions come up). Beloved, be humble. Sit down.
‘Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!’Philippians 2:3-8
What NOT To Do
If you let popular opinion tell it, you should ‘do you’ and ‘get yours’ and ‘focus on yourself’. Popular opinion is wrong. At the risk of sounding trite: it’s not about you. Don’t do things out of your own selfish ambition. Being ambitious is one thing; but when we’re the only ones who benefit from our ambition, that’s being selfish. Don’t be selfish.
Don’t do things out of vain conceit. This one feels easier to ignore because its easy to dismiss these words from descriptions of our own character. “I’m not vain…” or “I’m not conceited, I’m confident.” Oh, okay. Here is the same verse, but another way: “Don’t be selfish. Don’t try to impress others (NLT).”
When we’re not careful, we can get lured into trying to impress others. Whether its with our looks, our knowledge, the things we have, the thing we bought with our stimulus money or tax refund, our career, our degrees, the way we dress, the people we know or are associated to… and don’t think because I didn’t list your thing that this doesn’t apply to you!
The appeal of impressing others is too strong. Social media can draw us in even more. Our society has created a never ending popularity contest, pitting us against one another. This is not the way to make our lives look like the life of Jesus.
What to do
The way to to make our lives look like the life of Jesus is not complex; though we may find it complicated. Simply put: value others. Now I know what you’re probably thinking, “I value others!” Of course you do! Me too. But how much and to what degree? If we’re not valuing other people above ourselves, then we aren’t valuing people enough to say that we live like Jesus.
“Now hold on a minute… ABOVE myself? Value them MORE than me?” Well, hold on—let’s not get too anxious. Look at it put a different way: “…Be humble, thinking about others as better than yourselves. Don’t only look out for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too (NLT).”
Valuing another person is simply how we think about them. Thinking about them as though they were better than ourselves doesn’t mean they are better—we just think of them that way. And when we think of people better, we will begin to treat them better. So I have to ask: how do we really think of others? What value do we place on them?
How do you think of immigrants who don’t have the right paperwork? How do you think of the unborn? How do you think of women who choose not to carry their pregnancy to term? How do you think of the homeless (if at all)? How do you think of men who prefer the company of other men, or women only interested in a relationship with another woman?
Yeah, I’m runnin’ this list…
What about a person who believes they were born in the wrong body and embarks on a journey to present as a different gender than the one they were born? How do you think of them? Black people? White people? Democrats? Republicans? Bernie Bros? Convicted criminals? The wealthy? The poor? Landlords? Tenants? Muslims? Mormons? Evangelicals? Atheists? Calvinists? Catholics? Spiritual people? People who go to church every Sunday? People who have decided they aren’t done with God, but they’re finished with church?
Again: how we think of people—how we value them—will determine how we treat them.
The Guy Himself
Jesus came down so we could sit down…in humility. Jesus was God and became flesh and made His home with people here on Earth (John 1:14). And then He died. He DIED! How’s that for dramatic?! We sometimes act as if treating other people who have given us reason not to like them with some dignity is going to kill us sometimes. The drama!
Jesus was God and made Himself a servant. This is what living like Jesus looks like: servanthood. If we’re serving only ourselves, we’re not serving Jesus. It’s when we’re serving others that we’re truly serving Jesus (Matthew 25:40,45). Living like Jesus looks like valuing others—even those who do not look, think, or believe like us.
People should not have to meet our requirements and standards before we value them and demonstrate that value in how we treat them. Jesus didn’t wait for me to get on the same page with Him before He humbled Himself and died like a criminal (Romans 5:6-11). The example we have to live up to is gargantuan! We don’t really have the range.
Thankfully, we’re not called to die like Jesus. We’re just called to live like Him.
Keith Goosby II is the founding minister of NET Church. He has served in ministry for over 20 years, in various capacities–including music, social media management, teaching, preaching, consulting, and leadership. Keith’s first church experience as a child was a home church. Since then, he has attended and served at churches sizing from just a few to over 10,000–of various denominations and affiliations. As NET Church is being planted, Keith continues to serve at his Dallas home church, Golden Gate MBC, in Dallas, TX, under the leadership of Minister Vincent T. Parker. Keith is married and currently lives in the Dallas area with his wife and three sons.
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