The Bible tells that, as believers in Jesus, we are to be conformed to His likeness (Romans 8:29). We are to put on the mind of Christ (I Corinthians 2:16). Every minute of every day we should strive to behave as Jesus would behave if He were facing the situations that we face. Therefore, what daily choices should we make in order to be more like Jesus? In the Gospel of Matthew, chapter five, we find Jesus telling a group of people how His followers should behave. Using this chapter as a rough outline, let us examine how we can make choices that make us more like Jesus Christ.
Christians Must Rely Daily on a Close Relationship With God
The first characteristic of a follower of Jesus is that we must recognize our inability to save ourselves, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:3 ESV). We must be aware of our spiritual needs, not just our physical needs. As Christians, we must keep in mind that the ability to live a holy life comes from God. We do not live the Christian life by our own power. Our spirit, apart from a relationship with Jesus, is too weak to stand against the temptations and forces that seek to destroy us. We must be ever vigilant to fan the flames of our relationship with God.
Christians Should Be In Constant Prayer To God
We must pray without ceasing (I Thessalonians 5:17), so that we will be confidently walking in the power of the Holy Spirit. I try to be in a constant conversation with God throughout the day. Instead of merely thinking to myself, I direct my thoughts toward God. I ask Him questions, share my feelings, and listen for His response in my spirit. In this way, I try to stay engaged in communication with Him , so that my every decision and action will be guided by Him.
Christians Should Choose To Be Empathetic
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matt. 5:4 ESV). Believers should show compassion; caring about others when they hurt. Sometimes, when a person is going through a rough time or tragedy has crashed into their lives, all they need is someone that knows what they are going through to ride it out with them. The love of Jesus tells us to be the person who comes along side the hurting one and help them through their trials.
Christians Should Choose a Godly Attitude Concerning Success
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matt. 5:5 ESV). Believers must not exhibit the kind of arrogance that pushes people away. Oftentimes we think that the way to be successful, whether it is in business or during an argument, is to knock others out of the way. Jesus was not that way and He does not want us to be that way. Many non-Christians say that the main characteristic of Christianity is ‘arrogance’, we should choose to refuse to be arrogant.
Christians Should Choose To Control Their Anger
As Christians, we must not engage in uncontrolled anger. Colossians 3:7-9 tells us that the believer is no longer controlled by things like anger, but now is able to resist the urge to engage in sins of that nature. The Bible tells us that one can be angry at the things God is angry at, such as sin and the hurtful, harmful ways men act, but we must not sin because of our anger (Ephesians 4:26).
Christians Should Choose To Seek Holiness
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matt. 5:6 ESV). The believer’s overriding desire should be to be holy (I Peter 1:15-16). Much of our culture views nothing as off limits. The motto with many today, as it has been for some time, is still “If it feels good, do it”. Our sin-soaked media taunts and tempts us to do things that God does not want us to do. We must be aware that we face this every day, and we must live in the life of the Holy Spirit in order to be able to resist the temptation to become like the world (Romans 12). The Bible promises us the resources to overcome temptation (I Corinthians 10:13), we must choose to utilize those resources.
Christians Should Choose To Extend Mercy To Others
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” (Matt. 5:7 ESV). The Bible tells us to love our enemies and do good to those who persecute us (Luke 6:27-29). We must not get caught up in the idea that we should get even with someone who has done us wrong. God tells us that it is not our place to take revenge or to get back at those who do us harm. We must leave those kinds of judgments to God (Deuteronomy 32:35; Romans 12:19; Hebrews 10:30). A passage in Luke chapter 7 says that even sinners love those who love them first. We are to love those who do not love us and, in this way, we will show the love of God and be blessed in the process. This is acting as God acts (Luke 7:32-36).
The Christian Should Choose Daily To Study God’s Word
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8 ESV). It is by reading, studying, and applying God’s Word that we are changed by it. We know the character of God better as we study His Word, and we are strengthened against the onslaught of a wicked world (Romans 12:2). God has given us His Word in order that we might have a written record of His dealings with humanity, so that we would know His will, and so that we will know how we should respond to Him. However, we must be diligent to read and study the Bible, and let it, and the power of the Holy Spirit, change us into the image of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29).
The Christian Should Choose To Be a Force For Good in the World
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matt. 5:9 ESV). The Christian should be a force for conflict resolution, rather than fuel for the fire of arguments. Not only should the believer in Jesus not be a source of unnecessary friction or conflict, but we should also seek to be ambassadors of peace. When it is within our power, we should try to resolve conflict and bring peace to situations of unrest.
The Christian Must Choose To Endure Suffering For Jesus’ Sake
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matt. 5:10-12). Jesus was persecuted and crucified for our sakes and He tells us that we will suffer also, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 ESV). Jesus did not say that we might have trials and difficulties in this life; He said that we would have them. However, He also promises us  that He will be with us through those difficulties and will see us through them.
God has given humans the ability to choose. We can choose to engage in our relationship with God, through Christ, or we can choose to neglect the things that it takes to keep our relationship with Him vital and energized. It is by an act of our will that we choose which direction we will go with Jesus. Will we choose not to do the things that keep us close to God, allow our relationship to drift away from Him, and possibly shipwreck our faith completely?
My prayer is that every believer will do the things it takes to grow closer to Him, and be transformed into one who exhibits the very traits of our loving Creator. The choice must be made by each of us.
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The Holy Bible, English Standard Version
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