Becoming More Like Jesus for the Good of Others
How would you respond if someone asked you to describe the Christian life? Not the gospel, not the doctrines of our faith, not who Jesus is, but if they asked you simply to describe what everyday life is meant to look like for the follower of Jesus. How would you answer?
Seems simple enough, but it can actually be a complicated question. As evidenced by the large “Christian Living” section at your local or online bookstores, the Christian life can be described in many ways. Maybe some of the descriptors that come to your mind are:
Life with Jesus is a lot of things. But what’s it really all about? I mean, once your faith is in Jesus, you’re saved, but have you ever wondered what exactly you’re saved for?
When it comes to life in Jesus, most of us can explain what we’re saved from: we’re saved from slavery to sin and eternal punishment. We can even explain what we’re saved into: we’re saved into a relationship with God and the coming New Creation. But most of us struggle to truly understand just what exactly we’re saved for. And if we don’t know what we’re saved for, then the span of life between putting our faith in Jesus and seeing Him face to face can feel directionless or insignificant.
Thankfully, there is something we are saved for. We are saved for this purpose: to become more like Jesus for the good of others. This purpose gives life with Jesus here on earth meaning and direction.
Becoming more like Jesus is a primary aspect of the Christian life. Paul explains, “God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son…” (Rom. 8:29). Traditionally, the concept explained in this verse is called Christlikeness. It’s a big word that basically means we were saved for the purpose of becoming more like Jesus. Through faith in Jesus, we can actually become more like the very best, kindest, most joyful, free, and whole human to ever walk the earth! Jesus saved you for a better version of humanity; the version He embodied and put on display during His time on earth. And that level of living is now available to all who follow Him. And, as mind-blowing as that is, our personal transformation is not all that we’re saved for.
We’re also saved for the good of others. Living for the good of others is the direction our lives will inevitably take if we willingly follow Jesus. We’ll discover that the blessings we receive through faith in Jesus are not just for us but for the world around us.
Not only will we relish in the freedom we have in Christ, but Jesus will move us toward helping others find freedom as well. Not only will we find hope and joy in our newfound relationship with God, but the Holy Spirit will also empower us to help others discover hope and joy in God as well. See, we are not just saved for Christlikeness, but we are also saved for the good of others.
One way to understand this in the inward and outward working of God in our lives. God the Father parents us, guides us, and shapes us, working inwardly to form us into sons and daughters who are more like Jesus. But that inward work also has an outward purpose: to be a light to the world around us. All that He does inwardly is meant to be shared outwardly.
God established this principle way back in the middle of Genesis when he told Abram, “…I will bless you…and you will be a blessing” (Gen. 12:2).
“I will bless you…” - inward
“…to be a blessing.” - outward
And Jesus built upon it…
In the weeks ahead, as we learn more about partnering with the Holy Spirit to cultivate a life of love, let’s keep the inward-outward principle in mind. What the Spirit produces in our lives is both for us and for others. And if someone ever asks you to describe the Christian life, you don’t have to have fancy answers or complicated theology. You can simply respond: becoming more like Jesus for the good of others.