When you think of Jesus, what are the qualities that come to mind? He is pleasant, kind, loving, supportive, truthful, helpful, forgiving, a healer, a restorer, friendly, playful, sensitive, compassionate, intellectual, all-knowing, accurate, a historian, a visionary, and He can cook fish on an open fire on a sandy beach (John 21:12)…it just doesn’t get any better than that! If you were going to mimic anybody, wouldn’t you think it impossible to ever find any one person that would have every one of these qualities and more? Jesus is the very best person you could ever find; the only perfect person to ever walk this earth!
So, what do you suppose the results (or fruits) would be should a person choose to follow in the footsteps of such a man?
On a scale of one to ten (ten being the highest possible, most complete score), where do you rank on this scale in matching up to the qualities of Christ Jesus? Obviously, less than ten…right? Are you up to five? It is safe to say, we all fall short (Romans 3:23); we all have room to improve our own qualities, and yet there are people around who love you! In spite of your shortcomings, you are loved. You may be loved as a spouse or mate, a father or mother, a son or daughter, a brother or sister, even if you are a hermit with no interaction with other people, there is probably an animal that loves you because you’ve been kind in some way. Yes, if you look around you, shake off any self-pity, you will find someone or something that loves you for who you are. But…didn’t we just establish the fact that you come up short in the perfection column? So, whether you admit it or not, you are loved in spite of yourself.
We see that in spite of our current less-than-perfect situation, we are loved; and we also agree that we have room to have higher and greater personal qualities. So the point then is this: If you could gain those higher and greater qualities by your relationship and closeness to Christ Jesus, then how much more would you be pleasant, kind, loving, supportive, truthful, helpful, forgiving, friendly, playful, sensitive, and compassionate?
Do you suppose if you were more pleasant, kind, loving, supportive, truthful, helpful, forgiving, friendly, playful, sensitive, and compassionate, that you would become a better husband or wife, a better brother or sister, a better son or daughter, or a better friend? The answer has to be “yes,” you would be a better person.
So, we have established that you and I could use help to become better people; and we have also established that a relationship with Jesus would be the help we need. We have also established that if we had even higher and better qualities, we would become better people to which those around us would like and appreciate. Therefore, it makes sense to follow Jesus and learn all we can from Him. Christians call this “walking in the footsteps of Jesus.” We try to “walk the walk.” This is what is behind the WWJD (what would Jesus do) movement. If I can mimic perfection and though I fall short, I will still be better than I was before I tried to follow Jesus’ example.
Therefore, we see now that giving Jesus the preeminence in your life, putting Jesus first in your life, making Jesus your example to follow and mimic, and placing Jesus before all things will make you a better person. Placing Jesus before your wife will make you a better husband. Placing Jesus before your husband will make you a better wife. Placing Jesus before your mother or father will make you a better son or daughter. Placing Jesus before your brother or sister will make you a better brother or sister. Placing Jesus before yourself will make you a better disciple; this is the nature of having your roots in the “rainforest of Christ Jesus.” This is where the greatest nourishment can be found and you are guaranteed to flourish in this environment.