How to Be Like Christ
by Barry Shafer
October 06th, 2016
A few years after Jesus’ ministry on earth, the apostle Paul helped a handful of people plant a church in a city called Philippi. Ten years later, Paul wrote a letter to strengthen this growing church. This letter became the book of Philippians in our Bibles. Tucked inside this encouraging book is one of the greatest challenges ever given to God’s people: Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.
- DIGGING IN (God, Show Me!)
Read Philippians 2:5–11 (just the first two paragraphs) below. As you read, note every mention of Jesus.
After reading and marking look at the crosses you’ve marked and make a list of anything that describes Jesus’ attitude—focus on verses 5–8.
Philippians 2:5–16 (NIV)
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. 14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life.
The last part of this passage, Philippians 2:12–16, tells us how to respond to Jesus’ actions and gives us a simple starting point for making our attitude the same as Jesus. Read this passage and note every mention of the readers of Paul’s letter—and of course, you are one of those readers!
2. TAKING IT INWARD (God, Teach Me!)
Look at the smiley faces you drew in 2:12–16 and make a list of any instructions you see.
Did you see that if we follow these instructions, such as do everything without complaining or arguing, we’ll shine like stars? Just based on the past two or three days, how would you rate your shine factor (circle one):
Shining like a star | Shining like a falling star | Shining like a black hole
3. PUTTING INTO PRACTICE (God, Change Me!)
This week, how can you improve your shine and start imitating Jesus’ attitude? Write a note, to yourself and to God, expressing what you want to do with the instructions you listed above. How do you want to embrace them? How can they impact your faith walk? How can they make you a better person?
Note to Self (and to God):
You may want to take a moment to see what some other verses have to say about imitating Jesus’ attitude.
Matthew 26:39 Hebrews 5:7–9 1 Peter 2:21–23
This originally appeared here and is shared with the author's permission.
Barry Shafer has been communicating the truth of God’s Word since 1984 as a volunteer youth leader, youth pastor, pastor, author and speaker. Barry, with his late wife Dana, founded InWord Resources in 1996 to strengthen youth ministry with discipleship materials and experiences that meaningfully engage teens in Scripture. Barry is author of Unleashing God’s Word in Youth Ministry (Youth Specialties/Zondervan) and has written numerous teen devotionals and small-group Bible studies.
Barry holds a mass communications degree from Anderson University (Anderson, Ind.) and a master’s degree in biblical studies from Cincinnati Bible Seminary (Cincinnati, Ohio). He lives in Middletown, Ohio with his infant son Reade and his wife Jessica, who happens to be a Grammy-winning opera soprano. If you’re curious about that fascinating world you can check out Jessica’s website here! [LINK: www.jessicarivera.com]
When Barry’s not studying, writing, being a diva spouse, or “daddy-ing” Reade, you can find him reading on the porch, biking on a trail, pulling for the Packers, or playing a little golf.
More of Barry Shafer: www.inword.org