When I was young I desperately pleaded with my mom to let me grow my hair long so I could be like my heroes, Paul, John, George and Ringo. Later I became a pacifist and peace activist because of my admiration of Martin Luther King Jr. Playing baseball, I wore the number of another hero, Mickey Mantle and wanted to hit home runs like Roger Maris. Incidentally, Roger is still the REAL home run leader with 61 in 1961.
You see, it is natural for people to want to emulate, or follow, those that we admire. We all do it, all the time. Advertising is built on it. Those were just a few of mine. For those of you who don’t remember or who have never heard of the Beatles, Mickey or Roger, I forgive you.
So it is natural for those of us who love Jesus to want to be more like Him. To embrace the things He embraced. To value the things He values.
That is what it means to be a Christ-follower and not merely a Christian. So with that in mind, I have made a list of some of the characteristics and attributes of Jesus that I think we should all embrace. Don’t worry, it’s not hard work. If we surrender to being more like Jesus, the Holy Spirit will see it through. We just need to want it.
He had compassion on the crowds “because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36). Because of His compassion for them, He healed their diseases (Matthew 14:14; 20:34), and because of their hunger, He compassionately created enough food to feed more than 5000 (Matthew 15:32).
SERIOUS and FOCUSED
He had a mission in life and never got sidetracked from it, knowing the weightiness of it and the shortness of time.
"He did not come to BE served, but to SERVE" (Mark 10:45). Jesus turned so many social norms on their heads. One of them was the idea of leadership. Then, and now, leadership often meant having others serve you. But the God of the universe came to serve.
KIND and SELFLESS
These two attributes characterized His personality. He was kind especially to those who rarely would have experienced any type of kindness. I’m thinking of the woman brought before Him who had been with a man not her husband and the lepers who were outcasts from society. And feeding all the people who came to hear Him.
And He was selfless. Never expecting anything for himself and always prepared to help someone in need.
It is so easy to follow someone like that.
MERCIFUL and FORGIVING
"Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34). "...If we admit that we have sinned, He will forgive us our sins..." (1 John 1:9).
He was also loving in His relationships - "Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus" (John 11:5). John was known as the disciple "whom Jesus loved" (John 13:23).
GOOD and CARING
He healed often and in most places where He went IN ORDER THAT they might know who He was! Truly He proved to be God by all the miracles He did, all the while showing concern for the afflictions of those around Him.
He never violated His own Word. He spoke TRUTH wherever He went. He lived a life we could follow explicitly. "I am the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE..." (John 14:6). At the same time, He was peaceable. He did not argue His case, nor try to bully His way into people's hearts.
He spent quality and quantity time with his disciples. He coveted their fellowship, taught them, and helped them focus on the eternal. He was also intimate with His Father. He prayed to Him regularly, listened, obeyed, and cared about God's reputation. He was obviously a strong, but quiet leader. Everywhere He went the people followed Him, eager to listen to His teaching.
Knowing and understanding all our frailties. He was and is "patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish, but for all to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).
These are traits that all believers should desire to become a part of their "personality" and character. The things that drew people to Jesus should be the very things that draw people to us.
Just imagine how the reputation of God in our society would change if all those who claim to love and follow Jesus, dedicated themselves to being more like Him.