“Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” — John 7:38
A 3-Fold Test for Christlikeness
by Randall D. Kittle
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When it comes to the subject of Christlikeness, every true believer knows they are called to possess it. While there are numbers of books and articles written to show us how to become more like Jesus Christ, the difficulty isn’t knowing we are called to it, or even discovering what it takes to come more fully into His image. The problem is evaluating how we are doing on our journey toward Christlikeness. Knowing the path we need to travel upon to attain Christlikeness is only part of the story. How can you and I know if we are really becoming more like Jesus? Maybe our spouse can give us some idea. Perhaps we can get a clue from the way others treat us, react to us, or even avoid us. But Christlikeness isn’t something we can see in the mirror. There is no blood test or measuring device that can tell us if we are truly “gaining ground.”

In Philippians 2:5-6, the Bible shows us a snapshot of what it meant for Jesus Christ to live upon this earth.
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” The picture presented here of Jesus Christ gives us a three-fold test by which we can evaluate if we possess the mind of Christ.

The first part of this is
surrender. Jesus willingly submitted to the will of the Father. Though equal to Father God, the most glorious One put aside His splendor and stepped down from Heaven to fulfill His Father’s will. Only if we are willing to live a life surrendered to the Lord and His ways do we reflect the life of Jesus Christ.

The second test is
humility. Jesus, whom myriads of angels served, willingly became a bondservant. He was born in a stable, rejected and mocked by most of His creation, betrayed and denied by His friends, and in the end unjustly murdered. All this He could bear without demanding His rights or developing a victim mentality because He possessed true humility. We, too, must have the divine attribute of humility if our lives are to reflect His.

The third test of Christlikeness we see in this verse is
obedience. Jesus obeyed the will of His heavenly Father … even when it cost Him His own life. Throughout His earthly life, Jesus obeyed the direction He received from Father God, and He obeyed it instantly and completely. If our lives are to show forth His life, they will have to be lives that display obedience to the Lord and to His Word.

While there is so much more to being Christlike than just these three important characteristics, we certainly cannot consider ourselves like Christ unless we possess them. Let me encourage you to examine yourself regularly with this three-fold test, and may it reveal to you that you are ever-increasingly coming more fully into the very image of Christ.

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