If you are like me, you often ponder the deep questions of life. As every reader knows, these are the questions that keep them up at night and the ones that dominate the topic of their conversations. They are the questions that must be answered, no matter what that answer may cost.
Having been debated by philosophers throughout the ages, they are as familiar to us as our families and as important as our home addresses. They are universal in nature and not relegated to any one culture or nation alone.
They are questions like: What is the meaning of life? What happens to me when I die? Why do dogs and their owners so often resemble each other?
This last question has troubled me recently because my family and I own two dogs: a male boxer mix, Berber, and a female Chihuahua, Chica. In conversations I often describe the Chihuahua as “my wife and daughter’s.”
What scares me is that I don’t think Chica knows she belongs to them and not me. If she thinks she belongs to me, will we start looking like each other? For a Chihuahua she’s cute, but come on.
After all, I remember the Taco Bell commercials.
Ultimately however, it doesn’t matter whether my dogs and I resemble each other or not. As a Christian, what does matter for me is this: do I look like and reflect Jesus Christ? This is a question that I need to ask myself regularly and one I need to be willing to have others ask me as well.
Realizing that reflecting Christ is what I am to do, my next question is: what does it mean to look like Jesus? Does it mean growing out my hair and beard, wearing linen tunics and sandals, and walking or riding pack animals wherever I go?
Does it mean eating only certain foods, going to church, wearing Christian t-shirts and paraphernalia, or tattooing Bible verses on my body?
While these things aren’t necessarily wrong, they aren’t verifiable proof of a relationship with Christ.
What does it mean, then, to look like Christ?
Looking like Jesus means nothing more, or nothing less, than behaving like Him. This is not done in an outward fashion but through an inward transformation that begins at salvation and continues on until the believer joins Him for eternity.
This work of transformation is done by the Holy Spirit, but as a believer I can either assist the process or hinder it. Romans 12:2 gives a succinct word on how I, as a believer, can work with the Holy Spirit to reflect Jesus Christ: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Quite simply, I come to resemble Jesus in greater capacities by reading the Bible and putting into practice what it says.
Conversely, I can hinder this process by neglecting the Bible and becoming conformed to the world’s patterns.
Therefore, the only question I have left to ask myself is: am I assisting or hindering this process of transformation? If I am assisting it, then I need to keep on and not quit when it gets difficult. If I am hindering it, then I need to stop and change my behavior.
Outward behaviors alone, such as wearing Christian clothing or just going to church, are not an accurate way to reflect Jesus. Reflecting Jesus starts on the inside and then works its way out.
Thinking that behavior alone is what resembles Jesus is like thinking that going to McDonald’s makes you a hamburger.
Inward transformation- now that’s thinking outside the bun!
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