I can’t live like Jesus.
Trust me, I’ve tried. There’s been striving and running and self-discipline just to find my efforts ending in failure, backsliding, and a deep rooted bitterness for the sin I let so easily consume.
The sanctifying life, death, and resurrection of Christ is beautiful beyond compare, but for so long, the words of 1 John 2:6 rattled around my brain as a cry of condemnation: “…whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.”
I claim to abide in Christ. I claim to dwell in Christ. I fall down over and over and over and consistently fail to walk in the same way in which he walked, try as hard as I might.
I can’t live like Jesus.
But God knows this.
How could He not?
The Gospels call us to come and abide in Jesus. They ask us to take on his life, death, and resurrection as our own. He is the vine, we are the branches.
Nowhere does it ask us to live like Jesus all on our own, because we certainly are not capable.
Although I’ve been a follower of Christ for close to a decade, it wasn’t until recently that I was truly struck with how absolutely inadequate and incapable I am to live an upright spiritual life. I have always had a pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps-and-try-a-little-harder mentality, and while that initiative and go-getterness is great in the workplace and world, it is toxic to life in Christ.
When you are used to just working a little harder to achieve something, waking up to the fact that you will NEVER be able to achieve it on your own is really discouraging. For a while, until I started to mull over what Scripture had to say on the subject, it simply felt like I had failed God.
The problem came because I was striving to live like Jesus independent of Jesus or any Spirit filled power. Sure, I was in the Word, and regularly spending time in prayer and communion with God. I was then going from there and attempting to be a good and godly person by sheer willpower.
Realizing that I will never be able to attain a godly life is actually quite freeing, because it allows me to stop trying and simply turn. Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Christ lives in me. When I recognize and dwell on that truth every single day and live in the reality that any good and godly thing comes from Christ’s power working through me, it takes the legalistic burden off of my shoulders and returns the task of a holy life to the power of the Cross.
The life I now live in the body, I live in Christ. It’s a mental shift that I know will take a while, but by the grace of God and the strength of the Spirit, I know that it is a shift I will be able to grasp hold of and claim in my life.