by Thomas Watson
"Leaving you an example--so that you should follow in His steps." 1 Peter 2:21
"The one who says he remains in Him should walk just as He walked." 1 John 2:6
"I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you." John 13:15
True religion is to imitate Christ. There are four things in which we should labor to be like Christ.
1. Be like Christ in DISPOSITION. He was of a most sweet disposition. He has a heart to pity us. He has breasts to feed us. He has wings to cover us.
He would not break our heart--but with mercy. Let us be like Him in sweetness of disposition. Do not be of a morose spirit. It was said of Nabal, "He's so ill-tempered that no one can even talk to him!" Some are so sour, and breathe forth nothing but revenge! Or they are like those two men in the gospel, "possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs. They were so violent that no one could pass that way." Let us be like Christ in mildness and sweetness. Let us pray for our enemies--and conquer them by love. David's kindness melted Saul's heart. A frozen heart will be thawed, with the fire of love.
2. Be like Christ in HUMILITY. "He humbled himself." He left the bright robes of His glory--to be clothed with the rags of our humanity--a wonder of humility! Let us be like Christ in this grace. Humility is the glory of a Christian. We are never so lovely in God's eyes--as when we are black in our own eyes. In this let us be like Christ. Indeed, what cause have we to be humble--if we look within us, about us, below us, and above us!
If we look within us--here we see our sins represented to us in the looking-glass of conscience--lust, envy, passion. Our sins are like vermin crawling in our souls. "How many are my iniquities!" Job 13:23. Our sins are as the sands of the sea for number; as the rocks of the sea for weight! Augustine cries out, "My heart, which is God's temple--is polluted with sin!"
If we look about us--there is that which may humble us. We may see other Christians outshining us in graces, as the sun outshines the lesser planets. Others are laden with fruit--and perhaps we have but here and there, a berry!
If we look below us--there is that which may humble us. We may see the mother earth, out of which we came. The earth is the most ignoble element. "They were viler than the earth." Job 30:8.
"Then the Lord God formed the man out of the dust from the ground." Genesis 2:7. "You will return to the ground from which you came. For you were made from dust, and to the dust you will return." Genesis 3:19. You who are so proud, behold your pedigree--you are but walking dirt! And will you be proud? What is man? The son of dust! And what is dust? The son of nothing!
If we look above us; there is that which may humble us. If we look up to heaven, there we may see God resisting the proud. God pursues the proud in vengeance. He threw proud Lucifer out of heaven! The proud man is the mark which God shoots at--and He never misses the mark! Oh then--be like Christ in humility!
3. Be like Christ, in the contempt of the WORLD. Christ was not ambitious for titles or honor. He declined worldly dignity and greatness--as much as others seek it. When they would have made Him a king--He refused it. He chose rather to ride upon the foal of a donkey, than be drawn in a chariot. He chose rather to hang upon a wooden cross--than to wear a golden crown! He scorned the pomp and glory of the world. He ignored secular affairs. "Who made Me a judge?" He did not come into the world to be a judge--but a Redeemer. He minded nothing but heaven.
Let us be made like Him--in heavenliness and contempt of the world. Let us not be ambitious for the empty honors and glories of the world. Let us not purchase the world-- with the loss of our soul. What wise man would damn himself--to grow rich? or throw his soul down to hell--to to build up an earthly estate?
Be like Christ in a holy contempt of the world.
4. Be like Christ in HOLINESS of life. No temptation could fasten upon Him. Temptation to Christ, was like a spark of fire upon a marble pillar, which glides off. "As the One who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct." 1 Peter 1:15.
A Christian should be both a magnet and a diamond! A magnet--in drawing others to Christ; a diamond --in casting a sparkling luster of holiness, in his life. Oh let us be . . . so just in our dealings, so true in our promises, so devout in our worship, so unblamable in our lives; that we may be the walking pictures of Christ!
From A Body of Divinity by Thomas Watson