What It Means To Be Like Christ

A common phrase we hear is, “We need to be more like Christ.” That’s definitely an awesome goal to have, but what does that mean exactly? There are so many things that we say without giving it much thought.If we would simply ask ourselves, “Why?” or “How?” we might come to the conclusion that what the standard we are holding ourselves to is not only impossible, it’s not even in the Bible! I’m not saying we shouldn’t try to be more Christ-like, I’m just saying it doesn’t mean what we are typically implying.

The closest thing you will find in scripture about being more like Jesus is in Ephesians 5:1 which says,


Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.


Contrary to popular opinion, being more like Christ doesn’t have anything to do with sin, discipline, or any other performance matter. Jesus took care of the sin problem—your performance doesn’t change how God sees you! Does that mean you can do whatever you want and it not change the love God has for you? Yes! But, when you discover that nothing can separate you from the love of God (Romans 8:38), it will change how you act. 

When the Apostle Paul says to be imitators of God, he’s not telling us to be on our best behavior, he’s telling us to wake up to the truth of God’s love! In fact, the very next verse says that exact thing!


And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. 

Ephesians 5:2


The Greek word Paul uses for love here is agapewhich is the love of God. Walking in love doesn’t mean we have to try our hardest to love others in the manner Jesus did, it means that we should walk in the understanding of how God feels about us despite our the things we have done. By walking in thatlove, our fruit will change. The things we used to find fulfillment in will no longer be appealing because we are acknowledging the spirit of God on the inside of us. 

Christ-likeness is something that comes from the inside and works its way out into our daily life. Do you want to be like Christ? Begin by acknowledging who your Father is, how He feels about you, and your identity in Christ. Before you know it, you will start to act differently—and it all starts with how you treat others!

Want to be more like Christ? How did Christ act toward the sinners, tax collectors, and prostitutes? Did He separate Himself until they got their act together? Did He wait for them to start acting more like God before He showed them grace? Of course not! He loved them where they were and it was that love that empowered them to change. 

I agree that we need to be more like Christ, but how do we get there? It’s an effortless change that only happens through a new understanding of the love God has for us. It’s His goodness that leads us to real life change (Romans 2:4)! Today, let’s walk in His love and let it overflow into every area of our lives.


A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

John 13:34


He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

1 John 4:8