Do you remember the “What Would Jesus Do?” craze? While we don’t hear or see it as much now, it’s still out there. (Check out the WWJD Resources in one of our affiliate stores.) The intent is that we use Jesus’ example in the various decisions and activities of our lives as a guide for what we should do.
Following Jesus’ example is biblical. The Apostle Paul used it as the only ground for his own life to be used as a model. He said, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1). But, there are also some cautions in using Jesus as our example which we will look at in the next post. Let’s first, however, consider ways in which Jesus is our example. (Subscribe to receive e-mail about new posts.)
Instances where Scripture specifically refers to Jesus as our example:
I find it interesting that I could only find two specific instances where we are told to follow Jesus’ example:
1) His example in servanthood
I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. (Jn. 13:15)
2) His example in suffering
To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. (1 Pet. 2:21)
- Following Jesus’ example is not always glamorous or easy but these are two aspects that highlighted Jesus’ life. Are we willing to follow His example in laying aside our sense of entitlement and perhaps even in laying aside our very lives?
Notice how Philippians 2:5-8 refers to these same qualities in Jesus as a mindset, or attitude, not just a part of what Jesus would do (WWJD).
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross! (Phil. 2:5-8)
- Following Jesus’ example, then, involves our inward being, not just our outward actions. Are we willing to let His example affect us to the core of our being?
Instances where Scripture Exhorts Us to Be Like Jesus:
To do something “just as” or “as” Jesus, implies following His example in that area. — “Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.” (1 Jn. 2:6) Following are some specific ways we are commanded to be like Jesus:
1) Love as He loves. (Eph. 5:1-2; 1 Jn. 3:15-16)
2) Forgive as he forgives. (Col. 3:13)
- Following Jesus example, then, affects our relationships with others. Are we willing to be self-less as He was?
Other instances in which we can follow Jesus’ example not specifically referenced that way in Scripture:
While I could only find two verses that specifically suggest areas in which Jesus is our example, we do find Scripture about God’s intent for us to be “conformed to the image of his Son” (Rom. 8:29). To be Christ-like, we must follow his example in all areas of life.
Over the course of time, articles have been posted that hold Jesus up as our example. They primarily look at His life here on earth in the Gospels. I encourage you to click on the links below to learn more from His example in these areas:
Jesus’ example in communicating:
Christ-like Communication (follow related links on that page for 8 more articles)
Jesus’ example in dealing with enemies:
Jesus’ example in developing leaders:
Jesus’ example in motivating people:
Jesus example in ministry:
Jesus’ example in prayer
Teaching Prayer by Example Requires Authenticity (follow related links on that page for 2 more articles)
Jesus’ example in teaching:
3 Important Lessons for Bible Teachers from the Master Teacher
3 More Important Lessons for Bible Teachers from the Master Teacher
Jesus, a Master Teacher in Using Object Lessons
Jesus, the Master Teacher, Used Questions
- Following Jesus example, then, affects all areas of our walk with Him, of the way we serve, of the way we live. Are we willing to yield all of who we are to Him?