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On Being Christ Like

by Victor Knowles

“He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked” – 1 John 2:6


My mother once stood up in a contentious church meeting and asked a provocative question. “Why can’t Christians just be Christian?” now you have to know that my mother possessed a meek and quiet spirit. It was very out of character for her to speak up in this manner. But on this occasion she did because she was concerned about the unity of the church. Mom never could understand how those who called themselves Christians could fight and quarrel and divide the church of Christ without remorse or shame.

I was blessed to be brought up in a Christian home. My mother and father were Christlike people. When I say “Christlike” I mean that they had put on Christ when they became Christians. “All of you who were baptized into Christ have put on the family likeness of Christ” (Gal 3:27, Phillips). Dale and “Dearie” Knowles conducted their everyday lives in a manner worthy of the gospel (Phil 1:27). All who knew them recognized their Christlikeness. Every day I saw Christ in their thinking, speech, behavior, and good deeds. They were honest, hardworking, sacrificial, kind, compassionate and forgiving people.

Henry Drummond said, “To become Christlike is the only thing in the whole world worth caring for, the thing before which every ambition of man is folly and all lower achievement vain.” The older I get the more convinced I am that Christlikeness is the key to Christian unity and world evangelism. The world will be drawn to Christ when they observe those who wear His name truly modeling His character and living out His teachings. Shortly before He went to the cross, Jesus prayed for the oneness of believers. “Just as you, Father, live in me and I live in you, I am asking that they may live in us, that the world may believe that you did send me” (John 17:21, Phillips).

Living daily as a godly Christian will do more to answering Jesus’ prayer than any program or project dreamed up by men. Those who have the mind of Christ will live in the manner of Christ. “The life of a man who professes to be living in God must bear the stamp of Christ” (1 John 2:6, Phillips). We must live as Christ lived. We must think as He thought, teach as He taught, walk as He walked, and talk as He talked. In order for our witness to be credible, it must be visible and viable. When we rise from the waters of baptism, “we also should live an entirely new life” (rom 6:4, Weymouth). “The Life of Christ” is not just a course we took in Bible College. Every Christian should actually live the life of Christ. That’s what it means to be a Christian.

William Penn said, “To be like Christ is to be a Christian.” Christ is the lighthouse and we are the lower lights. In his Apology for the Christian Faith, Aristides wrote, “The Christians do not commit adultery. They do not bear false witness. They do not covet their neighbor’s goods. They honor father and mother. They love their neighbors. They judge justly. They avoid doing to others what they do not wish done to them. They do good to their enemies. They are kind.”

Christianity is the spirit of Christ at work in the lives of true believers. When I was about 15, I spent a summer working on a farm near Indianola, Iowa. On Sundays I often went home after church with the minister and his wife, A. K. and Anabelle Miller. They were so Christlike, so kind and loving, that I felt like I was in the presence of the Living Christ Himself. They had a huge influence on my life. Those who are Christlike will stand out in a crowd because they bear the stamp of Christ.

Thousands of Christians stood as one in the arena, singing Christus Regent (“Christ reigns”) even as hungry lions were released upon them. Their faith, purity, and hope were righteous rebukes to the masses that indulged themselves in the world, the flesh and the devil. The blood of the martyrs became the seed of the church. The more the Christians were persecuted the faster the church grew. You may not be called to stand in the arena and die for your faith, but you are called to take your stand for Christ and live for Him. Do not disappoint Him or adversely affect those who are watching. “The life of a man who professes to be living in God must bear the stamp of Christ.”

I like how The Message reads in Ephesians 4:15-16. “God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love – like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do. He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love.” It is time to bear the stamp of Christ. It is time to grow up, take our lead from Christ, and be like Christ in everything we think, say, and do. Only then will we be “healthy in God” and “robust in love.”


               Victor Knowles is publisher of  ‘OneBody’ magazine and ‘The Knowlesletter’


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I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

John 16:33