More Like Jesus: Reflections on Christlikeness

December 31, 2019

by Peter Amsterdam

As Christians, one of our primary goals is to emulate Jesus—to follow in His footsteps, to imitate His actions, attitudes, and faith and trust in His Father. Throughout the New Testament we find encouragement to emulate Him.

Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.1

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.2

“For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.3

I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.4

Following are quotations which encourage us, as believers, to be Christlike.

Christlikeness means to live and act as Christ lived and acted.—Jim George

Christlikeness is a journey, not a destination. The joy is in the journey.—Charles R. Swindoll

His purpose for the lives of His children is Christlikeness. Though we often want comfort and pleasure and prosperity and healing, the Lord knows these are not always the means that will produce in us the holiness He desires. Sometimes God shows His love by removing the trial. Often He shows His love by permitting the trial to remain, knowing just the right pressure in our lives that will produce in us Christlikeness—both His greatest desire and our greatest good.—Randy Smith

It is not great gifts that God blesses so much as it is great likeness to Christ.—Robert Murray McCheyne

How do we bring glory to God? The Bible’s short answer is: by growing more and more like Jesus Christ.—Sinclair Ferguson

Christlikeness is your eventual destination, but your journey will last a lifetime.—Rick Warren

Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So one hundred worshippers who meet together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be, were they to become “unity” conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship.—A. W. Tozer

I have put my soul, as a blank [check], into the hands of Jesus Christ my Redeemer, and desired Him to write upon it what He pleases. I know it will be His own image.—George Whitefield

God never allows pain without a purpose in the lives of His children. He never allows Satan, nor circumstances, nor any ill-intending person to afflict us unless He intends to use that affliction for our good. God never wastes pain. He always causes it to work together for our ultimate good, the good of conforming us more to the likeness of His Son (see Romans 8:28–29).—Jerry Bridges

The perfection of God’s love for us isn’t measured by how well He’s managing our agenda for life. No, the perfection of God’s love for us is seen in the goal He’s set for our life, and that goal is nothing less than likeness to the Son He loves.—Michael Lawrence

Jesus never expected us simply to turn the other cheek, go the second mile, bless those who persecute us, give unto them that ask, and so forth. These responses, generally and rightly understood to be characteristic of Christlikeness, were put forth by him as illustrative of what might be expected of a new kind of person—one who intelligently and steadfastly seeks, above all else, to live within the rule of God and be possessed by the kind of righteousness that God himself has, as Matthew 6:33 portrays. Instead, Jesus did invite people to follow him into that sort of life from which behavior such as loving one’s enemies will seem like the only sensible and happy thing to do. For a person living that life, the hard thing to do would be to hate the enemy, to turn the supplicant away, or to curse the curser … True Christlikeness, true companionship with Christ, comes at the point where it is hard not to respond as he would.—Dallas Willard

There are many who preach Christ, but not so many who live Christ. My great aim will be to live Christ.—Robert Chapman

When the wife of missionary Adoniram Judson told him that a newspaper article likened him to some of the apostles, Judson replied, “I do not want to be like a Paul or any mere man. I want to be like Christ. I want to follow Him only, copy His teachings, drink in His Spirit, and place my feet in His footprints. Oh, to be more like Christ!”—Unknown

The Christian should take nothing short of Christ for his model.—Charles Spurgeon

God’s ultimate goal for us … is that we be truly conformed to the likeness of His Son in our person as well as in our standing. … Jesus did not die just to save us from the penalty of sin, nor even just to make us holy in our standing before God. He died to purify for Himself a people eager to obey Him, a people eager to be transformed into His likeness. … This process of gradually conforming us to the likeness of Christ begins at the very moment of our salvation when the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us and to actually give us a new life in Christ. We call this gradual process progressive sanctification, or growing in holiness, because it truly is a growth process.—Jerry Bridges

Remember that you are not called to produce successful, upwardly mobile, highly educated, athletically talented machines. … Giving your children great opportunities is good; it is not, however, the goal of parenting. Christlikeness is. Above all, seek to raise children who look and act a lot like Jesus.—Chip Ingram

Wherever the Holy Spirit dwells, His presence creates a hunger for holiness. His office is to magnify Christ, and it is He who gives the believer a desire to be like Christ. The natural man has no such passion. But in the Christian, the Spirit of God begins to carry out the will of God to make the child of God like the Son of God. And He who began this good work in the life of the believer “will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6 NIV).—Donald S. Whitney

Christlikeness is not produced by imitation, but by inhabitation.—Rick Warren

The good that God works for in our lives is conformity to the likeness of His Son. It is not necessarily comfort or happiness but conformity to Christ in ever-increasing measure in this life and in its fullness in eternity.—Jerry Bridges

Press right home to your conscience the question, “What do I have of the mind of Christ?” Does my heart answer, does my disposition correspond, to the holy, meek, humble, forgiving, benevolent, patient, self-denying mind of Christ? Do men who know the beauty and glory of the Original, as it is delineated on the page of the gospel, when they see me, say, “There is the image of Christ!” Or do they look skeptically on, and after standing in silence for some time, profess they can see little or no resemblance? Oh, be satisfied with nothing short of a copy of Christ’s heart into yours!—John Angell James

Scripture speaks about God working everything together “for the good” of those who love him (Romans 8:28). But what is this “good?” It consists of believers being conformed (changed and remade) to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29). Thus, all the experiences of life are intended, under the sovereign hand of God, to help us to grow toward the great goal of the Christian life—Christlikeness.—Sinclair Ferguson

Our weaknesses are not as negative as we may believe. They make us rely upon God’s grace and power for greater Christlikeness and ministry.—Paul Washer

The church exists to train its members through the practice of the presence of God to be servants of others, to the end that Christlikeness may become common property.—William Adams Brown

Hang that question up in your houses, “What would Jesus do?” and then think of another, “How would Jesus do it?” For what he would do, and how he would do it, may always stand as the best guide to us.—Charles Spurgeon

It is inconceivable that a person could fall in love with the Redeemer in the biblical sense and not long to be conformed to the object of that affection.—John Hannah

“Putting on Christ” … is not one among many jobs a Christian has to do; and it is not a sort of special exercise for the top class. It is the whole of Christianity. Christianity offers nothing else at all.—C. S. Lewis

We must never forget—if we are to grow in grace, and therefore grow like Christ—that the One we trust, love, and serve is a crucified Savior. To follow Him means taking up the cross, as well as denying ourselves. It means a crucified life.—Sinclair Ferguson

When I understand that everything happening to me is to make me more Christlike, it resolves a great deal of anxiety.—A. W. Tozer

Ultimately we become like what we worship. If we worship money, we become materialistic. If we worship power and prestige, we become cold and calloused. If we worship an idol, we become as spiritually dead and lifeless as a stone. On the other hand, if we worship Christ, we will be conformed to His image. ... If He is our ever-increasing preoccupation, then we are imperceptibly being transformed into His image by the Holy Spirit.—John MacArthur

The Son takes shape in those who abandon themselves to Him. Christ forms Himself in the lives of those who will let go of all the forms of life in which they have shaped on their own. Christ takes shape in a life that is willing to become putty in God’s hands. Christ presses the shape of His own face into the clay of our soul when we cease to be hard and resistant, and when we take our own amateur hands off and admit that we are not such good artists as He is.—John Piper

So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.—2 Corinthians 3:18 NLT

1 1 John 2:6 ESV.

2 Philippians 2:5 NAS.

3 1 Corinthians 2:16 ESV.

4 John 13:15 ESV.