1Jn 2:6 Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did. (NIV)
What comes to mind when you read this verse? If we are familiar with the Gospels, we may think, “Wow, do we have to be homeless for three years, going from town to town, preaching, healing and doing miracles? After all, that is how Jesus lived!”
Though there may be people who have been called to a similar type ministry, I don’t believe that John was intending that. Notice that there is a challenging contention at the beginning of the verse, “whoever claims to live in Him!” What is that referring to, what does it mean to, “live in Him?”
To answer that, we must go to the book of John, chapter 5: 4 “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.”5 “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (NASB).
The word abide means to live. We are to live as a branch of a tree. No branch can survive unless it is attached to the trunk, fed by its root. In other words, our relationship with Jesus is one of complete dependence for nourishment and growth. Jesus points out that we cannot bear fruit (anything of spiritual value) without His abiding presence and power in our lives.
John is showing us, that if we claim to be attached to Him in this manor, it will be evident in the way we live. That way,will look like the life of Jesus. How will it look like Him? Can I suggest three ways that we can live as Jesus did? This is not a complete list, but at least one that we can know for certain is valid.
1. Jesus lived in complete surrender to the will of the Father.
Jn 8:28 So Jesus said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me.”
Jn 6:38 “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.
Jn 5:30 “Ican do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”
So, if Jesus, who is in all ways equal to the Father, submitted His will to the Father, likewise, we submit our will to Him. That means we are to be in complete obedience to Him. Now before you say, “that is impossible” (you would be right), remember that He has sent us the Holy Spirit to empower us to do His will.
Jn 14:16 “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— (17) But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”
Now, this side of heaven, we will never be perfectly submissive because we still battle our flesh nature. Even so, our heart’s desire should be total surrender to God’s will.
2. Jesus lived as a servant.
Mk 10:42 Jesus called them together and said, "You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."
On the night before Jesus died, He gave a stunning example of being a servant, when He washed the feet of the disciples in the upper room (Jn, ch 13). This may not seem that impressive in our culture today, but in that time, only the lowliest of all the servants of the house would be given the task of washing a guest’s feet when they entered the house.
So, as Jesus was willing to do the lowliest of tasks to serve others, we must be willing to do the same.
3. Jesus walked in agape love.
Everything Jesus did was motivated by agape. Agape is a Greek word that denotes a kind of love that is willing to sacrifice one’s self for others, without expectation of anything in return.
Jn 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
Jn 13:34 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
How do we know if we are walking in love? 1stCor 13 has the answer. It is a word picture of what agape love is and is not, and of what it does and does not do.
1Co 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
If you consider this list, thinking of it in terms of your relationships with others, it is pretty easy to see whether or not you are walking in love.
Now if you were to narrow down this list of three measurements of how well you are living in Him, which do you think would be the most important?
Jesus, when asked which commandment of the law was the most important, said this,
Luke 10:27 And he answered, "YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND; AND YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF."
If we truly want to live as Jesus did, we must rely on the Holy Spirit to give us the ability to love God and love our neighbor. Our lives will look different from each other as we approach each day. Some will be in full time paid ministry or missionary work, but the majority will not and that is not only ok, it is good. God has a different calling for each of us in terms of work, family and interests. The common factor we share as believers in Christ is our commitment to obedience, service and agape love. I encourage you, as we are exhorted in our key verse, if you claim the name of Christ, then walk as Jesus walked!
God Bless you