As a little girl I loved to bake. At least once a week, you could find me nose deep in flour, working on a new recipe. My hero was Julia Child, a culinary pioneer who brought French cuisine to the American public. I didn’t just love Julia, I wanted to be just like her! I practiced her accent, copied her clothes, and added extra butter (her signature ingredient) to everything I cooked. Through I bore a passing resemblance to Julia, I lacked her signature ingredients—boldness, tenacity, and technical skill.
As an adult I still love to bake, but the person I try to emulate these days is Jesus Christ. Just like my attempts to imitate Julia, it isn’t enough to copy Jesus’ accent or repeat his signature phrases. To become like Jesus requires loving people like he does. Here are four ways we can imitate Jesus’ love for others:
Be Present. Jesus Christ took on flesh to walk among us. He practiced a ministry of physical presence. He held Mary as she cried. He answered each one of Martha’s fearful questions. He weathered storms with his disciples. He sat outside in the heat of the day to give a broken–hearted woman hope. Jesus did not remain in heaven and simply send down prayers, he went to work among us. As his followers and image bearers, we are called to draw close to people in both good times and bad. Don’t just send a casserole, send yourself! Go and sit with someone, even if they don’t want to talk.
Be Personal. Jesus allowed people to minister to him, not just the other way around. He praised the woman for anointing him with oil. The apostles steered the boat while Jesus slept. Another man even helped Jesus carry his cross. Often, we develop an idea that we are to serve others but refuse to allow others to serve us. This shames those we try to help—communicating that they need assistance, but we (as superiors) can exist as an island. We give but don’t receive. If the God–man graciously accepted help, so should we. This allows our brothers and sisters to fulfill the command to love one another!
Be Prayerful. Jesus constantly prayed to the Father, both with his disciples and by himself. Often we can offer others our own opinions, wisdom, or solutions rather than asking the Holy Spirit to guide our words and actions. Our interactions with others should be saturated with prayer.
Be Practical. God has given humanity common graces like rain and sunshine. Other graces include licensed counselors, medication, and recovery programs. Enjoying God’s grace is the most spiritual thing we can do. If you or someone you love is struggling with a difficult problem, do not hesitate to seek professional and specialized help. God gave us the gift of his word, but he has also given laughter! If a friend is struggling with depression, a drive under the stars or a batch of chocolate chip cookies may be more beneficial than a sermon. Don’t neglect God’s common graces.
To be like Christ is to love others. Loving others means being present, personal, prayerful, and practical. It will be messy, but it will be worth it.
About The Author
Allie Mock grew up in Sugar Land, Texas. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English from Texas A&M University and will graduate with a Masters in Christian Education from Dallas Theological Seminary in December 2018. Allie enjoys exploring the great outdoors, being silly, and teaching the Bible. She currently serves as an intern for HeartStrong Faith.