So, how do you know when you are following Christ? When we are imitators of God as per the Apostle Paul writing to a group of Christians (Ephesians 5:1). In other words, we are following correctly when we think and act like Jesus.
It is at once daunting and do-able...to be so yielded in following Christ as to conform to his nature, mission, ethic, and revelation. Paul understood both the challenge and the opportunity. He explained the key to following when he wrote to the same group, "I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit" (Ephesians 3:16). We yield; he conforms us.
So, how are you doing with yielding and conforming to Jesus? How about a self-assessment? Compare yourself to the standard he set. You remember the five-point school grading system A, B, C, D, F with the corresponding numeric values of 4, 3, 2, 1, 0. Grade your imitation of God. We'll use Paul's writing in the book of Ephesians, chapter 5, as one expression of the standard. Start in verse 1 and go through verse 33. Fifteen standards for a max value of 60 points.
"Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children." 1. 4 3 2 1 0 I live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. 2. 4 3 2 1 0 There is no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed in me. Such sins have no place among God's people. Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes-these are not for you. 3. 4 3 2 1 0 I am thankful to God. You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. 4. 4 3 2 1 0 I am not fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him. 5. 4 3 2 1 0 I do not participate in the things these people do. For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true. 6. 4 3 2 1 0 I carefully determine what pleases the Lord. 7. 4 3 2 1 0 I take no part in worthless deeds of evil and darkness. 8. 4 3 2 1 0 I expose deeds of evil and darkness. It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said, "Awake, O sleeper,rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light." 9. 4 3 2 1 0 I live wisely under the power of God's Spirit. So be careful how you live. Don't live like fools, but like those who are wise. 10. 4 3 2 1 0 I make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don't act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don't be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. 11. 4 3 2 1 0 I am filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. 12. 4 3 2 1 0 I give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 13. 4 3 2 1 0 I submit myself to others out of reverence for Christ. 14. 4 3 2 1 0 (Wives) I submit to my husband as if to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything. (Husbands) I love my wife like Christ loved the church, and I give my life for her. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God's word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. 15. 4 3 2 1 0 I honor marriage between a man and a woman as God's plan. As the Scriptures say, "A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one." This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
So how did you do? What's your honest assessment of your following out of a possible 60 points based on this one brief section of the Bible? If any of you got an honest 60, I'd like to hear about it. Most of us fall considerably short. For the record, I got a 44...73%. A low "C" in following Christ! I have some work to do, and the Lord showed me where the work is needed as I went through the list. The point is, we who call ourselves followers of Christ and are not reflecting the nature, mission, ethic, and revelation of Christ, ARE NOT FOLLOWING! No following...no influence of the culture of Christ in or through that life. No influence...you get America as we now find her. Fix it. A nation is at stake.
Hold on tight,