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Imitate Perfection

We’ve all probably seen a movie with this familiar plot: a reluctant hero runs across a bumbling yet likable character and inadvertently saves the individual’s life. The saved fellow then spends the rest of the movie entertaining us with misguided attempts to pay back his life-debt. The long-suffering hero tolerates and then comes to appreciate the hapless individual just in time for a happy ending. This plot is good entertainment. But it also invites us, as believers, to note the many points of contrast with our relationship to Christ.

Rather than being a reluctant hero, Jesus came as a willing servant. He didn’t happen upon someone in need. He actively sought us out. We, instead of being likable but misguided characters, were by nature depraved, wallowing in decadence, and tools of Satan.

Sometimes we may even cast ourselves as the reluctant hero. Someone is in need, or a task is waiting to be done, and we wonder why someone else can’t step up and do it. We may feel we’ve done enough for others already. But Jesus gave us His all. From His throne in heaven to His very life, Jesus sacrificed all for us. Have we really sacrificed that much compared to His gift? Rather than playing the reluctant hero, let us seek out those we can help—not only financially and physically—but especially spiritually, with the Gospel of Christ.

Life has plenty of burdens. Debt; relationship problems; balancing church, work, and family; guilt; these all play their part in burdening our lives. Our greatest burden, however, has already been taken care of. Jesus came to bear our sins on the cross. He paid with His own innocent blood to fulfill the Law’s demands. He has freely credited His righteousness to our account. This gives us a unique and scriptural view of all those around us. Each soul we meet is a soul that has been bought with the blood of Christ. They may still be wandering in their sins and carrying their burden of guilt, but we have the key to their release. We can share with them the Gospel that brought us out of darkness into Christ’s marvelous light.

Finally, to save someone’s temporal life is a precious thing, but it is still only temporal. Barring Christ’s return, we will all face death someday. Jesus, however, came to give us life eternal.

It is easy to become too enamored or entangled with the pleasures and plenty this world offers. After all, we are earthly creatures. Do neighbors or co-workers see the Christian difference in us? Or do we appear as all-consumed with the here and now, and the getting of material things, no different from the rest of the world? Christ has made us a new creation inside. Our new man seeks out God and His Word and willingly follows after Christ. We would do well to read, study, and hear God’s Word in order to strengthen our inner man. With God’s help, we can show others that there is more to life than the burdens of the here and now, for Christ has promised us the blessings of the here and forever.

David W. Bernthal is a retired teacher. He lives in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.