“Jesus is ideal and wonderful, but you Christians – you are not like him.” – Mahatma Gandhi
We try so hard to prove that Jesus is the Christ, so others will choose to surrender their lives to this wonderful Savior. We use the wonder of fulfilled prophecy to show that the probability of hundreds of historically verifiable predictions, written centuries before their fulfillment, could not exist without divine inspiration. We declare the historical nature of Jesus, of other biblical characters and events, in hopes of convincing our friends and neighbors to want to follow Christ. We study and arrange syllogisms and other proofs of the resurrection longing to persuade others toward faith, but most of these efforts have little or no effect on unbelievers.
Jesus gave us clear directions on how to convince seekers: “A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35 –NIVUK). Our failure to present the image of Christ to our communities should convict each of us. The words of Gandhi rightfully sting. “Jesus is ideal and wonderful, but you Christians – you are not like him.” We must change that.
In recent years, multiple books have made use of the following anonymous modification of the “Serenity Prayer.”
“God grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know it’s me.”
Fortunately, we have the blessing of an indwelling Holy Spirit who molds us into the nature of Christ as we, with unveiled faces, behold Him (2 Cor. 3:18). Our responsibility is to spend more time with a purer heart beholding the One we desire to imitate, reflect and honor. Then, we must allow His nature of love, forgiveness, humility and the rest to completely transform us into His likeness.
I am convinced that there are a number of Christians, who if Gandhi had met them, would have reflected the nature of God so obviously that he could have been persuaded. But our task is to make the character of Christ typical of His church today. And my responsibility is to surrender my will to Him in such a way that at least He can be more clearly seen in me.
Because He lives,