One of the biggest challenges he did was to try to live according to the Old Testament law for a year. He may have taken it a little far in wearing robes and sandals, but that’s part of his style. The law says that adultery is to be punished by stoning. So, he decided to carry around a stone in his pocket and if he met someone who had committed adultery, he would pull out the stone and throw it at them. Well, at one point he is telling this to a guy who says, “Well, I’ve committed adultery, are you going to stone me?” And A.J. pulled out his stone and threw it at the man, who then became rather upset with him.
Are we to take Paul’s word to that level, what does it mean to “Be like Christ”? I think we can safely hang up our robes, but since it is summer you might want to wear your sandals. And Jesus came to save us from trying to follow each and every law or interpretation of the law, so you don’t need to carry around stones. In fact, on that account, even Jesus when he had the chance to throw a stone didn’t, and encouraged others also to not throw stones, but find forgiveness. In case you don’t remember that one read John 8. To be like Jesus means more than following his dress and customs, it means to think and act as he would have. His attitudes need to be our attitudes. The way to learn this is to immerse ourselves in the gospels, not just Jesus’ teaching but how he lived. We may find that many of the ideas and attitudes we were raised with are not reflected in how Jesus lived. We tend to be judgmental of those who aren’t like us, but Jesus was open and receptive to these people. We seem to think the best way to influence our society for good is to pass laws making them obey, while Jesus first sought to win their heart.
To live like Jesus is radical, and uncomfortable. Truly living like Jesus will mean that you will often find yourself at odds with the people around you, out of step with popular media and ideas. But isn’t that what we are called to do? Paul said that we are not to let the world press us into its mold, in other words, the attitudes and ideas that are expressed around us. We are to have our minds transformed by what God would have us know and think. Many of you are thinking that I’m referring to the liberal media and folks on Wall Street. Read the gospels again. Who is Jesus most at odds with? When the church puts power and politics a head of mercy and real faith, we are out of step with the one who really matters.
Go back to the verse we started with and read the verses leading up to Paul’s statement. From I Corinthians 10:23 on he is talking about how we should live our freedom in Christ, and it isn’t to please ourselves or to fit into what those around us want. We are to live in such a way to be Christ to those around us. Sometimes that will mean putting aside our attitudes and doing what is best for the other person. Sometimes the best we can do for the other person is to show them the example of Christ. In all things we are to show love and forgiveness, because that is how Christ lived.