1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
Becoming like Jesus is something that everyone should be, whether or not they are Christian, but unfortunately, today, even most people who think of themselves as being Christian are not like Jesus Christ, because they still live in the corrupt ways of this world with all its pain, suffering, and death, which is mostly inflicted upon animals.
And becoming like Jesus is also becoming like God, for as Jesus tells us in John 30:10, ďI and the Father are One.Ē
Here on earth, we should be the peacemaking children of God who live in His heavenly will and do everything in our power to help free creation from its present corruption.
When Jesus taught us to pray for Godís heavenly will to be done here on earth as it is in heaven, He wanted us to really do it, and if we prayed for it, then we should be living it here on earth, which means that we do not intentionally cause or inflict any pain, suffering, or death, which obligates us to be vegans, not only in our diets, but also in our lifestyle, and if we are living this way, we will also help heal the environment.
Becoming like Jesus also means that we will be filled with unconditional love, compassion, and empathy, and unconditional empathy allows us to feel the pain and suffering of the whole of creation, and if we really think about this, it means that we will also end prejudices, and all social justice problems, and this would go a long way toward ending the terrorism and wars that plague us today.
Letís begin todayís Biblical journey of becoming like Jesus by looking at Exodus 33:12-23Ö
12. Then Moses said to the LORD, "See, Thou dost say to me, 'Bring up this people!' But Thou Thyself hast not let me know whom Thou wilt send with me. Moreover, Thou hast said, 'I have known you by name, and you have also found favor in My sight.'
Remember that becoming like Jesus is also like becoming like God, for they are one and the same.
God had asked Moses to be His emissary here on earth to accomplish an immense task and Moses didnít feel comfortable doing it alone, and he really wanted to have the Lord go with him.
As true Christians today, we have the Holy Spirit with us always, but in those days the Holy Spirit may have only been given sparingly, and Moses also seems to have wanted to have Godís presence visible, which doesnít seem to be happening today.
13. "Now therefore, I pray Thee, if I have found favor in Thy sight, let me know Thy ways, that I may know Thee, so that I may find favor in Thy sight. Consider too, that this nation is Thy people."
Moses also seemed to be saying that he wanted to become like God in all His ways, which is the same thing as becoming like Jesus.
14. And He said, "My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest."
And the Lord agrees.
When the Lord told Moses that He would give him rest, we believe that this also meant that he would be at peace in doing everything that God wanted him to do without worrying about anything he was called upon to do.
15. Then he said to Him, "If Thy presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here.
In other words, Moses wanted the Lordís presence to be visible for the sake of the people, for as he says, he knew the Lord was going to lead them up from there.
16. For how then can it be known that I have found favor in Thy sight, I and Thy people? Is it not by Thy going with us, so that we, I and Thy people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?"
Moses knew that most of the Israelites had very little faith to see the Lordís presence to even begin to believe, and that they most likely wouldnít see or understand that the Lord was working through Moses.
Today we donít have the Lord showing His presence visibly, and people need to believe based upon the works that we do or from the way that we live.
If we are loving, compassionate, and empathetic vegans, people can see that we are doing no harm to others, humans or animals, and that we are not harming the environment, even if they wonít admit it to themselves.
17. And the LORD said to Moses, "I will also do this thing of which you have spoken; for you have found favor in My sight, and I have known you by name."
We find this response very interesting, not only because the Lord said He would do as Moses requested, but that perhaps if we are truly living in the heavenly will of God, and becoming like Jesus, then He is more likely to respond to our requests.
18. Then Moses said, "I pray Thee, show me Thy glory!"
However, Moses wanted something more; something for himself of which we are not told, but maybe it was to boost his self-confidence.
19. And He said, "I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the LORD before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion."
This is another very interesting statement for it doesnít tell us what brings the Lord to the point of being gracious or compassionate to someone.
20. But He said, "You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!"
This tells us that there was still something in Mosesí life that wasnít completely holy, for we have all fallen short of the glory of God.
21. Then the LORD said, "Behold, there is a place by Me, and you shall stand there on the rock;
22. and it will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by.
23. Then I will take My hand away and you shall see My back, but My face shall not be seen."
This favor the Lord also grants, with limitations, which to us means that even if we are becoming like Jesus, we still need a Savior to get into heaven for here on earth we most likely cannot cleanse ourselves of all the sins of this corrupt world.
Letís now jump ahead in the Bible to 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10, and see what it teaches us about becoming like Jesus.
1. Paul and Silvanus and Timothy to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.
They are praying for the blessing of God to be upon the Thessalonians, even though they believe in Jesus.
We believe that we all need this kind of prayer, because no matter how hard we work at becoming like Jesus, we always fall a little short of the glory of God, and need that added boost to keep us from allowing the sins of the world to creep into our lives.
But becoming like Jesus is still something that we all need to do here on earth, for we need to at least do this to overcome the sins of the world, even if it doesnít make us as perfect as Jesus.
2. We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers;
3. constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father,
4. knowing, brethren beloved by God, His choice of you;
This seems to be very much like the way that the Lord saw Moses, who was still not fully separated from the corrupt ways of this world.
5. for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.
This is what it means to becoming like Jesus, but we believe that most of us, if not all of us still fall short in having complete empathy for the whole of creation, such as swatting a pesky mosquito instead of having the faith to rebuke it.
6. You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit,
7. so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.
Even though we all fall short of the glory of God, we still need to be born again believers who live in the heavenly will of God as examples before the people, so that they might be convicted in their hearts and souls, and repent and start becoming like Jesus.
8. For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything.
This is the way we all should be.
9. For they themselves report about us what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God,
We have observed that even most people who call themselves Christians, have not completely turned away from the idols of this corrupt and violent world, because, as an example, they still eat the products of violence, pain, suffering, and death.
10. and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come.
We are still waiting, but we know that God sees the intent of each of our hearts and souls, but we need to keep being convicted in our own heart and soul to separate ourselves from every aspect of the corrupt ways of this world with all its violence, pain, suffering, and death, such as eating animals or swatting mosquitoes, or allowing ourselves to lose our temper, or any number of the worldly ways that surround us, and this we believe is all part of becoming like Jesus.
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