He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.
WOW...What do you say to that. For the last 36 years of my life, I have always heard people say they wanted to be like Jesus. I have to admit, that I am one of those people as well. We are people that very much are addicted to our society, and the ways thereof. What I mean by that is so many times we accept beliefs and sayings, without giving it much thought. How many people do you know are a certain religious or political affiliation, simply because that is the way that they were raised. Any dumb person can just blindly follow somebody else because they are led that way or told too. We have all heard the saying, "If I tell you to jump off of a bridge, will you do it?" Of course we sheepishly say NO, for that is just plain old stupid. However, how is that any different than blindly going through life under the assumption that the path you are on is the correct one, without ever taking a step back in evaluation.
Is it wrong to want to be more like Jesus? Absolutely not! Should we ask God to make us more Christ-Like? Yes! Right about now I can imagine you saying, "Dang it Greg, now I am more confused then ever? Are you saying that we should be like Christ, or not?" I am glad that you asked... The essence of being Christ-Like can only come through His Holy Spirit in our lives. In other words, there is nothing that we can do to be more Christ Like. Just because you stopped smoking, cursing, looking at girly magazines, started a prison ministry, etc. does not make you Christ Like. It is through your complete surrender to His Holy Spirit in your life, that you become Christ Like.
So back to my original statement about being more like Jesus. My concern is not that people are praying and voicing this, it is that they do not know what to expect in return. If they are to be more like Christ, then Isaiah 53 says that He was rejected by men. Are you being rejected by people, or are you a Man Pleaser? It says that he was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. Do you cast that by the wayside, and say that through your self-help books you will always be positive and motivated? It goes on to say that He was despised, and men turned their faces from Him. Are you prepared to walk into Wal-Mart and have people turn away from you in disgust, or even pick up a tomato and hurl it at your head?
Futher down in verse 7 it says that He was was lead like a lamb to the slaughter, but didn't open His mouth. Are you defensive when you find out that somebody is talking about you behind your back? Do you want to be friends with everybody that comes along, and never want to offend. If you do, are you making sure that your "Good Name" is cleared, and not run through the mud? Are you ready to be more like Christ?
If you aren't ready to accept that Jesus was spit on, cursed, called names, rejected by most, beaten, ridiculed, crimes committed against, and ultimately put to death, then don't dare pray that you be more like Christ!!! Unless you are ready to accept the man who died on the cross for your sins, as bloody and battered, then don't confess to want more of Him in your life. If you want a cuddly white Scandanavian Jesus with blue eyes to cuddle up to like a sheep, then don't pray that prayer.
My Jesus is depicted very vividly in Isaiah 53. Revelation 19 says that my Jesus is coming back on a white horse, with fire in His eyes, a robe dipped in blood, a sword coming out of His mouth, and on His thigh is written "King of Kings and Lord of Lords." That is my Jesus.
If you want more of Jesus in your life, and pray daily to be more Christ-Like, please understand who Jesus really is. My prayer is that you do become more Christ-Like, and that you learn to accept the persecution that will come as a result of growing closer to Him.