I was talking with my grandma a few days ago, and she and I were talking about how it’s hard to be a Christian because we are striving so hard to live a life pleasing to God. She said that that’s part of the reason why she tells people not to be like her, because that means that she has to work twice as hard to live a perfect life and not mess up in life. That way, her example can be perfect enough for others who are following her to indeed follow. When she said that, it got me thinking about how often I have tried to live like others, and have told others to live like me, and it never occurred to me that by telling others to live by my example, or by me living by others’ examples, I was actually giving people, and other people were giving me, permission to live an imperfect life, for none of us are perfect, even in our pursuit of perfection.
My dad taught me a few years back that I should not have role models, people who I model my life after and strive to be like, because I don’t know what those people had to go through in order to become what they became, and in order to be like them, I have to endure similar (if not the same) circumstances they faced to become just like them. For those who are extremely famous and rich and whatnot, I never know what they had to overcome, what they had to do, who they had to cut down, what they had to sell, or anything to become the people they’ve become. And God, being the desire-giving God He is, would be gracious enough to give me the path to my role models’ successes by paving my road of life with their trials and tribulations so that I can have their success. Because of that, I should aspire to have success as it comes, and be happy with having that success, because God created me to be my own person, to experience my own trials, tribulations, and tempations, and furthermore have my own successes as a result. So role models, I should not have at all.
Having said that, though, if I’m not supposed to have a role model, then why is Jesus my role model? If I’m not supposed to have a role model, and if by having a role model I’m asking for the trials and tribulations that said role models have faced, then why have Jesus as a role model? After all, He went through SO MUCH MORE than anyone would want to face when dying on the Cross, and I’m not too sure I want to go through that myself. Why make Him my role model?
God revealed to me that I am an imperfect person, and that people around me are imperfect people, and that everyone on earth is imperfect. If someone tells me that he/she wants to be just like me, and I allow that person to be just like me, then I’m actually giving that person PERMISSION to live an imperfect life. Even if I’m striving for perfection, and I’m not purposefully making mistakes due to being imperfect (Romans 8) by definition, if I accept a person’s desire to be like me, then I am giving that person permission to live an imperfect life. That means that said person can live a double standard lifestyle, one in which that person does everything for God purposefully, but also goes out and does everything outside the will of God purposefully, and there’s nothing I can say about it, because that person is modeling his life after mine, and because my life is imperfect, he actually is not wrong by saying, “If he can do it, then so can I.”
That’s why Jesus is THE ROLE MODEL by which I am to follow. Because despite the trials, tribulations, and temptations He faced, he NEVER sinned nor fell short of God’s glory. Regardless of whatever was around Him, regardless of circumstances or situations, even regardless of the ridicule or shame of the Cross, Jesus never fell short of doing God’s will. That is why Jesus is THE ROLE MODEL, because He is the only person in the world, in history, who lived a perfect life. And His life is the perfection that I pursue every day. Even though I will never reach that level of perfection, Jesus’s life is what I model my life after, and I take from Him being my role model the trials, tribulations, and temptations that come with it. For I know that if He can do it, and the same Spirit that dwelled in Him dwells in me, then I, too, can do all things through Him who gives me the strength, courage, wisdom, and faith!