Best Advice?

On my way into work this morning, in standstill traffic due to an accident, I was listening to KLove as I always do…today’s question was asking about the best advice you have ever given or gotten. A mom called in and shared her beautiful response that she always reminds her children to put God first in everything they do. Sounds like pretty solid advice to me!

But then it got me thinking…what was the best advice I’ve ever received.

My college/young adulthood years were not pleasant ones. And while I try not to have regrets, I often get the “could of, would of, should of”‘s when I think back on how I lived my life from ages 18 to 25. I can only say that while I would do things differently, I am who I am today due to my past. I am not that same person, and I’ve most definitely learned from my past.

When I was a 5th year senior at Penn State University, I decided with only 16 credits left, I needed to take a break. To say my parents were upset is an understatement. I’m sure many thought I’d never go back and I’d be stuck in a dead end job for the rest of my life. But I realized a few years after dropping out that I not only needed my degree, but I wanted my degree. So at 25 I went back and finished strong!

I had a completely different view on education…and this is where I received the best advice I had ever gotten.

Since I was completing a bachelors in science, many of my last courses were focused on several areas of science, one being in genetics.  I had no clue I’d ever have a love for genetics, but I found myself completely infatuated with genetics. I mean the human body is truly a miracle. DNA…mind blowing.

But it was my genetics professor that gave me advice that has stuck with me after all these years.  I went to her during office hours to get some help for an upcoming exam and I expressed my new found love for genetics, which she was obviously very excited to hear she touched someone’s life with her genetics class.  Little does she know, her next words would be life changing for me.

She told me that whenever I see someone doing what I want to do, ask that individual how they got there. What steps did they take to be where they are.

I have used this advice in many aspects in my life.

But this morning I had a much deeper thought about this advice…what if I want to be like Jesus. That is what we are called to do, right? Be Christ-like?

To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps
1 Peter 2:21

As much as I’d love to sit down with Jesus and say, “so tell me more about your journey to being the Messiah, the chosen one”, unless it’s ‘my time’ or the rapture happens today, a face-to-face sit down won’t be occurring.

But do you know what I do have….The Word! Everything we’d need know to be Christ-like is right there, written out for us.

So here’s what I found:

Christ’s mission on Earth was to fulfill the promises of God. He kept his focus on God at all times. Even in the wilderness with temptation in his face, He chose God.

-Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2 (NIV) 

Everything about Christ is/was perfect. While we are sinful humans and it is impossible to meet perfection, we can try. And part of this process…recognizing that other’s are also imperfect sinful humans, trying to be perfect. So show other’s grace.

-“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous……Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly father is perfect.” Matthew 5: 43, 44, 48 (NIV) 

-“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” Matthew 6:14 (NIV)

Part of Christ focusing on God led him to trusting all aspects of God’s plan. He didn’t worry about yesterday or tomorrow. He just trusted.

-“Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Matthew 6:27 (NIV)

-“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34 (NIV)

And Jesus loves. There is nothing fake or condescending about his love. He just loves wholeheartedly and unconditionally.

“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 (NIV). 

I’m sure I could list many more attributes of being Christ-like and quoting scripture, but the above spoke most loudly to me. And to me, an important reminder of what it means to be like Christ.

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