"At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me."
2 Timothy 4:16
When some one gives you the admonition to be like Christ, what thoughts pop into your head? There are a lot of expressions that we use in our Christian circles that I am not sure we really understand. It becomes easy to say certain platitudes without really knowing what they mean. We sing such hymns as "I Surrender All", but what does it really mean to surrender all and have we really done that?
Paul once stated that his heart's desire was to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering. I must admit that I have repeated those words before in my time of prayer with God. However, there was a day that I sat down and really considered what those words meant. If you will stop and think about it for a second, it is humanly a very scary proposition to say such a thing. Sure, we like the "power of His resurrection" part, but how much do you really want to know and experience the "fellowship of His suffering"? As I read about the life of the Apostle Paul, I believe he meant what he said. I also believe that he came to realize his desire.
Paul became like Christ in the boldness of his power. When he stated that he was not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, he meant that, and he proved it by his continual and effectual witness. The will of God for Paul's life gave him the opportunity to speak in the highest courts to the highest officials of his day. He spoke boldly both to those who were of a high estate and those of lowly means. He became like Christ in his love for the poor and down trodden. He encouraged the churches to give from their hearts to their brothers and sisters in need. Paul truly became a man that lived his life for Christ and like Christ.
We also must consider our passage. He also became like Christ that in the greatest days of trial he stood completely alone. Not one person stood to vouch for him and give testimony of his innocence or character. He had helped a countless number of people, but during the days of his affliction they all left him. Being like Christ isn't as glamorous as it is often portrayed. Truly, it is at times very painful and difficult. But, can you honestly think of any one else that you could strive to be like that would be as eternally rewarding? I would be remiss to not include the last part of this verse. After Paul stated to Timothy that he had been completely abandoned in his time of need, he said, "May it not be charged against them." When I read those words, I see how much like Christ Paul had become. Can't you hear the words of Jesus: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do"?
May you strive to be like Christ in your life no matter what it costs!