How can we live in a way that shows Jesus is close?


As Christians, we hope that the way we live our lives will demonstrate to others that Christ lives in us. We follow Jesus' example of how to live and strive to imitate his conduct as we go about our daily lives. It's not always as easy as it seems and we can't do it without calling on Jesus to guide us and give us the strength to do so. The Pope recently tweeted: "My life, my attitude, the way of going through life, must really be a concrete sign of the fact that God is close to us," and it got me thinking about what we mean when we talk about Christ living in us and how our behaviour can reveal that God is close.

There are numerous passages in the Bible which provide us with examples of how to approach situations in a Christ-like manner, but I want to focus on Philippians 2 as I think it pulls together both themes and links well to the ideas raised in Pope Francis' tweet.

Practical or "concrete" signs

Paul outlines some of the practical ways that we can imitate Christ's humility. He writes, 'Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit'...'In humility value others above yourself'...'Do everything without grumbling or arguing'. Each command echoes Jesus' character and the mention of Jesus' sacrifice reinforces the message about what kind of person that we need to be.

More than just imitating Christ

When we think about becoming more like Christ we have to go further than simply trying to imitate him. We don't want our behaviour to be simply modelled on Christ's but we want Christ to enter in and live through us. This is something which Paul explains in Philippians 2:1-2, "Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind."

So, by being filled with the Spirit we can exhibit Christ-like qualities of humility, love, selflessness and so on. But how, as mentioned in the Pope's tweet, does our outward behaviour reveal the inner source?

How others see that Christ is alive in us

Everything that Jesus offers us in on a much greater scale than that which we experience ordinarily. When we think about his love it's more than we could ever deserve, it's so great that he gave his life for us. In the same way that the peace Jesus gives us 'transcends all understanding' so does his love for us and his love within us. So when Paul goes on to say, 'Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky,' it's clear how our actions will set us apart from others, how they'll bring light and love into the world and how they can signify that he is close.