In the 1960�s there was a well-known folk/rock song about a man named Richard Corey. The song lyrics described him as a rich businessman who had family, connections, ease, and could do anything he wanted. The singer then described his own feelings, cursing his own life and poverty and wishing he could be Richard Corey. The irony of the song was that by the last verse Mr. Corey committed suicide.
Like the singer of that song expressing his desire to be (or be like) Richard Corey, so it is with most Christians who freely use the phrase �to be like Christ� or desire �Christ likeness�. It�s a proper desire but is sometimes based upon a misplaced focus, one that covets Jesus� spiritual power and authority but relegates his meekness, compassion, and suffering to being less important and secondary.
Mark 10:37-38 says, �They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory. But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?� The disciples, in this case, James and John, sought to get closer to the seat of power, Jesus himself, and they probably didn�t fully comprehend his statement about baptism. In essence Jesus was asking them if they wanted to be like him, would they be willing to go through the things he would go through. �The servant is not greater than his Lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you?� said Jesus in John 15:20. The bottom line in one�s desire for Christ�likeness is the willingness to suffer slander, cursing, physical abuse, rejection, or imprisonment and still turn the other cheek and forgive. Jesus had to endure opposition and persecution including a wrongful death. Is your faith strong enough that you could do the same? As one man made his desire to be like Christ known to an unbeliever he received this response, �Well, you�ve already screwed up because you got married!� On the surface that may seem true, but Christ likeness is a desire of the heart, a directing of the will, and a dying to self. Jesus became a man and left us an example that we should follow in his steps, (I Pet 2:21) not following by laws but by obeying principles. Christ�likeness is no carefree joyride but a journey with incredible mountains and valleys and eventually a home in the city where the streets are paved with gold. That is the home promised to all who seek after Christ and desire to be like him.