One Standard of Character

“Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.” 1 John 2:6

Nothing is more striking to a close observer of human life than the almost infinite variety of character which exists among those who profess to be Christians. No two are alike. Even those who are revered for their saintliness, who alike seem to wear the image of their Lord, whose lives are alike attractive in their beauty–show the widest diversity in individual traits and in the cast and mold of their character. Yet all are sitting before the same model; all are striving after the same ideal; all are imitators of the same blessed life.

There is only one standard of true Christian character–likeness to Christ. It is into His image that we are to be transformed; and it is toward His holy beauty that we are always to strive. We are to live as He lived. We are to copy His features into our lives. Wherever, in all the world, true disciples of Christ are found, they are all trying to reproduce the likeness of their Master in themselves.

One reason for the diversity among Christians is because even the best and holiest saints realize but a little of the image of Christ and have only one little fraction and fragment of His likeness in their souls. In one of His followers, there is some one feature of Christ’s blessed life which appears; in another, there is another feature; in a third, still a different feature. One seeks to copy Christ’s gentleness, another His patience, another His sympathy, another His meekness.

Therefore, a thousand believers may all, in a certain sense, be like Christ and yet no two of them have, or consciously strive after, just the same features of Christ in their souls. The reason is that the character of Christ is so great, so majestic and so glorious that it is impossible to copy all of it into any one little human life; each human character is so imperfect and limited that it cannot reach out in all directions after the boundless and infinite character of Christ.

– J. R. Miller

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