As I thought about the many possible answers to this question, I realized that they all seemed to be wrapped up in one: BE LIKE CHRIST. (2 Cor. 3:18, 3 John :11, Phil. 2:5, Eph. 5:1, and many more) Everything else that a Christian should be and do in his/her life is included in being like Christ. So how do we do that? I think that is the question that most Christians spend their entire lives trying to answer: How do we be like Christ? Not just in the love-your-enemies, be-kind-to-others, forgive-each-other kind of way (though those things are good and right), but in the way described in 1 Peter 2:22, "He committed NO SIN, and no deceit was found in His mouth." How do we truly imitate Christ in having absolutely no sin? Jesus was a man, just like us. He faced every temptation we face, yet He did not sin. (Heb. 4:15) How did He do it? I think a very wise friend of mine hit the nail on the head when he said,
"The amazing thing about Jesus wasn't that He never sinned. The amazing thing about Jesus was that He was TOTALLY DEPENDENT on the Father...therefore He never sinned."
I think too often we believe Jesus was able to be sinless simply because He was God's Son, as if it was His default or something. Sinlessness wasn't something Jesus came by naturally, even though He was God's Son. (Heb. 5:8) Look at how often Jesus spent time with His Father, seeking Him and praying to Him:
"After He had dismissed them, He went up on a mountainside to pray." (Matt. 14:23)
"Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed." (Mark 1:35)
"After leaving them, He went up on a mountainside to pray." (Mark 6:46)
"But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed." (Luke 5:16)
"One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God." (Luke 6:12)
"He took Peter, John and James with Him and went up onto a mountain to pray." (Luke 9:28)
Jesus knew that without His Father, it was impossible for Him to complete the task for which He had come. "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by Himself; He can do only what He sees His Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does." (John 5:19) Jesus, the Son of God, had to be totally dependent on God for everything, and so do we. There was only one way Jesus could be sinless, and there is only one way that we can be like Him: TOTAL DEPENDENCE ON GOD. When we reach a place of true, total dependence on God, we have reached a place of being like Christ.
Father, thank You for Your Son, Jesus. Thank You for the example You gave me through Him of how to be totally dependent on You. Help me to imitate Him in that more every day. Show me my own incompetence, and teach me of my need to depend on You. Draw me closer to You daily; I want to know You more. You are a good God!
"Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'" Matthew 19:26