One time I heard about a fascinating experiment performed by a teacher at a Christian university.
At the beginning of the semester, he handed out a 24-question survey about Jesus: “Did being in a big crowd make Jesus nervous?” “Did Jesus enjoy parties?” At the end of the semester, the professor handed out a similar questionnaire. This time the questions were reworded just a bit. The students were asked to identify their own feelings about big crowds, parties, and so on. As it turned out, Jesus felt the same way the students did!
The Bible challenges us to conform to the image of Christ. Paul says that “those whom [God] foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Rom. 8:29). He also says that “we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Cor. 3:18).
To be honest, we must admit that we fall unmistakably short of the conformity called for in these scriptures. Jesus was satisfied with the clothing on his back, but we stare forlornly into a big closet full of clothes and can’t find anything to wear. Jesus loved sinners but blistered the ears of hypocritical religionists. We feel uneasy in the company of sinners and tiptoe around the glaring inconsistencies of church-goers. Jesus emptied himself of glory, took up a towel, and washed dirty feet. But we find service without honor beneath our dignity. Jesus resisted every temptation, but we wonder why God says no to sinful pleasures.
The gap between our conduct and the image of Christ is understandably broad. He is perfect. We are sinful. He is strong. We are weak. But the goal of every committed disciple is to close the gap. This is accomplished not by conforming Jesus to our own image but by being conformed to his image. In this worthy endeavor, we are not alone. If we submit to the leading of the Spirit of Christ, he molds us, shapes us, and reworks us according to his holy will.