The Process of Character Perfection (Part 3a)
We should be grateful that Christ does not command us to do anything that He hasn’t already done on our behalf. He does not order us to go before Him. He gently invites us to follow Him. He is the Shepherd, and we are the sheep of His pasture. He will not drive us to do something He has not already perfectly exampled to us.
In the process of character perfection we must see how Christ fulfills each stage as the Author and Finisher of Faith. But first, let’s look at the process He exhorts us to commence and complete. When we ponder the Beatitudes given at Galilee, just how did Jesus fulfill all these steps?
“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” KJV, Matthew 5:3-5, emphasis added.
Paul reveals how Jesus exchanged riches for poverty for our sake. “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.” KJV, 2 Corinthians 8:9.
The spiritual weakness for which we ought to mourn Christ felt in the physical weakness of our flesh. Ellen White wrote of this correlation: “Jesus Himself, while He dwelt among men, was often in prayer. Our Saviour identified Himself with our needs and weakness, in that He became a suppliant, a petitioner, seeking from His Father fresh supplies of strength, that He might come forth braced for duty and trial. He is our example in all things…. He endured struggles and torture of soul in a world of sin. His humanity made prayer a necessity and a privilege. He found comfort and joy in communion with His Father. And if the Saviour of men, the Son of God, felt the need of prayer, how much more should feeble, sinful mortals feel the necessity of fervent, constant prayer.” (Ellen White, Steps to Christ, 93, 94, emphasis added.)
The meekness of Christ is something that He testified of Himself as He instructed His followers to come follow Him, to imitate Him. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” KJV, Matthew 11:28-30, emphasis added. In this He fulfilled prophecy given in Scripture: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.” KJV, Zechariah 9:9.
(To be continued.)