A Pastor’s Ponderings: To Be Like Christ


By Kerry Knight, Minister, Emerald Beach Church of Christ

One of the most endearing hymns in our song books is “Oh To Be Like Thee.” It was written in 1893 by Thomas Obadiah Chisholm. He was born in a log cabin in Kentucky and was a man filled with grand ambitions. He was self-educated, yet became a school teacher at age 16. By the time he was 21, he was associate editor for a local newspaper. It was while attending a revival and hearing his mentor, Dr. Henry Clay Morrison, speak that he realized how important it was for a new believer to strive to be Christ-like. At that very moment, while sitting in a pew, he penned the words of, “Oh, To Be Like Thee.” Later the words were put to music by James Kirpatrick. Throughout his life, Chisholm kept writing poetry, ultimately authoring some 1,200 poems, including 800 that were eventually in print. Probably his most famous hymn is “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” which he wrote when he was 57. In spite of all the wonderful hymns that inspired millions, his favorite was the one that started him on his journey of discovery.

1. O to be like thee! Blessed Redeemer;
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures;
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
O to be like Thee! O to be like Thee!
Blessed Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

Someone once observed that a wasted life if really nothing more than a collection of wasted days. As God gives us life, each one of us starts the new year with the same number of opportunities – 365 – that we can choose to either use and invest in eternal things or allow to drift by without taking advantage of the gift we have been given. The difference between those who succeed and those who fail is not found primarily in talent but in diligence and effort. Listen to the challenging words of the Apostle Peter:
“For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth” (I Peter 2:21-22).

Following in the steps of Jesus! What could possibly be a better purpose for our lives? Jesus lived a sinless life because he had a perfect sense of self-control and a perfect awareness of God, being fully committed to Him in all things. How can we ask God to guide our footsteps if we are not willing to move our feet? Walking in his steps does not mean that we do it perfectly. It’s all about “walking in the light, doing His Will, and obeying Him out of love. “When we do that, “the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us of all sin” (I John 1:9).
As I begin this monthly editorial with you, I pray that the message that I share will uplift you and bring new meaning to your life.

Emerald Beach Church of Christ is located at 301 Alf Coleman Road, Panama City Beach, Florida 32407. Call (850) 235-7992 for more information.