The Vitruvian man was Leonardo Da Vinci’s attempt to calculate the perfect proportions of man and then perfectly draw that human form. Da Vinci worked out this representation of the human form so he could depict in his art an ideal figure of mankind. His careful attention to this model is part of what enabled him to become a world renowned artist. Christians have another model of a truly perfect man which they should attempt to duplicate in their lives. This perfect man is drawn for us in the Bible. Jesus is the perfect standard which we ought to strive to imitate as completely as possible.
The goal of spiritual growth is Christlikeness. Christians should not be content with growth in knowledge and skill. Christians are not attempting to grow merely in influence or results. Fruit in the Christian life is a major evidence of growth, but it is not the ultimate goal or measure of maturity. The ultimate measure of Christian growth is Christ. A Christian is growing only whne he is becoming more like Jesus. “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.” (Ephesians 4:13-15)
How does the Christian measure his spiritual growth? The child of God can measure his spiritual growth by identifying an increase in Christlikeness. The believer is growing when his attitudes, passions, desires, speech and behavior look more like Jesus’. Being like Jesus may sound like a vague, poorly defined standard, but in reality it is not. Christlikeness is not a subjective standard which everyone can define for themselves. Christlikeness is spelled out for us and fleshed out for us in the pages of the Bible. What Jesus would do is what Jesus has done.
To know what Jesus would do and to grow in Christlikeness requires intimate familiarity with the character of Jesus. Read the gospels, read and re-read them until you know Jesus. Jesus is not just revealed in the four Gospels. He is revealed in the whole Bible. Jesus is the God of the Old and New Testaments. To learn what it means to be like Jesus read other portions of Scripture that highlight the character of God. Read the Psalms. Read Isaiah. Read Revelation. Ultimately, no matter where you read in Scripture, look for God to be revealed. In all your Bible reading, look to see who God is and what God does. As you study God’s Word develop a biography of God. Take note of His character that you may imitate Him.
Be encouraged in your efforts to become more like Jesus. You are not laboring alone. The task of growing in Christlikeness is not one sided. The Christian is not like a teenager standing in front of his mirror trying to look and act like his far distant idol. The Christian is a child. The Christian walks with, is taught by and help by his loving Father. As you try to imitate Jesus, He actively works in you to make you like Himself. “Put on the new man, which is created (to be like God) in righteousness and true holiness.” (Ephesians 4:24)