It is often said that the life of Jesus is to be imitated by his followers. This, of course, is the idea behind the popular question 'What would Jesus do?' That we are to follow the example of Christ is indeed taught in the Scriptures (for example see John 13:13-15 and 1 Peter 2:21). The reality, though, is that our very best efforts at following his example are always imperfect and defiled by our sinful nature.
By contrast, his obedience was always perfect and complete and never defiled. Therefore, we should always look first at what Jesus did as our representative before looking at him as our example. All our efforts toward spiritual growth should flow out of the realisation of what he has already done to secure for us our perfect standing before God.
(From 'The Great Exchange by Jerry Bridges and Bob Bevington')