Becoming Like Jesus
When you made the decision to receive Jesus into your life, you began an exciting journey with Christ that will never end. God’s ultimate plan is to change you into Christ’s image! In order for Him to accomplish that, you will need to commit yourself to learning how to live for Christ.
When you made the decision to receive Jesus into your life, you began an exciting journey with Christ that will never end. God’s ultimate plan is to change you into Christ’s image!
At this point in time, what excites you most about your life with Christ?
Romans 8:29 says, “God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him. After God made that decision of what his children should be like, he followed it up by calling people by name. After he called them by name, he set them on a solid basis with himself. And then, after getting them established, he stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what he had begun” (The Message).
Think of this process as a journey. It is somewhat like participating in a marathon. Marathon runners prepare for the long haul. The Christian life is not a sprint–it is a commitment you make for all of your life.
At the beginning of a race, competitors always feel great and have lots of energy. However, as the race wears on, they can begin to feel tired … even exhausted. Right now you are feeling excited and ready to live for God, but the pressures of daily life are going to make you tired and possibly even discouraged.
Good marathon runners take a lot of time to train. And training time definitely pays off in helping a runner to run a better race. In order for you to run your best race for Christ, you also need to spend time in training. It takes daily discipline to put God into our days. It takes commitment to learn how to live for Christ.
Jesus’ Spirit living in you has begun to bring about this change, and He will continue His work throughout your life. Philippians 1:6 tells us, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (NASB) . And Philippians 2:13 encourages us with these words: “God is working in you to make you willing and able to obey him” (CEV).
Once a space shuttle launches, it is too late to abort the mission without the potential of grave danger. Now that you have “launched” your life with Christ, you need to be aware of the danger of aborting your mission. The lure of life’s pleasures will tug at you. Your own desires will crave to be fulfilled. You will get tired, or bored, or disillusioned. It is important to remember in these moments that you must not abort your “mission” with Christ.The Christian life is not a sprint – It is a commitment you make for all of your life. Jesus’ Spirit living in you has begun to bring about this change, and He will continue His work throughout your life. If you live for Christ and trust Him, you will experience joy, peace, love, confidence, hope, and contentment as only God can give it. The Holy Spirit gives us the power to overcome trials and temptations. We must obediently surrender our lives to the Holy Spirit, and allow Him to make us Christ-like.
What types of things can potentially distract or discourage you from growing in your relationship with Christ?
In Romans 8:32, Paul says, “Since God did not spare even His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, won’t God, who gave us Christ, also give us everything else?” (NLT)
2 Corinthians 2:18 tells us, “So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image” (NLT).
In other words, our heavenly Father loves us so much that He delights in helping us to be all that He created us to be. If you live for Christ and trust Him, you will experience joy, peace, love, confidence, hope, and contentment as only God can give it.
A life that is like Christ is lived in obedience to Him based upon faith in His Word. You and I are totally unable to live the Christian life in our own strength. However, by faith in God’s promises, the Holy Spirit gives us the power to overcome trials and temptations. As we surrender our lives to Jesus Christ, He conforms us into his likeness.
How do you feel about being conformed into the likeness of Christ?
1 Peter 1:15-16 tells us, “Always live as God’s holy people should, because God is the one who chose you, and he is holy. That’s why the Scriptures say, ‘I am the holy God, and you must be holy too’” (CEV).
Nancy DeMoss writes, “True holiness starts on the inside–with our thoughts, attitudes, values, and motives–those innermost parts of our hearts that only God can see. It also affects our outward and visible behavior.”
What does it mean to you that your life must be holy?
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 tells us, “You surely know that your body is a temple where the Holy Spirit lives. The Spirit is in you and is a gift from God. You are no longer your own. God paid a great price for you. So use your body to honor God” (CEV).
What does this verse mean to you personally? How can you honor God with your body?
Since it is impossible for us to simply improve our sinful natures, we must obediently surrender our lives to the Holy Spirit, and allow Him to make us Christ-like. Many Christians are able to put on a good front, which appears Christ-like, while holding deep grudges and resentments inside. Christ’s love is totally different; it begins on the inside.
Galatians 2:19-21 explains it perfectly: “What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that. Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily” (The Message).
Are there times when you find yourself “faking” a true relationship with Christ? Why? How can you avoid this trap?
What does a Christ-centered life look like? In Galatians 5:22-23, it says, “But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely” (The Message).
What do these verse from Galatians say to you?
Think for a moment about the areas of your life that are already under the control of Christ:
What areas of your life do you still need to surrender to God?