Friday, April 7, 2017

What You Should Know About Becoming Like Jesus

Becoming Christ-Like


There have been times in my faith walk when I have asked God, "when will I stop struggling with this? I know you have set me free so why am I still falling back into these feelings, these actions, these habits?" Maybe you've felt this way too. Like no matter how much you pray, no matter how much you believe that in Christ you are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), you just can't break free from your old ways. Perhaps you're not a follower of Jesus at all. You believe that Jesus won't accept you because of your past, your addiction, your friends etc. Whatever your situation, I want to tell you that it's okay. You don't have to have it all together because we have a God who does. Yes, His desire is for you to become more like Him, but there is freedom in realizing that becoming like Christ is a process that takes time. The Bible calls this process sanctification, which is a fancy word that simply means "to make holy." Despite what you may think, becoming holy doesn't happen immediately when we accept Jesus as our Savior.

Even Jesus' disciples who were with Him every day, witnessed first hand His power and knew His promises to be true struggled in their faith. In Luke 8:22-25, we see them terrified of a storm even though Jesus is with them. A few chapters later (Luke 11:1) we see that they were unsure how to pray. Phillip questioned who Jesus was (John 14:8-11). Peter was ashamed to admit his faith (John 18:17). Judas betrayed Jesus for money (Matthew 26:14-16). Thomas doubted the risen Lord's identity (John 20:24-29). So if Jesus' very disciples were not perfect we can be confident that He does not expect perfection from us either. 


Know that you're accepted, but also know that staying the same isn't acceptable

The great news is that Jesus accepts us just as we are. The Bible says that "while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Did you catch that? Jesus died for us while we were still stuck in sin. He didn't wait for us to clean ourselves up first. He saw us as we were and He gave up His life for us anyway. Before you even had the opportunity to deny Him, Jesus paid the ultimate price for you. If you think that you're too broken to be loved by Jesus, rest assured, He already loves you, just the way you are. 

When we proclaim to be His followers, however, God calls us to a higher standard. We can't let the fact that Jesus accepts us as we are drive us to complacency. Our purpose as Christians is to make Jesus known and we do that by showing people who He is through our own actions. Ephesians 4:22-24 tells us to "put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; and be made new in the attitude of your minds; and put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." We come to Him imperfect, we're accepted, but we must strive to change.

Embrace the Process

There's purpose in the process. God doesn't perfect us the moment we receive Him because if He did we would never truly realize His power and our desperate need for Him. It is when we witness Him lift us up out of the pit of sin that we realize both how weak we are and how very strong He is. 

The work that He does in us shapes our testimonies and our testimonies minister to others. This is the joy in the journey.

"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness" (James 1:2-3). 

Keep Seeking

You know how when you spend a lot of time with someone you start to act like them? The same is true when we spend time with Jesus. Take an active role in your sanctification process. Study the Bible, spend time in prayer, find a community of believers to do life with and hold you accountable. The more you seek Jesus and saturate your life with Him, the easier it becomes to live a life that honors Him. 

"Plant the good seeds of righteousness and you will harvest a crop of love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the Lord, that He may come and shower righteousness upon you." Hosea 10:12

Receive Grace

The process of becoming more like Christ can lead to a lot of frustration. There will be times when you feel you will never change, like the standard is just too high to meet. You'll feel you've made progress, then a situation will arise that will cause you to backslide and leave you feeling hopeless. This happens because, truthfully, the standard is too high to meet. None of us will achieve a completely sinless life. We all sin and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) because the glory of God is beyond our human ability. This is where grace comes in. God's grace is sufficient, it covers our weaknesses and our failures. Give yourself permission to receive grace, pick yourself up and allow your moments of weakness to shape your future. 


“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

Back to the disciples. Despite their failures, their weaknesses and their spiritual immaturity, Jesus trusted them with the Great Commission (to make disciples) and He trusts us too because He is there to guide us. He is not intimidated by our shortcomings. Following a perfect God does not require us to be perfect, but it should make us better. 




5 comments:

  1. This is so beautiful! "God doesn't perfect us the moment we receive Him because if He did we would never truly realize His power and our desperate need for Him."

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  2. I love the way you wrote it.. no condemnation, but yes, we have to press on..and we can't stay in the same pond forever..I love the challenge and gentle push!

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment!

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  3. Thank you for validation, that new life is a process, and enjoying God's grace along the way is part of the wonderful journey!
    http://grandmamarymartha.blogspot.com

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