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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Becoming Like Christ

There is not doubt I have a long way to go to be the person and mom I want to be. Instead of walking about with my own agenda, easily tripped up when minor or major infractions occur, I want to smile at every mistake and lovingly proclaim, “It’s okay darling, I’ve made many mistakes, too.” When I see others, I desire to listen to the Holy Spirit’s leading about how I can bless them, with no thought of myself. I want to pray for everyone I see or think of. I so want to be like Christ. I long for the truth that, "I no longer live, but Christ lives in me" to be evident and lived out in my reality.

Yet as I struggle with the person I am versus the person I want to be, I realize that God has done so much work in me already. Though I am not what I will one day be, I am so thankful that I am not what I was a few years ago.

Nearly all the positive changes that have happened in me are a result of the challenges, difficulties, sad situations, and troubled relationships where I or someone else failed. Metamorphosis has occurred through painful circumstances and the trials the Lord has allowed, from cancer to misspoken words.
 
God’s faithfulness in transforming me through these trials has enabled me to say with the confidence of Paul that, "He who began a good work in me will, indeed, bring it to completion." And this promise gives me faith to believe that I will, with certainty, be more consistently Christlike with each passing year. For it is His purpose and will for me. In fact, He predestined me to be conformed to the image of His Son! Now, we can’t get any more sure than that. I am predestined and marked out to be like Jesus! And I know that one day in heaven, I will be suddenly like Him. But this verse says it will be a conforming work in this lifetime. Peter tells us we are constantly being changed from glory to glory here on earth.

Cherishing these truths keeps me from becoming discouraged about how weak and unlike Him I am today. For when I lose my patience or become discouraged or self focused, I can remember I am yet, still, moving forward in Christ. Though I fail today, I can be certain, by faith alone, that He is using it all to make me more like Him.

As Paul exclaims in Galatians 3:3, “Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” I was saved by believing God. His Spirit saved me; I could not save myself. Now I must remember that it's not up to me to make myself more Christlike. No amount of trying, working, rule keeping, or perfectly following a "believer’s checklist" will accomplish this spiritual work. Believing saved me, and believing will sanctify me.  

What a relief to my soul to know I don’t have to try to become like Jesus. I must simply maintain the faith to believe that I will. If I focus on myself and how far I have to go, my faith waivers and I'm left idling until I pick back up my shield of faith. Paul tells us in Hebrews 3:14, “For we are made partakers of Christ [His nature], if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end.” What a joy to know I will be like Him because He is making it so. I can smile at every mistake and continue loving others with the wellspring of living water that flows from within me.


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