Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Purpose Driven Life - Day 22

Day 22 - Created To Become Like Christ

Let us begin by saying that this purpose does not imply that you will become a god. You will never be a god. Becoming like Christ means to live in a godly way by honoring the way in which Christ lived in His time on earth. 

This also does not suggest that you will lose who you are right now - or become a religious nut - but rather, your true self will be enhanced. You will be as God intended you to be. 

One of my favorite Pastor Rick quotes in this chapter is when he speaks about God not caring what your career is. If you are good at something and enjoy doing it - that is probably what your career should be. But in the end it does not really matter to God, your character is what matters as that is what you bring with you when you move into eternal life. "We are human beings - not human doings."  I LOVE That!!

Many believe that our time here on earth should be one of comfort and luxury.  This in fact is not the truth at all.  While we are here, our primary goal is to develop our character. This takes a lifetime and will actually never be fully completed in our lifetime. But it will spiritually mature us before we reach eternal life. At which point what is left undone will be completed. 

God intends that we live a life of growth. How do we do this? Through tests; troubles, temptations and trespasses. Each is a tool God uses to build our character, and character is the only thing we bring with us into the Kingdom of God. We achieve this by following the example set by Jesus. 

The troubles we encounter in life are tests from God, which are designed to help our spiritual growth. In fact the more spiritually mature you become, the greater the tests will be. We must remember how Jesus was tested and the troubles He had to overcome in His lifetime and use that as a compass as we navigate our own lives. 

Temptations do not come from God - they actually are the Devil's work - but God allows them to test our faith. Jesus was subject to temptation following His baptism ... He was led into the desert to wander for 40 days and was tempted several times. Jesus held steadfast to His faith and said:  "Get out of here, Satan’ Jesus told him ‘The Scriptures say, Worship only the Lord God.  Obey only Him.”  Matt. 4:10 (LB)

Trespasses are what we do to one another. When someone hurts you - intentionally or not ... they have trespassed against you, and God commands that you must forgive that person. "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."

Paul explains in Ephesians 4:22-24 our three responsibilities in becoming like Christ. First, we must chose to let go of the old ways of acting. "Everything connected with that old way of life has to go. It's rotten through and through. Get rid of it!"  Second, we must change the way we think. "Let the Spirit change your way of thinking."  Third, we must "put on" the character of Christ by developing new, godly habits. Your character is essentially the sum of your habits; it is how you habitually act. 

The Holy Spirit is working within each of us to shape and mold our character, but ultimately it is up to us, whether we choose to do what is right instead of doing what we know is wrong. We must choose to live a life exampled like Jesus, this is not always the fun choice, and often is the more difficult choice, but in our spirit we know it is the only choice if we want to live a godly life.

“From the very beginning God decided that those who came to   Him – and He knew who would – should become like His Son...”  Rom. 8:29 (LB)