How Can We Become More Christ-Like?

God said: “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness,” Genesis 1:26 – God’s plan for man was that we would be Christ-like in how we lived on this earth.  To be in God’s image we had to have free moral agency and be able to make decisions.  However, Satan was evicted from Heaven and placed on earth as a result of his sin of rebellion.   Man had a choice between doing as Satan suggested or obeying and living as God had required man to live.  When Adam disobeyed God and was deceived by Satan, he chose to know the difference between good and evil.  His sin caused his God-centered nature to become self-centered, as that of Satan and his angels.  Man was no longer in the image of God.    

God gave laws to instruct man how to live as God had planned.  It did not work.  Man became little different from animals.  People were so selfish that they would do anything that gave them physical pleasure.  This did not come as a surprise to God.  He knew from the very beginning that it would be necessary to send Christ to teach man how to live a holy life.  Once man accepted Christ as His Savior He would be left with God’s Spirit to assist him in living as God had originally planned.    

Living a holy life as God intended requires discipline and preparation.  This probably discourages more converts to Christianity than anything.  If we reject discipline it determines who we become.  If we fail to prepare we will never know the promises of God and how God wants what is best for us.  It takes discipline and preparation to become Christ-like.  Life has shown us we cannot be successful without preparation. 

My friend Doug who played basketball for the New Jersey Nets and Sacramento Kings said many days in his early days of playing he would practice shooting 500 baskets each day.  If you were to shoot 500 baskets everyday for ten years would you be better than if hardly ever shooting?  He had a passion for the game and his goal was to become a pro.  The same must be as a Christian.  We must have a passion to please and serve God.  Without that passion, probably little will change in our lives.  We must also have the discipline to read our Bibles daily and it is necessary to develop a personal relationship by communicating with God daily.  You will never be fed if the only time you worship is during Sunday’s service. 

I Corinthians 9:23 – 27 – “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.  Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.  Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.  No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.  I Peter 1:15 – “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;”

We must have strict training and the discipline to plan time for reading Scripture and praying.  Benjamin Franklin said: “Failure to plan is planning to fail.”  If we fail to become more like God intended, it could affect our health, our finances or relationships. 

Do you have the discipline to organize?  Do you daily make a list of things to do?  Have you determined your purpose in life or have you set goals?  What value do you place on your goals?  Do you have a passion for obtaining those goals you have set? 

The Bible tells us what is good to eat and what we should not eat.  Scripture tells us what to do to have a long, healthy life.  We are told how our financial needs can be met.  We are told what it takes to be successful in life.  We can learn how the Holy Spirit with help us in every phase of life. 

Galatians 5:22 – 23 – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

These are what it takes to become Christ-like.  We are given the Holy Spirit to provide these character traits that we saw in Christ.  We cannot obtain them without the Holy Spirit.  Having these traits will fulfill the intent of the law which was to love God and others as ourselves.  Any person who has the fruits of the Spirit is in perfect harmony with God’s laws.  You can be religious, memorize the Bible but if you do not have love you have nothing.  It is the fruit of the Spirit that changes our self-centered nature to a nature that is Christ-centered.  The more we become like Christ, the more we become like God had planned for Adam and Eve.  The fruit of self-control develops discipline and the desire to prepare to become like Christ. 

I am utterly amazed at the way some Christians live their lives.  They must believe that no matter what they do; immorality can be easily forgiven.  Therefore, anything goes and then I can ask God for forgiveness and everything is o.k.  All sin can be forgiven then what’s wrong with telling lies or cheating? 

 I Thessalonians 4:1 – 8 – “As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more.  For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.  It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before.  For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.  Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.”

 

Living to please God must be every believer’s priority.  God requires each Christian to turn they lives over to Him.  We are to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God.  We are told to become sanctified and holy.  Sanctified means to separate ourselves from the world and give ourselves to God.  We are told to have self-control and prepare ourselves for heaven in the way we live.  The Bible teaches us to let the Holy Spirit take our sinful, self-centered nature, our old habits and behaviors and let them be transformed by renewing our minds so we can emulate the life of Christ. 

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