Growing More Like Christ

366927039_0a227467f4_zMiscommunication problems exist. It’s usually the number one issue in relationships at work and home. What’s that mean to a follower of Jesus? We represent Jesus as an ambassador represents their country. An ambassador’s actions show a good or poor image of his country to those he’s around.

How Can Anyone Be Good Enough to Represent Jesus?

Well, God is handling that actually. He equips us in many ways. One of them is the restoration process, sanctification.

I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to this world any more than I do. Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. Just as you sent me into the world; I am sending them into the world.” John 17: 15-18

“Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6: 11

What Is Sanctification?

Practically defined, it’s the Holy Spirit’s ongoing work to make us more like Christ from the inside out. This makes it easier to reflect Jesus to others over time. Paul goes in-depth about it in Romans 6-8.

“We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.” Romans 6: 7-8

“Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.” Romans 6: 12-14

Dead To The Old Nature, Alive In The New

Our sinful natures were crucified with Christ, so we’re free from giving into our sinful desires. Now we images-2can become workers in the Kingdom, no longer condemned by the moral law. Jesus took the punishment that was due to us on the cross.

“And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.
I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart.

But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.” Romans 7: 18-25

What Christian Freedom Really Means

We now serve in the Spirit, and evidence of that is the Fruits of the Spirit that Paul wrote about in Galatians 5. They are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Yet we still have a fight inside between what we want and what God wants. We gave in more often than not.

So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.” Romans 8: 1-2

“Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.” Romans 8:5

“Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.
So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.” Romans 8: 12-17

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8: 28
“What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” Romans 8: 31

“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8: 35; 37-39

gk-chesterson3We are no longer condemned, and now start to look towards God’s will instead of our own. The Spirit leads us, and the Holy Spirit testifies that we can call the Creator of the Universe, father. We are Christ’s brothers and sisters through adoption, which makes God our dad. No one can beat up our dad, and He works for the good of His kids according to His purpose.

Our Lives Are To Be A Reflection of Jesus To The World

This ongoing work distinguishes us from the world. When others see us as unchanged, they wonder what’s so great about being a Christian. I know for myself if I don’t get any quiet time with God for a couple of days then my abrasive, impatient personality traits resurface.

None of us will be exactly like Jesus, He didn’t sin, and we still do. Which is something others will gladly point out. If it’s something from before we were saved, then we can make it an opportunity for our testimony. If it’s a current mistake then we repent, learn from it, and press on in reclaiming God’s reputation in the world.

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