Saturday, August 6, 2011

Pre-destined: to be like Christ!

With only an earthly perspective, Jesus life is not one of victory. His public career lasted only three years and ended with an unjust death in the prime of life. Obviously, the earthly perspective is woefully inadequate! The eternal perspective reveals Christ’s life as one of total victory. Christ brought to completion the Father’s plan implemented at Creation! Christ’s life is an example for all who wish to live victoriously. Deliberately seeking God will transform us into His image.

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:18

Examining Christ’s character as revealed in scripture helps us see the goal God has for each of us. Character is a critical aspect of each individual. It bears stating that character exists outside of Christ. Human character, even at its most beautiful and powerful, is bound to earthly dimensions. Christ-like character transcends time and space; it is the essence of eternal victory.

The world in which we live encourages us to indulge ourselves with little thought to our inner character. Pleasing ‘self’ is a constant temptation. Unfortunately, a soil of pleasure never develops Christian character. Furthermore, neither church pews nor bible studies produce the character God desires. Christ-like character requires the work of the Holy Spirit and personal sacrifice. God’s Word also tells us that perseverance develops character. As we trace the source of perseverance, our hearts will tremble—for the source of perseverance is suffering. Pressing on in the face of discomfort is critical to character. Thankfully, for the Christian, suffering can be a source of joy BECAUSE the hope of God is a certainty that sustains. Just as the changeless nature of God is a rock-solid foundation, so our transformation is a glorious promise.

The entry point to transformation into Christ-likeness is repentance. Jesus said that He came to call us to repentance: to exercise a change of mind--a turning from personal motivations to His revealed truth. Undoubtedly, this is a most unnatural characteristic. In fact, repentance is actually a gift much like faith. Repentance is not simply recognizing sin or regret for the results of sin. A Spirit of Repentance recognizes that the choice to walk apart from God's revealed truth is the underlying problem. Repentance recognizes that God's ways are not situational or conditional; His truth has an integrity that makes His ways work ALL the time. Repentance propels us back to His ways and prepares us for transformation into the image of Christ.

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