Friday, May 15, 2009

Daily Digest #287

[Jesus] said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” —Matthew 4:19

Allow me to share 2 old articles from the Purpose Driven Life online.... They they enlighten us, especially those who thirst for wisdom. With God's love and guidance, may we find our purpose in life. Pray always.

Created to Become Like Christ
"God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son … We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him" (Romans 8:29 MSG).

From the very beginning, God’s plan has been to make you like his Son, Jesus. God announced this intention at Creation: “Then God said, ‘Let us make human beings in our image and likeness” (Genesis 1:26 NCV).

In all of creation, only human beings are made “in God’s image.” This is a great privilege and gives us dignity. We don’t know all that this phrase covers, but we do know some of the aspects it includes. Like God, we are spiritual beings—our spirits are immortal and will outlast our earthly bodies. Like God, we are intellectual— we can think, reason, and solve problems. Like God, we are relational—we can give and receive real love. And like God, we have a moral consciousness— we can discern right from wrong, which makes us accountable to God.

The Bible says that all people, not just believers, possess part of the image of God; that is why murder and abortion are wrong (Genesis 6:9, Psalm 139:13-16, James 3:9).

But the image of God within us is incomplete and has been damaged and distorted by sin. So God sent Jesus on a mission to restore the full image that we have lost.

What does the full “image and likeness” of God look like? It looks like Jesus Christ! The Bible says Jesus is “the exact likeness of God,” “the visible image of the invisible God,” and “the exact representation of his being” (2 Corinthians 4:4 NLT, Colossians 1:15 NLT, Hebrews 1:3 NIV).

People often use the phrase “like father, like son” to refer to family resemblance. When people see my likeness in my kids, it pleases me. God wants his children to bear his image and likeness, too. The Bible says, “You were … created to be like God, truly righteous and holy” (Ephesians 4:24 GW).

Becoming Like Jesus Is A Slow Process

“This will continue until we are . . . mature, just as Christ is, and we will be completely like him” (Ephesians 4:13 CEV).

Becoming like Christ is a long, slow process of growth. Spiritual maturity is neither instant nor automatic; it is a gradual, progressive development that will take the rest of your life.

You are a work in progress. Your spiritual transformation in developing the character of Jesus will take the rest of your life, and even then it won’t be completed here on earth. It will only be finished when you get to heaven or when Jesus returns.

At that point, whatever unfinished work on your character is left will be wrapped up. The Bible says that when we are finally able to see Jesus perfectly, we will become perfectly like him: “We can’t even imagine what we will be like when Christ returns. But we do know that when he comes we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is” (1 John 3:2 NLT).

Much confusion in the Christian life comes from ignoring the simple truth that God is far more interested in building your character than he is anything else. We worry when God seems silent on specific issues such as “What career should I choose?”

The truth is, there are many different careers that could be in God’s will for your life. What God cares about most is that whatever you do, you do in a Christlike manner (1 Corinthians 10:31; 1 Corinthians 16:14; Colossians 3:17,23).

God is far more interested in who you are than in what you do. We are human beings, not human doings. God is much more concerned about your character than your career, because you will take your character, not your career, into eternity.

The Bible warns, “Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. . . . Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you” (Romans 12:2 MSG).

You must make a counterculture decision to focus on becoming more like Jesus. Otherwise, other forces like peers, parents, co-workers, and culture will try to mold you into their image.

Sadly, a quick review of many popular Christian books reveals that many believers have abandoned living for God’s great purposes and settled for personal fulfillment and emotional stability. That is narcissism, not discipleship.

Jesus did not die on the cross just so we could live comfortable, well-adjusted lives. His purpose is far deeper: he wants to make us like himself before he takes us to heaven. This is our greatest privilege, our immediate responsibility, and our ultimate destiny.

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