The Bible says “Take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside & working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you”.
In all of creation, only human beings were made “in God’s image”. This is a great privilege & gives us dignity. Like God, we are spiritual beings—our spirits are immortal & will outlast our earthly bodies; we are intellectual, relational, we have a moral consciousness, which makes us accountable to God.
God doesn’t want us to become a god; he wants us to become godly—taking on his values, attitude & character. God’s ultimate goal for our life on earth is not comfort, but character development.
-God’s spirit working in you. The process of changing us to be more like Jesus is called sanctification, & is the 3rd purpose of our life on earth. Christlikeness isn’t produced by imitation, but by inhabitation. We allow Christ to live through us. “For this is the secret: Christ lives in you”.
How does this happen in real life? Through our choices. We trust God’s spirit to give us his power, love, faith, & wisdom—these things are always available to us, since God’s spirit lives inside of us.
-We must cooperate with the Holy Spirit’s work. The Holy Spirit releases his power the moment we take a step of faith. God waits for us to act first. Let us move ahead in our weakness, doing the right thing in spite of our fears & feelings—this is how our character develops. For our spiritual growth, Warren tells us we first must let go of old ways of acting; then we must change the way we think—we change spiritually when we allow God to direct our thoughts; then we put on the character of Christ by developing new, godly habits.
-God uses his Word, people, & circumstances to mold us. The Word provides the truth needed to grow, God’s people provide the support & circumstances provide the environment we need to practice Christlikeness. Bible study & prayer alone, isolation in monasteries isn’t the road to spiritual maturity. We cannot grow in Christlikeness in isolation—we must be a part of a church & community. True spiritual maturity is learning to love like Jesus, & we can’t practice being like Jesus w/o being in relationship with other people. It’s all about loving God & loving others.
-Becoming like Christ is a long, slow process of growth. We are a work in progress. Our spiritual transformation in developing the character of Jesus will take the rest of our lives. God is far more interested in what we are than in what we do.
The Bible warns: “Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without 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.” Warren directs us: We must make a counter-culture decision to focus on becoming more like Jesus. Many believers have abandoned God’s purposes for our lives & settled for personal fulfillment & emotional stability. Warren warns this is narcissism, not discipleship. Our purpose is far deeper: Jesus wants to make us like himself before he takes us to heaven. This is our greatest privilege, our immediate responsibility, our ultimate destiny.
Question to Consider: In what area of my life do I need to ask for the Spirit’s power to be like Christ today?
“Christ lives in me” is the overwhelming thought in my head & my heart today, from this chapter. I instill that phrase within me, and that guides my every action & my relationships with others. I will come to that phrase when I feel our everyday world pulling me away. That is the power of the Holy Spirit for me.
* We will be writing about what inspires us from each consecutive chapter of Warren’s Purpose Driven Life. If you read along with us, please share your inspirations. There’s no need to catch up, just jump right in.