CONFORMING TO HIS IMAGE
“I want to be a better person”…sound familiar? perhaps you can relate to this statement, maybe you’re currently seeking in some way or the other to become a better person. One of the great messages of our culture is this idea of finding one’s self and becoming the best you can be. You see, there is nothing wrong with wanting to become a better person, but could it be that we are looking to ourselves to become better people? Or could it be that we have become more self-absorbed than Christ centered?
I can remember when the Lord challenged my heart concerning my desire to be a better employee, a better youth worker, a better husband. It wasn’t that these desires were wrong or ungodly, but the Lord encouraged me to make Him my number one desire. I began to ask the Father, through the power of the Holy Spirit to make me more like His Son, Jesus Christ. In seeking to imitate Christ and conforming to His image will impact our entire lives, who we are and what we do.
“If you have been raised with Christ, seek the things which are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God”. (Colossians 3:1)
In the scripture above we hear Paul addressing the Colossian Church. This suggest two things, firstly, the fact that the believer has been raised with Christ presupposes that a death has taken place. When Christ saved us, we died, died to self, died to sin, died to this world and have been raised to a new life in Christ. You cannot follow Jesus, nor conform to His image whilst being governed by self, self has no room within the Christian life. As Christian’s we are called to imitate Christ daily, which means we must deny ourselves on a daily basis. The following scriptures in the New Testament both highlight this need.
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me”. (Galatians 2:20)
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me”. (Luke 9:23)
Secondly, Colossians 3:1 encourages us to seek those things which are above, where Christ is seated. Our culture suggests that the solutions to our problems are found within ourselves, but in the Gospel of Christ we find that our solution comes from outside of us, it comes from above. John tells us that God loved the world so much that He gave His only begotten Son to die for our sins (John 3:16). Our solution, Jesus Christ came from Heaven to earth, lived for us, died for us, was buried and on the third day rose from the grave and is now seated at the right hand of God. Paul uses this language to show the supremacy of Christ over sin, Satan and even death itself.
In our pursuit of conforming to the image of Christ we must look to Christ who is all sufficient, not to ourselves. In practical terms this involves us spending time with Him. The more I live in communion with Jesus, the more will I become like Him. The more I think about Jesus and meditate on His teachings, the more my outlook will become like His. Christ is supreme over all things, this must become a reality in our own lives and in the way we live. The fact that Christ is supreme over all things means that He is more than able to help us overcome whatever it is that seeks to hold us back.
Killing sin in our lives is essential to our sanctification in terms of us becoming more like Jesus, we can’t expect to look more like Him if we are not killing sin. Paul said in Romans 13:14 that we should put on the Lord Jesus Christ and in doing so we are taking on His character and are able to represent Him well. But the text doesn’t stop there, Paul goes on to say that we should make no provision for the flesh in any way, since this hinders us from conforming to Christ’s image and ruins our witness.
Contrary to popular belief, the primary goal of the Christian life isn’t to become the best version of yourself, the goal is to be conformed to the image of Christ. Christ is not after behavioral modification, He wants heart transformation and only He can bring real change to on the inside. He is after our hearts because it’s from here where everything that we do flows.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how gifted you are, or how much you’ve done in the name of Christ, the real question is, does Jesus have your heart? Remember the greatest commandment (Matthew 22:36-39). Conforming to the image of Christ isn’t based upon how much we might be able to operate in spiritual gifts but rather in the Love we have for God and people. The result of loving God is obedience, Jesus loved His Father and displayed this through His obedience and unconditional love for others. Paul states in Ephesians 5:1-2 that we should be imitators of Christ by walking in love as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us. When Jesus has our hearts, He gives us His in return.
How much of Christ is being displayed in your life today? Are our lives more about projecting ourselves or projecting Christ? Are we self-absorbed or Christ absorbed? As we reflect may we once again be reminded of the call of Jesus to deny ourselves, pick up our cross and follow Him daily. May those around you see Jesus within you as you live for Him, and be His witness wherever He may call you.