God wants me transformed into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. That brings glory to God. I can’t do it myself and that means I must rely on God’s Spirit to change me. This is a transformation that others see on the outside because I have been born again on the inside.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:1-2
God has not left us in the dark, wondering what our transformation should do for us. Christ is our perfect example, our standard of perfection.
With the struggles, temptations and failures we face each day, we often wonder if we’ll ever get closer to the Lord. Paul asked the same questions.
“For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that I do.” Romans 7:15
“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.” Romans 7:18-19
Each day is a struggle for every Christian. It’s far from a simple fight and there are many losses along the way but that doesn’t mean we quit fighting. It basically comes down to who we surrender to. Spiritual men continue fighting the battles with the goal of becoming more Christlike as a result of facing them.
The goal is not perfection in the sense of God’s perfection but it is perfection in the sense of maturity. He that is spiritual wants to be like Jesus in spiritual character by developing into spiritual maturity. There’s no arrival date since it remains an ongoing process that lasts a lifetime. More than we become mature Christians, we remain maturing Christians.
Christ makes it possible for us to mature throughout our lives. No, we can’t do it on our own.
“…every man perfect (mature) in Christ Jesus.” Colossians 1:28
“…unto a perfect (mature) man…in the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:13
“…let us go on unto perfection (maturity).” Hebrews 6:1
While God is perfect in an absolute sense, we find ourselves perfect only in the sense that we can reach the proper height of virtue and integrity.
“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:48
I see this as the goal for every concerned Christian. Still, many Christians live with frustration feeling maturity slip from the grasp as they fail in their Christian walk. Are they expecting too much? Or do they think this comes without any effort?
Perhaps they seek the same sinless perfection Christ has. That will come some day because we are all as God’s children predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son. It hasn’t happened yet, though. As long as we remain in this present body of flesh and bone, we are in the process of being conformed or transformed. Be patient, God is not finished with us yet. Is this part of the mystery spoken of in 1 Corinthians 15:51-54?
In the meantime, let us continue to obey the Word, walk in the Father’s will, and set spiritual maturity as a goal for our lives.
Jesus Gave Us An Example
Christian possess the fullness of life in God, making it possible for them to enjoy all the spiritual blessings in Christ. Christ’s life is seen in the life of each believer. Or at least it should be.
“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him. Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding with thanksgiving.” Colossians 2:6-7
However, it seems the believer can’t enjoy those blessings until he or she learns to put off the Old Man (Adamic Nature) and walk in the Spirit of God. At least, that’s what Paul told the church members at Ephesus in Ephesians 4:22
“That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.”
“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16
Each believer is also promised the abundant life, but not in the sense of prosperity theology. Already complete in Christ, we now have no excuse to not move forward in a spiritual sense. This blessing is ours if we’ll just accept it.
The active presence of God’s Holy Spirit must be found in the believer’s life if a spiritual walk exists. However, there’s more to it than that!
We are really talking about two different things. It is one thing for God’s Spirit to be present but another thing for us to yield to the ministry of God’s Spirit.
“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Galatians 5:25
This is how we become pictures of Christ, living epistles read by those around us, and it is how we live the abundant life before others. It is the first step of what others perceive as a transformed life.