Day Twenty Two of The Purpose Driven Life begins the examination of my third purpose – becoming like Christ. God’s plan for me from the very beginning was for me to become like Christ. The way to achieve Christ-likeness is through the transformation of my character. It is important to note that this does not mean losing my personality! God wants me to develop the kind of character Jesus outlined in the beatitudes and that Paul speaks about in Corinthians in his chapter about love.
It is the job of the Holy Spirit to produce this Christ-like character in me. This lifelong process is known as sanctification and is the third purpose of my life. Much of this process happens through the choices I make. Warren provides several pointers for allowing sanctification to occur:
- I must cooperate with the Holy Spirit’s work. The Bible shows time and again that God waits for me to act first. He will release His power after I take a step of faith and obedience. This is a key to developing my character and is probably the highlight of this chapter for me. It is a very important principle!
- God uses his Word, people and circumstances to mold me. God’s Word provides the truth I need to grow, His people provide the support I need to grow and circumstances provide the environment I need to practice Christlikeness.
- Becoming like Christ is a long, slow process of growth. Spiritual maturity is a long, slow process that will continue my entire life. I will not be fully transformed until I reach heaven. My entire life needs to be dedicated to this process of spiritual transformation.
Warren quotes the Bible twenty five times using seven translations and paraphrases. Generally speaking he uses the Bible with accuracy and within its proper context. As with most chapters he continues to rely heavily on The Message. Rather than continually point out the poor job The Message does of paraphrasing Scripture, I believe I will dedicate an article to this topic at a later time.
Point to Ponder
Today’s point to ponder is “I was created to become like Christ.” This is an interesting statement. If we think back to God’s creation we see that I was “foreordained.” God had already decided to create me and knew who and what I would be long before the earth was created. So when God foreordained that I would be born, He created me to be perfect, rather than become perfect. But since I, as with all humans, have become sinful, I now have to life my life fighting and struggling to become what I was supposed to be from the outset! So is it accurate to say I was foreordained to be like Christ, but created to become like Christ?
Sanctification is the process of becoming holy – of becoming more and more like Christ. It is probably the most frustrating part of the Christian walk. Time and time again I stumble and backslide. Yet with God’s help I am able to see progress. It may be measured in baby steps rather than in huge leaps forward, but it is happening. It sometimes seems, though, that the more I grow in my faith and the more I learn, the more areas I see in which I fall short. Perhaps ignorance in bliss! No, bliss is allowing the Spirit to do His work in and through me and giving thanks to Him for whatever progress I see. Bliss is looking forward to the completion of that work!
Tomorrow’s topic is How We Grow