Sunday, June 22, 2014

On Being Christ-like

By Rick Blumenberg / @rickblumenberg
The goal of most Christ-followers is to become like Jesus. In reality we cannot “become” like Jesus by our own efforts, we must be “made” like Jesus—a work only God can accomplish. But God only does it with our cooperation and with the full Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—fully involved.
Now the fact that God only does it with our cooperation doesn’t mean that until we cooperate there is nothing God can do but wait for us to act, or to open ourselves to the guidance and/or direction of God. The Bible (Rev. 13:8) speaks of “the lamb that was slain from the creation of the world”. This tells us God planned our salvation before the first human was created.
So before human creation, God, through his Son Jesus Christ made provision for our redemption. God knows how difficult earthly life can be; a place where we battle with Satan to avoid his dominion in our lives and over our world. God knows we are not adequate for such a life in our own limited strength. But He also knows Christ can make us more than adequate by defeating sin and death and hell through His life, death and resurrection.
The next step in this amazing process is the work of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said in John 16:7 (vv. 5-15 for context) “It is better for you that I go away” because “I will send him [the Comforter] to you”. Later in that same passage, he said, when “…the Spirit of truth comes he will guide you into all truth.” (v. 13) So for us to become Christ-like people we need to cooperate with the Spirit of God so he can work freely in our lives. Jesus also said (John 16:15) “All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.” This helps us understand that the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, is the Spirit of the Father and the Son. Not two Spirits, but One. So when we speak of God, that word encompasses the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit who while being revealed to us as three persons in the God-head or Trinity, is only one God.
At the top of this post you see one of my views of Tanner Creek, the stream that runs past our house and from which I chose a title for my blog. When I look at the creek through the culvert under our driveway it reminds me of looking at life through the eyes of God’s Spirit. When we do that the Spirit makes life become progressively more vibrant and more alive in Christ.
The primary work of the Holy Spirit is here on earth. He is Helper, Comforter, and the Spirit of Truth who guides us into all truth. These are only three descriptions that so inadequately portray God’s Spirit. There are many more excellent words, but even all together there are never enough words to fully describe him. Understand, however, that the primary work of God’s Spirit is to glorify God by making we who are human progressively more like Jesus. The glory of a human being is to be like Jesus. This is a work of God in us. As long as we give full cooperation, God’s Spirit will continue to work in us to make us more and more Christ-like so we can bless the world around us with the Spirit and person of Christ. What an awesome privilege we are given—to live as a temple for the Living God.

I’m Rick Blumenberg and that’s My View from Tanner Creek.
     

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