One of the ways Satan discourages Christians is by getting them to change their agenda. The believer’s primary agenda is to know Christ, and to be like Him. The greatest desire of the apostle Paul was to know Jesus, “and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death” (Phil. 3:10).
The practical problem is how to be conformed into the image of Christ, and not be conformed to the world. The gospel appeal goes forth. “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. 2 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” (Rom. 12:1-2).
A traditional, and correct answer, is that the way to avoid being pressed into the mold of the world is to know the Word of God by hiding it in the heart. The Psalmist said, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psa. 119:11). Of course, if a person does not know the Word of God, it does not matter what a person believes about Scripture.
Every Christian should know the Word of God. The Christian must know not only what a person is saved from, the power and pollution of sin, but also what we are saved to. We are saved to glorify God. This cannot be done through a lifestyle of sin. “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Cor. 6:20).
The Christian is to bring glory to God by what is done in the body, and by the spirit every act of life is performed. When this happens, the Holy Spirit bears witness that we really are a child of God. “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Rom. 8:16).
While the Christian does not know all that he shall be, we know now, we are the children of God. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). The promise of God is not only that our souls will go to heaven when we die. The promise of God is that we shall be like Christ.
In the journey in grace, remember the promises of God. God is a promise making, and promise keeping God. God made promises to Abraham. God promised Abraham a land, a seed, and a spiritual blessing. “Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: 2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Gen. 12:1-3).
The most important part of the Abrahamic Covenant, is that God promised to be God to Abraham, and to His descendants. The greatest promises given to the Christian, is that God will be their God who will conform us into the image of Christ.
The practical problem, is that some people do not want to be made like Jesus. Dr. R. C. Sproul wrote a trilogy of books. The first, The Holiness of God, did very well. The second book, The Mystery of the Holy Spirit, did well. The third work, Who is Jesus?, did not sell well at all. When Dr. Sproul asked the publisher why, he was told, “Dr. Sproul, Jesus does not do well among Christians.”
While some professing Christians might not want to be like Jesus, many others do want to be like Jesus, such as Thomas O. Chisholm, who was born in Franklin, Kentucky in 1866. Converted to Christ at the age of 26, Chisholm became a business manager, religious editor of the “Pentecostal Hearld”, and eventually minister. A gifted musician, Chisholm wrote a heartfelt hymn that has blessed many throughout the world who long to be more like Jesus.
“O to be like Thee! Blessed Redeemer;
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
O to be like Thee! O to be like Thee!
Blessed Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
O to be like Thee! Full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wand’ring sinners to find.
O to be like Thee! Lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer, others to save.
O to be like Thee! Lord, I am coming,
Now to receive th’ anointing divine;
All that I am and have I am bringing;
Lord, from this moment all shall be Thine.
O to be like Thee! While I am pleading
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love.
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit for a life which Thou wouldst approve.”
The promise of God, is that every Christian shall be like Jesus. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). It is enough.