Welcome to 2023. May you continue to become more like Christ this year. My goal is to do just that. To continue to be transformed and more like Christ in my every thought and action. Over the last couple of days, l’ve listened to several sermons from a variety of pastors. The central theme conveys what I have termed application season. See previous Application Season posts on this site and youngchristianwarrior.com
Learning to become more like Christ and then applying what we learned results in becoming more Christlike. The goal is not to choose what traits fit your needs and desires as our own, but to morph into His character as much as humanly possible. When we invite Christ into our life, the Holy Spirit takes residence in our being and the characteristics of Christ replace our own selfish traits. “ the Spirit’s moment-by-moment infusion of power allows a believer to live a transformed life – to obey God, out of love and gratitude for his abounding grace…The Holy Spirit’s presence and power reveal God’s personal love, in incredibly tangible ways.” (Kingdom Divided. BSF. Page 210) This is the basis by which we are all given life.
Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT), declares that we should produce the same fruit as the Holy Spirit. Before we can produce them, we must learn how to apply them in our walk. These fruit can be referred to as character traits. Christ represents love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control. He is all of these things yesterday, today, and forever.
Application is difficult, our human nature often obstructs our growth. My pastor explained his experience this way. He was leaving the grocery store and there was a woman holding a sign which read I am hungry, any help is appreciated. He like so many, turned his head to look away. We often do the same telling ourselves, this person is a scammer, they are not hungry, why don’t they get a job. But that is not what God expects of us. In fact as in the case of my pastor the Lord admonished him saying, how dare you turn and and in a few hours preach on just this subject. Well, the Lord may not admonish us in the same way but the guilt speaks for itself.
We should not judge others anymore than we want to be judged by others. God placed that person in your line of sight, observing their condition tugged on your heart strings and you felt guilty. Why? As Christians we are taught to become more like Christ everyday. Christ did not turn from the poor or needy. He addressed their needs.
Deuteronomy 15:11, clearly directs us to help the poor, “Give generously to the poor, not grudgingly, for the Lord your God will bless you in everything you do. There will always be some in the land who are poor. That is why I am commanding you to share freely with the poor,” (whoever they may be). This is another example of being like Christ. What happens when a coworker or intern does not meet your expectation? Are you patient with them? This is another characteristic that often gets way from us. Christ is patient with all of us everyday, 24 hours a day, He knows we all fall short of the glory of God, but He is patient with us regardless of our behavior, see Romans 3:23, NIV proclaims, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” This scripture refers to sin, and yes, sin is any act that does not align with the Word of God.
The Bible instructs us how we act and who we belong to. These two articles of faith should inform how we act. They stress that Christ’s nature is the only acceptable nature in the eye of God. So, let’s look at two situations that occur in most of our lives. How do we initiate interaction, and how do we respond to situations?
When you awake in the morning, do you get up and greet those in your home or wait until you are ready to leave for work, school or meeting friends? When you are on the way to work do you smile at passerby’s or say good morning? What do people see and near as you head into your office building? Are you genuinely pleasant? Do they see Christ in you, or a self centered curmudgeon? Being pleasant, treating people with the love of Christ quickens your continence as well as those around you, and it address three of the characteristics of Christ: love for others, kindness towards others, and gentleness to the world around you.
What small things can you think of that will change your life and those around you this year? Will others see Christ in you? Often your actions are the only thing they will see of our faith which may be foreign to them. Do they see Christ in you?
Important note, when we take on the characteristics of Christ it is not a salvation exercise. We cannot earn our salvation. Salvation cannot be achieved through works. Taking on the characteristics of Christ is our responsibility that we accepted when we received Christ as our Lord and Savior. Responsibility is defined as, the state of being answerable, or accountable for something within one’s power, control, or management. (Dictionary.com) When we accept Christ, we become more like Him. When we become more like Him, we become accountable because acquiring His character traits, and acknowledging that He resides in us in the form of the Holy Spirit empowers us to control our actions, to harness our human frailties, to eliminate sinning before it occurs, and most importantly to love everyone as Christ loves us.
Supporting Scriptures, Bible.com
“Let all that you do be done in love.” 1 Corinthians 16: 14
“Love is patient and kind; Love does not envy or boast; It is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; It does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes in all things, hopes all things, endures in all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”
1 Peter 4: 8
In essence, all that we do should be ensconced in love. Love is at the heart of everything Christ did, does, and will do. He exudes love and so should we. This is my project for 2023. Will you join me this year is becoming more like Christ?
Bible Verses – Bible.com