Thursday, October 6, 2011

31 Days of Spiritual Formation, Day 6

One of the most important facts about spiritual formation is part of the definition we discussed on Day 1: Everyone gets one. Even if you don't know it's happening, your spirit is being formed. Before we go any further, I want to challenge you to believe that formation in Christlikeness is possible.


I was sitting in a Sunday school class one day (a really good class with an excellent teacher, I might add) when I heard a man say something that struck me as very sad. We were talking about being disciples of Jesus Christ, and an older man in the class spoke up. He said, "Of course, we would be wrong if we think we can make any progress while we're here on this earth. We'll never be anything more than horribly sinful creatures, and not until we get to heaven will we see any real change."

Really? We'll never make any progress in becoming Christlike? Is that true?

His comment was ironic, because he is actually a very godly man. He's walked with the Lord for a long time, and even a casual onlooker can see evidence of that. I believe he was thinking about the truth that all people are sinful and are completely reliant on God's grace to save us. That is certainly a fact.

But it IS possible to make progress. It IS possible to become more like Christ. It's possible only--repeat, ONLY--by the grace of God. Our transformation into Christlikeness is the work of God in us. But it can happen, and it's something that God wants to do for us. He invites us to live in His grace and to allow the transformation of our character to take place. By making ourselves apprentices to Jesus, we can become more like Him.

Some people might worry that if we make progress in the spiritual life we might then feel very proud of how much we've advanced. Certainly, becoming prideful is something against which we want to stand. But actually becoming more like Jesus includes being humble, doesn't it?

Will we reach perfection? Absolutely not. If we tried very hard, could we save ourselves? Most definitely not. But can we become more like Jesus? Yes, we can.

That simple fact is important. In order to change, people first must have a vision that change is possible.

I challenge you to let this idea percolate in your brain for awhile today.

"Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen" (II Peter 3:18).


31 Days

6 comments:

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

I think the verse pretty much backs up everything you said today! :)

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

I think the verse pretty much backs up everything you said today! :)

At The Picket Fence said...

Oh, this is such good stuff Richella! I actually read it through twice just to let it soak in. :-) There is so much fear involved in letting God work on us isn't there? We know it will involve change and require a response from us and our (at least mine!) nature is to resist change. There is a reason it is called the "refining fire", huh? :-) Thank you so much for pointing to the only ONE through whom we are able to grow and be refined!
Vanessa

Kim B. said...

I sooo agree! I am blessed to have been raised in a Christian home & have been saved for a long time. That being said, it's easy to become stagnant & not grow as a result. Going to church once a week is good, but it's even BETTER if we take what we learned & APPLY it to our lives throughout the week & our walks with God. THAT in my opinion is where our growth comes from. My church motto is "Live and Love Like Jesus" & I've only recently been truly putting that into practice in my life. What Would Jesus Do is another example of stopping & thinking about what you're going to say or do & if it truly is what Jesus would say & do. GREAT post Richelle!!

Anonymous said...

Yes, we can become more like Christ in this life, right now. Yes, it absolutely requires the power of God. And yes, we will remain horribly sinful creatures--when we compare ourselves to God's perfection. I wonder if this man was expressing the feeling of always falling short of the Glory of God, which becomes more and more apparent the more we grow in Christ. A humble balance.

Leslie said...

God give me grace to be a reflection of you!!!
(This was a great post, Richella!)

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