by John Fischer
How do you become like Christ? Interestingly enough, God is more committed to this than we are. And it’s a good thing, because if it all depended on us, we would never get very far in this process. We would probably be too easy on ourselves.
“And I am sure that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on that day when Christ Jesus comes back again.” (Philippians 1:6) He started it; he will finish it.
OK, but how does this happen? One of the ways God does this is by letting the opposite thing happen to you. Do you need to learn how to love? Get ready for someone you can’t stand. Need patience? Better prepare for some aggravations to come your way. Looking for peace? Here’s a little chaos you weren’t expecting. Joy? Did I mention sorrow?
Now why is God like this? Is he some kind of killjoy in the sky? Does he get a kick out of kicking us around? Actually he does this for the very reason that he is the one who starts and finishes the work in us. You see, all these qualities really belong to God. Love, joy, peace, patience are actually fruits of God’s Spirit in those who believe. In other words, he’s provided all these things we need, but we don’t find them until we are desperate for them. It’s just the way we were made.
If we could come up with all these qualities on our own, we wouldn’t need God. We would have rules and formulas and steps to go through to better ourselves. In other words, religion would be enough. As it is, we are deeply flawed. Even our best attempts at producing the right things in our lives come up short. Religion is a fine thing; it’s just that it has never made anyone like Christ. In fact, the more religious we become, the further away from Christ we get. You get to be more like Christ by needing him more and more in your life.
You can’t make the right stuff out of the wrong material. Or as Jesus said, you can’t put new wine in old wineskins. So God allows things into our lives that break the old, to bring in the new. The new is beyond us. We are forced to discover it when we are stretched beyond our means. So God brings the opposite to create in us what we really want. That’s when we grow.