Our highest goal, as followers of Christ, is that Jesus receives the glory He deserves! (Psalm 108:5-6) We bring glory to our Father in heaven by reflecting His likeness on earth. (Romans 8:18-30)
“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” (Romans 8:29-30)
How is it possible to be like Jesus? Christ’s righteousness is freely given to us by grace but it has to be received. The example and power to be Christ-like is available to all but it has to be lived. “Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” (2 Peter 2:2-3)
Christ’s likeness is received by absorption as we spend extensive time with Him, and gradually surrender to Jesus’ rule in every part of ourselves. God enables us to love Him with all our heart and with all our understanding and with all our strength, and to love our neighbours as ourselves. (Mark 12:33)
Have you met people who carry the humble graciousness of God’s character; the glow and fragrance of Christ-likeness; the power and authority of Jesus? They are the ones being made whole, mature and complete in Christ. Invariably, they are the ones who spend hours each day in God’s presence – utterly available to trust and obey His will. “One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.” (Psalm 27:4) As Moses discovered, intimate conversing with our God is at the core of what it is to journey with God’s presence. (Exodus 33:1-12) The God of the universe, who knows you by name and loves you, is waiting to speak with you. Hear what Jesus has said to those who have been waiting on Him – Noel & Barbara Bell (2016) Only One Thing: Spending Time Sitting at the Feet of Jesus.
We can spend hours in ‘prayer’ but miss relational engagement with the living God – the Only One worthy of our adoration and focus. We can unwittingly slip into idolatry when we give our attention and thus power to another. If our prayer life is dull, lacking power or heart engagement – it’s likely we’ve become slave to religious form – a poor counterfeit for the freedom of personal relationship with God. (2 Corinthians 3:15-16) If our prayer is focussed on our needs, perspective and ideas – we become self-serving. (Jude 1:3-5) If our prayer is focussed on sin, evil and condemnation we become heavily burdened. If our focus is on the work of the ministry – we become dry and very, very busy. Why do we waste our time and effort trying to do things our way? Our ideas, effort are worthless. We cannot build His house! We can only meet Him there. We cannot carry the gospel unless we are living it. Our words are empty of conviction unless the power of Christ is in us.
We become like Jesus as we behold Him. “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:17-18)
Christ-likeness is released as we seek God in order to know Him. Only then can we truly worship Him. Christ-likeness is evident when we inquire after our Father’s will and do nothing else. Christ-likeness grows as we rely on the sweet presence of the Holy Spirit who quickens us with awe, clarity, and power and authority. A life lived in the Spirit of Christ enables us to reflect the fruit of the Spirit – the character of God. (Galatians 5:22-25).
Christ is in us to reveal who Jesus is on earth. The world may reject Christ in us – but when we, His church, are radiant with His likeness, they will have the opportunity to see Jesus as He is and receive Christ as their Saviour. “I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great… are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.” (Colossians 1:25-29)
The 40 Days of Prayer & Worship Relay 1 March-9 April 2017 is an opportunity to establish sustainable patterns of time set apart with in God’s presence – ministering to Him the worship He is worthy of and becoming His Presence Carriers. We will read through the Book of Acts – and be inspired by these followers of Jesus who encountered Jesus and became Carriers of His Presence – His Word – transforming the world. Register at www.40daysofprayer.org.au
Two Simple Powerful Local Prayer Strategies offers ways you can be part of continuous ongoing day and night prayer and worship in your neighbourhood and region. http://partnersinprayer.org.au/neighbourhood-prayer-strategy/
Why have I highlighted the names of God in this article? It is as an act of worship – to make God the focus of each sentence. Be distracted by Him! Fix your eyes on Him! 🙂