In contrast to this kind of self-indulgence, Paul in Romans 8:29 calls us to Christlikeness: “God knew His people in advance, and He chose them to become like His Son (KJV: “conformed to the image”), so that His Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” [See Christ’s prayer in John 17:23!]
Romans 12:1,2 invites and challenges us today: “Dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him.
2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” [See Hebrews 6:1 – KJV “perfection” & NLT2 “maturity.”]
The iLumina LAB CD-Rom Study Bible resource says: “Christians are followers of Jesus Christ. To be a follower of someone is to pattern your life after him or her. Christ is the ultimate example of how to live a life that is pleasing to God.
“If we pattern our lives after Him, we will please God. Not only that, we will find ourselves accepted into His eternal kingdom.”
[Question: Is it not the stated (or assumed) goal of a vast majority of our contemporaries that someday, somehow (Caution: we do not want to be known as a “radical religious nut” and live like Christ here!), we all want to make it to that better place called “heaven”?
Matthew 7:13,14 warns, in the words of a southern spiritual, that ‘everybody talks about heaven ain’t a-goin’ there!’ The truth according to God’s Word is they should NOT even expect or hope “to walk all over God’s heaven!”
Think about this fact: If a person who avoided, ignored, or even detested being in Church or be in a Bible Study and Prayer group of friends on here on earth with “the saints that we know” --- would it not follow that “HEAVEN” would be more like “HELL” to them?
Our study question today is...
ILumina: “To be like Christ is our goal. We want to think His thoughts, show His attitudes, live as He would live here on earth today. It is an awesome goal, and since we are not perfect, that goal seems unattainable.
“The key is that we are not Christ, but can only hope to be like Him. While we cannot achieve perfection, Christ Himself does promise to give us the power for living effectively for Him.”
The truth is that He lovingly invites us to: “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, (NKJV: “Learn of Me.) because I am humble and gentle at heart,… 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”.”
iLumina: “By ourselves we cannot hope to live like Christ, for we are not capable of it. But controlled by the Spirit of Christ in us, we can!”
Philippians 1:6 ~ “I am certain that God, Who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”
Ephesians 4:14-16 ~ “We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, Who is the head of His body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing.”
iLumina: “We become more like Christ by carefully studying how he lived and loved. Then we invite him to work his powerful love through us.”
Ilumina: “We show them Christ by treating them with Christ’s love.”
Matthew 5:44, 45, 48 ~ “Love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you In that way you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. … 48You are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.!” (See Matthew 5:10-12; Luke 6:28)
Galatians 5:22-23 ~ When our lives are indwelled and controlled by the Holy Spirit: “The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!”
2 Peter 1:6-7 NLT96 ~ “Knowing God leads to self-control. Self-control leads to patient endurance, and patient endurance leads to godliness. Godliness leads to love [brotherly affection] for other Christians, and finally you will grow to have genuine love for everyone.”
iLumina: “When Christ lives in us and through us, we can show Christlikeness to others. Actually, we can’t do it --- Christ does.”
1 Peter 3:1-2 ~ “In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News. Your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over by observing your pure and reverent lives.” [NLT96: “…watching your pure, godly behavior.”]
iLumina: “How you model your faith in Christ will have an incredible influence upon your children, as well as future generations.”