How serious are you about growing and changing into the image of Jesus Christ? Paul tells us that God predestined us to be “conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29) and there are multiple passages where we are commanded to be like Jesus in some way (Phil. 2:5, 1 Peter 2:21, 1 John 2:6, Eph. 5:25). So, becoming like Jesus is obviously important to God, but is it important to you? If it is, what serious steps are you taking to grow in this way? Bible study, prayer, and church attendance may be the first things that come to your mind, and those things are integral in this process, but let me suggest something else as well: when was the last time you invited correction into your life from another member of the family of God? When was the last time you asked another brother or sister, “What do you see in my life that is inconsistent with the character of Jesus?” It may be that it’s been a long time since you’ve done this or it may be that you’ve never done this, and that simply should not be the case… for you and for me.
We are told in Hebrews 3:13, “But exhort one another everyday… that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin”, and in Matthew 18:15, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault”. It is clear from these texts that we need to be a people who are helping each other grow by actively going to one another with exhortation and correction, but let’s admit it, that doesn’t happen like it should. We fear the awkwardness and discomfort of correcting someone or even giving someone a charge to do better, so we often neglect these commands. This is a crying shame because I have seen life-altering change take place in my life and the lives of others due to God sending a wake-up call via another believer who wasn’t afraid to say, “Jesus loves you, now get your act together.”
Because this kind of personal exhortation doesn’t happen enough, we need to be proactive. We should be people who are so serious about becoming like Jesus that we actively and regularly approach other believers to ask them how we need to change. Don’t wait on other believers to approach you, because you may be waiting a long time, and during that time your heart will most likely be deceiving you into believing that you’re doing just fine all the while you’re slowly slipping into sin and self-worship.
In light of these thoughts, I’m giving you an assignment: don’t let a week go by before you ask another believer (one who knows you well) how you need to change to become more like Christ. Ask this person to be specific (it’s hard to change with generalities), and then ask him/her to ask you about this specific area of your life every week for a certain period of time ( I suggest two months). If you don’t want to participate in this assignment, then ask yourself why that is, and see if your desires line up with the will of God.
Lord, give us courage and bless these efforts!