Wednesday, June 27, 2007

What does it mean to become more Christ like?

I was rather disturbed recently by a discussion in a bible study group about what it means to become more like Christ. To me this has always meant to be more compassionate; more caring; more willing to serve others and more able to love the unlovely. But in the discussion I seemed to be in a minority of one. Other people felt that becoming more Christ like was becoming more able to "move in the miraculous" or more able to do mighty spiritual things.

This has led me back to the bible to see what sort of person God want us to become. One of the passages that deals with this is:

1Co 13:12-13 "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall fully know even as I also am fully known. And now faith, hope, charity, these three remain; but the greatest of these is charity [love]."

So while we are living our mortal lives we have faith, hope and love and the greates of these is love, not doing great spiritual things. In fact Jesus specifically condemned people who did spiritual things at the expense of showing love to others:

Mat 7:21 "Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, will enter into the kingdom of Heaven, but the ones who do the will of My Father in Heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name do many works of power? And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; "depart from Me, those working lawlessness!""

Lawlessness refers to sin and sin includes not doing things we should as well as doing things which are unrighteous.

The will of the father is that we should actively care for others, and if we do not this is against his will for us.
These are the words of Jesus:

Mat 25:31-46 "But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He shall sit on the throne of His glory. And all nations shall be gathered before Him. And He shall separate them from one another, as a shepherd divides the sheep from the goats. And indeed He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats off the left. Then the King shall say to those on His right hand, Come, blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave me food; I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and you took Me in; I was naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me. Then the righteous shall answer Him, saying, Lord, when did we see You hungry, and fed You? Or thirsty, and gave You drink? When did we see You a stranger, and took You in? Or naked, and clothed You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and came to You? And the King shall answer and say to them, Truly I say to you, Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brothers, you have done it to Me. Then He also shall say to those on the left hand, Depart from Me, you cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels. For I was hungry, and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty, and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in; I was naked, and you did not clothe Me; I was sick, and in prison, and you did not visit me. Then they will also answer Him, saying, Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to You? Then He shall answer them, saying, Truly I say to you, Inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into everlasting life."

The course of our life is dictated by how we treat others. Specifically we are to care for those who are poor, either financially or spiritually and for those who are outcast from our society. Jesus has a special heart for the poor of spirit:

Mat 5:1-10 "And seeing the multitudes, He went up into a mountain. And when He had sat down, His disciples came to Him. And He opened His mouth and taught them, saying,
Blessed are the poor in spirit! For theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn! For they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek! For they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness! For they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful! For they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart! For they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers! For they shall be called the sons of God.
Blessed are they who have been persecuted for righteousness sake! For theirs is the kingdom of Heaven."

Again there is nothing here about doing great spiritual works. Those will be blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness even if they are spiritually poor.

Paul tells Timothy:

2Ti 4:6 "For I am already being poured out, and the time of my release is here."

and there is a sense in which the lives of all Christians should be poured out as an offering of service to other people.

It seems to me that Jesus was compassionate, forgiving and serving and we are all called to be like that.

  • We do not need a special impartation of the holy spirit.
  • We do not need the impartation of a specific gift.
  • We do not need God to send a revival.
  • We do not need to go to special conferences.

The great thing is that we can all do this right now if we really want to.

I really think that parts of the church have become deluded into thinking they are without power, when the greatest, most powerful gift is available to all Christians - Love.