AS we have been learning about Paul's questions, which are really more like obvious statements, we see God's goal for all humanity: That we become like Jesus. Here is what Paul said in Romans 8:29, "For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His son..." What is clear from this is that God's vision for me is the best version of me.
BUT many people feel restricted by God. I guess that's why Isaiah 53:6 says, "We all, like sheep, have gone astray." In so many areas of my life I still feel I know what's best for me. Sure, I need God's help now and again with the big stuff, but I can handle everything else. Yeah right! But isn't this how many people think? God has a plan for my life, but I have some plans of my own.
NOW, time for some truth. I have no idea how to run my life. All I know is how to ruin it. Until I draw this conclusion I will never draw on God for help. If I think I know what's best, I don't need help... Actually, this means I really don't need God. This is what the Prophet Amos wrote, "This is what the Lord says... 'Seek me and live." The more I seek God for my life, the more of my life I will actually enjoy. And the more my family and friends will enjoy my life.
GOD'S plan was to come to dirt (Earth), to lead the dirty back to the Divine and then to make the dirty like the Divine (Heaven). But this only occurs when we submit to God, which helps us: To think like Jesus, which is the best definition of wisdom; To see like Jesus, which is the best definition of vision; To feel as Jesus would, which is the best definition of compassion; To hear like Jesus does, which is the best definition of understanding; To speak to people as Jesus did, which is the best definition of hope; and to be like Jesus, which is the best definition of love. This is the dirty becoming like the Divine. This is God's vision for all of us.
WHEN you put it that way, how would being like Jesus be a bad thing and how could it be restricting? The vision God has for me is really the best version of me. In I Peter 2:21, Peter said, "To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps." We have been called to follow in the steps of Jesus.
IN 1896, Charles Monroe Sheldon wrote a best selling novel called "In His Steps". The subtitle of his book was "What Would Jesus Do?" This is where we get the famous idiom "WWJD?" In this book, Sheldon encouraged his readers to live like Jesus lived and it swept through the churches of his day. By the way, Sheldon's book has sold more than 30 million copies. If only we would live it out today. What a world we would have if this were true.
IF I were like Jesus I would not hurt anyone in any way. Being like Christ makes me kind, generous, patient, and loving. I wouldn't bully, shame, threaten or manipulate people. I would be safe with everyone. Being like Jesus is the best possible version of me. But when I'm more like myself and less like Jesus, I'm a danger to myself and to others.
GOD'S vision, if fulfilled in me, is not only the best version of me, but will actually bring me more joy than if I try to be happy on my own.
DID you know the theme songs of Hell are Frank Sinatra's, "My Way" and Sammy Davis Jr.'s, "I've Gotta Be Me." Now I'm not saying these are bad songs, nor am I saying they were sung by bad men, rather they are just indicative of how people who refuse to know and follow God want to live their lives. On their own terms, in their own unique way, being the way they want to be.
JOHN wrote in his first epistle to the church, "Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did." I John 2:6
AS we enter the holiday season, the best Christmas gift you can give yourself and to others is to commit to being like Jesus. To think, see, feel, hear, speak and love like Jesus. This will bring us more joy and contentment in life than any store bought gift we could buy. It will also have a positive change on everyone within our circle of influence.