Is It Time to Get in Shape?
We all...beholding as in a mirror the
glory of the Lord, are being transformed
into the same image from glory to glory.
2 Corinthians 3:18
A woman went to a diet center to lose weight. The director took her to a full-length mirror. On it he outlined a figure and told her, “This is what I want you to look like at the end of the program.” An intense program of dieting and exercise followed day after day after day. Every week the woman would stand in front of the mirror and position herself against the outline. She often became discouraged because her bulging outline was not fitting into the director’s ideal. She kept working hard. Through patience and diligence, she finally conformed to the image outlined by her instructor.
Putting ourselves next to Christ’s perfect character may reveal how “out of shape” we are. To be transformed into His image does not mean we attain sinless perfection; it means that we become complete and mature (Ephesians 4:13). We grow to be like Him.
How long will it take to transform a person who was once committed to selfishness, pride, and worldliness to the outline of Christ? It will take all we have for as long as we have. Imitating Christ’s love, zeal, compassion, discipline, mercy, etc. begins when we allow our wills to be molded into the same attitudes and behaviors of Jesus. This we can know and understand as we wholly meditate on the truth Jesus left us to follow. What Jesus came to bring all mankind is abundant life (John 10:10). With His instructions, we have all we need which pertains to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3).
Along the way, being conformed to the image of Christ may mean being brought through sufferings. Those are not what we would have asked for or expect, but James 1:2-4 says they produce joy, faith, and patience. Jesus Himself even learned obedience from the things He suffered (Hebrews 5:8).
Denial is also part of measuring up to Jesus. Taking away sin at our conversions to Christ in baptism is a wonderful blessing. The next step is keeping off “the weight and sin which doth so easily besets us” (Hebrews 12:2). This is where we need some self-control and change of direction. There are some associates, places, possessions, and items we see which will need to be removed. The places where we went where sin took place must be avoided. The ungodly attitudes we had will need to be replaced with spiritual attitudes like courage, love, truth, and good. We may have to sacrifice more than a friend or two or a possession or two. We may even have to sacrifice what our family wants for what Jesus wants us to be and look like (Luke 12:51-53).
Trusting your instructor - Jesus - will be the most important key to transformation. There are a lot of people you trust teaching you about how to live life and see good days. In Matthew 24:23, there was a warning about certain men who would say, “Lo, here is the Christ, or here...” Jesus immediately said, “Believe it not.” Trusting in Christ Himself as the Son of God is where the changes in your life take place. Beware of those who make out to be “helpers” and “advisors” of your spiritual life. Your trust in them could lead you on a road toward being what makes you feel good about yourself, rather than toward how to “live soberly and righteously, and godly in this present world” (Titus 2:12). To be conformed into the image of Christ, have the confidence in Jesus sPaul expressed in 2 Timothy 1:12: “...for I know Him whom I have believed, and I am persuaded, that He is able to guard that which I have committed unto Him against that day.”