Has Your Christianity Stalled At Salvation?

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Being a Christian is more than just an instantaneous conversion – it is a daily process whereby you grow to be more and more like Christ.

Billy Graham

Are you striving to be like Jesus?  This is a question I believe we should ask ourselves daily.  In my opinion, this question issues a challenge to those of us that are seeking to be more like Jesus. This question offers us not only insight into what we are striving to become but it also causes us to look introspective to see what is really in our hearts.

“We should always seek to be Christ-like in my opinion, but I can honestly say, I have not always lived nor sought to be Christ-like.”

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Christ-like,

Christ-like,

Christ-like…

There have been times in my life that I’ve looked and acted more like Garfield the Cat then our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.

I have been selfish, unloving, unforgiving, unthankful and even unholy. Like Garfield I have wanted my lasagna all to myself and if it was left up to me no one would get a piece.  But, I thank God for His patience, loving mercy and His everlasting grace.

God’s Mercies Are New Every Morning

God provides people like me with another day to get in line with His will.  I thank God that in my struggles to look like Jesus, He has never allowed me to fall to the waste side but He has always patiently helped me to my feet, wiped my knees off and said, “son get back into the race.”

Striving to be Christ-like has taught me to die daily. It has challenged me to take up holiness and leave unholiness behind. What I think is wonderful about seeking to live, love and look like Jesus is He teaches us that though we live in this flesh we don’t have to be controlled by our desires. 

We will all have our struggles in this life; however, God has provided for each of us a way of escape from sin and temptation that has been sent to destroy us. He has left us The Holy Spirit that we may have power over our flesh. Thank God for His Spirt!

The Apostle said, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
Galatians 2:20 KJV

Wow what a wonderful scripture. I wished I had time to unpack all that is in this text but I would be writing for days.

But this scripture should give us hope.
This scripture simply says that we can actually win over this flesh of ours.  We can actually break destructive habits of sin and mortify the deeds of our flesh. See Colossians 3. 

However, it will take desire, faithfulness, obedience and trust in Jesus that He has what we need to help us to become more like Him .

This is why Paul said, “I am crucified with Christ.” What did he mean here? He was simply saying that he made a conscious decision to put his ungodly desires in check (to death). They no longer had the power to cause him to stray from God. Why? Good question…because they were now placed willingly under the power of the Blood of Jesus Christ.

He allowed the Holy Spirit to help him resist those earthly, ungodly desires.

Now let me not mislead you here…Paul was not perfect and without sin in no stretch of the imagination. But the Apostle fixed his heart on becoming more and more like Jesus. So he worked hard not to allow Sins will to dominate him but inturn he would lord over and dominate his flesh.

We can catch a glimpse of how he thought here in Philippians 3:7-9…He says,

“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.”

Determined To Live Christ-like

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Paul said in 1Corinthians 9:27, “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” Read entire chapter…here

Paul took his body and forced it to obey the will of God. The Father is looking for you and I to do the same thing. He wants us to make our minds and bodies obey and submit to His will.

Look at what God says in James 4:7, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Read the entire Chapter here…

Beep …

Beep…

Beep…

Alert!

Alert!

Attention! Becoming Christ-like is not automatic but it will take work.

We must be so determined to look, think and love like Jesus that when we fail we will be so convicted, so upset with ourselves that we will say, “The next time this temptation comes I will overcome it by His Power, Blood and Spirit’ I will submit to God and resist the Devil and the Bible says He will flee.”

I believe that we must daily make up in our minds that we will be determined everyday to review our lives and be honest with ourselves and say, “Lord I didn’t look like your word today, I looked terrible but help me to do better” or “Lord I am striving to be even better today then I did yesterday, there is still more baggage I can eradicate in my life.”

When we truly desire Him we will say like Paul, “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound certainly not.”

When we change our focus and Jesus becomes our main priority then thats when we will begin to see a transformation of our priorities, principles and practices.

When we commit sin it will no longer be enjoyable, it will become burdensome because we have let God down.

This is a good place to be in. We never, ever want to be able to sin and say its okay. When we fail we want to be in a place of remorse, heartbroken that we failed God.

This is a part of becoming Christ-like.

Do you remember in scripture when Peter failed Jesus and denied him?…He was heartbroken and the Bible said, ” He wept bitterly.” Matthew 26:74-75. He had failed Jesus. Peter understood who Jesus had become to him. He had become his Lord and not just his salvation. Jesus had become his everything. Peter’s priorities, principles and practices had change and he was becoming Christ-like.

So it devastated Peter that he had failed Jesus. Are we devastated, heartbroken and remorseful when we fail Jesus?Are we so hurt by our actions that they lead us to our knees in heart-felt repentance…asking God to help us to become more like Him and less like ourselves?

Jesus eventually after He was resurrected reached out to Peter after He had been converted. Peter never denied Jesus again even to death.

This is my desire that I will follow Jesus even until death being faithful, being Christ-like. I want my desires, priorities, principles and practices to be entrenched in Christ-likeness and sacrifice to Him. I pray and hope that is your desire as well.

The Blueprint:

We should inspect our lives daily to see if we are living like Jesus. When we find something that doesn’t look like him we should make it our business to separate ourselves from that thing by denying our flesh and worldly pleasures. We should seek with all our hearts to look, love and live like Jesus Christ our Lord.

Prayer

Heavenly Father we are coming to you asking you to forgive us for our shortcomings. Father in the name of Jesus help us to turn away from anything that does not give you glory. We desire to live, look and love like you Jesus so change our hearts and minds that we will be all that you want and desire for us to be in Jesus name…amen

Check out this related article:
A Deeper Reflection

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If Not Now…When

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Why wait to remove the dirt that is blocking your road in life? Start your removal today.  What is it that is blocking your growth, success, peace and tranquillity? Fix your focus on that thing today that is causing you difficulties and start shoveling.

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Start preparing the road for your destiny!

Tomorrow is in no ways promised, so do all you can do today…  Call that relative, spouse, friend, co-worker and fix that relationship.  If not now then when? Oh when you get your head in the game? When you get your life together? When they become nicer and more responsible?

I am sorry this is not a winning plan for success. This approach will more likely set you up for failure. Who told you that you had one last phone call? Who told you that you had time to mend your broken relationships? Who told you that she would be waiting for you? Who told you that he would always be there?

I have seen men and women who have lost out on love because they kept looking at the spouse they wanted tomorrow and passed on that spouse of today. I have seen people pass up on promotions because they thought tomorrows promotion would be better then today’s and they didn’t get another opportunity until 5 years later.

Master Today’s Possibilities

If we can’t handle the horse today, what makes us think we will be able to ride the bull tomorrow.

The longer we wait to embrace today, the further we get from making any real progress. Tomorrow will always be filled with possibilities and unrealized and untapped potential…However, what good will that do us today? So the question must be, “If not now then when?”

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Enjoy your reward today!

Begin to look today sqaure in the eyes and say, “I am going to make some progress today.

Depression you had me yesterday but today I am getting out of this bed, combing my hair, shaving my face and putting on my clothes and motivating myself to win.

You may have suffered disappointments but that doesn’t give you a reason to quit, it just provides you with more time to plan. 

We all have challenges and frustrations.

You my not have done well on your test yesterday but we must take the mindset that,  “I have a date with the library today” instead of saying, “Well I guess I will have better luck next time.” NO put that car in gear and drive it…

We may have spoken to our spouses harshly on yesterday but we must become proactive, praying for more patience, humility and ask them for forgiveness and then put into practice Christ-like love today.

Today, today, today.

Since God has given you today make something  of it… even if it is only making a walk way at least that’s a sign of progress. 

Someone may say, ” I am disabled and I can’t move…”  Well if you are reading this post then you can think and within your sphere God has given you too grace to win…maybe in a different way but you can be a force today as well.

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What A Lovely View

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I don’t know about you but I am striving for my well done.  I am waiting to behold the beauty of the Lord and have the chance to inquire in His temple. 

So I am climbing…some days I get tired, somedays I fall and hit my knees on the stairs of life.  But we can’t stop now…the higher we climb the closer we get to beholding the greatest view ever known to man…JESUS!

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