Becoming Like Christ (Article 17-6)
When we give our lives to Christ, the "Old Man" in us dies which paves the way for our resurrection (re-birth) into a new being. With our rebirth, we are transformed from living as "human beings" having a "spiritual experience" to "spiritual beings" having a "human experience." Our transformation is to exalt and glorify our Heavenly Father and to become one with Him. With this comes the fulfillment of our life purpose. However, none of these things are possible without becoming like Christ through our abiding in Him and His abiding in us. (John 15). This is how we are to be perfected in the Body of Christ.
We Are to Be Perfected.
Scripture tells us that “The God of peace…make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ”(Hebrews 13:20-21) . Our transformation is to lead to our perfection. Over time we are to be the embodiment of perfection - complete (needing nothing), good, and living an existence with purpose. It begins with understanding and knowing that only God can perfect us. We have no abilities or power to perfect ourselves. Second, we are perfected according to His will, and not according to ours. Finally, our perfection is accomplished through Jesus Christ. Christ is the only way to perfection and He must be at the center of everything we do. We must turn to the "Christ In Us" for all things.
Understanding the Christ In Us.
Recall Christ’s life on earth. He was born into the world and lived a very humble and unassuming life. Scripture does not indicate anything special about Christ while He was a child or as a very young man. Nobody knew Him beyond the secluded Nazarene community from which He grew up. He was raised in a working-class environment as a carpenter. Scripture does not indicate that He had any formal education or any intellectual gifts. There is no information on what He looked like or even on his physical stature. It is as if God wanted the world not to notice Christ at first. For the most part, Christ lived His early years in a quiet and unassuming manner.
When we give our lives to Christ, He takes up residence in the center of our soul; however, He does so in a very quiet way. It is as if His existence in us is the same as when He walked the earth before His public ministry began- hidden and unnoticed. I believe this is so for a reason. It is to test our spiritual resolve and by so doing, strengthen our faith and trust in Him. It is part of a greater process to grow spiritually and to become like Christ. As we mature spiritually, our desire to be "Christ-like" intensifies and with it, the power of His Spirit (the Holy Spirit).
We must go to and call on the Christ in us. We must submit and become lowly in His presence and be willing to give our hearts totally to Him. We must focus on and talk to Him daily, keeping Him center in our thoughts and prayers. In prayer, we must petition His inward presence to come forth and take control of our lives, shaping us according to the Father's will.
We Are the Clay - God is the Potter
The prophet Isaiah tells us “But now, O Lord, thou are our Father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand. (Isaiah 64:8)” When we are “born again” we are a formless clump of wet clay. We are spiritual babies that need to be shaped into something that has purpose and utility. The process of shaping clay requires that it be placed exactly in the center of a horizontal spinning wheel. If the clay is placed in an off-centered position, it will be off-balance and will not properly conform to the potter's hands to be shaped as the wheel spins. Next, think of the spinning wheel as the world we live in. It spins ever increasingly giving us the sensation that we’re spinning out of control with no ability to alter its direction or speed. Notice, however, that despite the speed and continuous spinning of the wheel, it doesn’t thwart the potter’s ability to shape the clay. In fact, the potter uses the spinning wheel and its speed to his advantage in shaping the clay. He uses both the direction and speed of the wheel to form the clay into an item according to His design and pleasure. This is the case with God. As the clay, we may feel we're spinning out of control; however, God is in full control of the entire process. The final process of making pottery is to strengthen it. This is done by subjecting the molded clay to heat, usually in an oven kiln. Instead of a kiln, God strengthens us with the "fire of the Holy Spirit" and in so doing, manifests His presence, passion, and purity through us.
Let Him Transform You. A key element to the whole process of being transformed is that the clay must be centered on the spinning wheel before the process begins. But know that you cannot center yourself on the wheel, for if you try, the end result will be you being be off-center. We can only find the wheel's center point by focusing on and abiding in Christ, for He is at the center of the Father's will. It is only then can the Father mold you according to His will and pleasure, thus into perfection. Seek the Christ in you. Rouse Him and the love He has for you. Petition Him to come forth to shape you according to the Father's will and with it, the peace and rest you have sought all your life, but could not find.