Growing can sometimes painful. Growing spiritually compels us to leave our comfort zone. It causes us to stretch, to set goals for ourselves and to change for the better. The purpose of this lesson is to help us learn how we can live more in the image of God and to set goals to help us achieve this.Here is what I think God wants for us; God loves you just the way you are, but he refuses to leave you that way. He wants you to be “JUST LIKE JESUS”
Paul gives us a goal in 2 Corinthians 3:18
What is the goal? To continue to be transformed into the image of Christ. If we have become comfortable with some of our ways and with some of our thinking and in our attitudes, then changing those to align ourselves with the image of Christ might bring some discomfort.
In this lesson we are going to look at four ways that we can bring ourselves into alignment with the image of Christ.
Goal # 1) Always remember that we are the temple of God. We live in the image of our Lord through our habits and lifestyle.Read 1 Corinthians 3:16
Recall this epistle was written to the collective church in Corinth. The Lord’s church is the temple of God. The warning in this verse is that anyone who defiles the temple will be destroyed. So what does this mean?
2 Corinthians 6:16-18, “And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.” Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.” 18 ‘I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the Lord Almighty.”
2 Corinthians 7:1
7 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
Christians must cleanse themselves from anything that can harm us either physically or spiritually. We must be continually examining ourselves in search of anything we are doing that can harm us either physically or spiritually and get rid of it. Any type of bad practice or bad habit, any type of immoral action is what falls into this category. And once identified, it must be cleansed from our personal lives.
Why is this so important?
1) It effects our destiny
2) The world is watching us to see how we live. We must always bear in mind that wherever we go, or whatever we do in the world, we constitute His temple and that whoever does anything to defile His temple will be destroyed. The best lifestyles are lived as examples for others to follow.
Goal # 2) If we want to transform ourselves into the image of God, we must mind our own business and not meddle in the affairs of others.
Read 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12, “that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, 12 that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing. “
2 Thessalonians 3:11-12
For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. 12 Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread.
Notice the connection in both passages between not working and busybodies. When one is not working, they have much more time to meddle in the affairs of others. Work is good for Christians. Good works keep Christians out of all kinds of trouble and helps keep us from sticking our noses into the affairs of others.
Christ was not a meddler. He did not get into other people’s business, he was not a busybody.
Goal #3) If we want to transform ourselves into the image of God, we must be careful how we dress.
The women of Jerusalem in Isaiah’s time were not acting or dressing like God’s people.
Read Isaiah 3:16 and following. What were these women doing? They were being seductive and flirtatious. They were drawing attention to certain parts of their body by the things they wore and the way they acted.
Because of their behavior and dress God said He was going to strike them down and being them to shame.
Read Matthew 5:27-30. If men can be guilty of adultery of adultery just be having lustful thoughts, then can women be guilty of harlotry by just promoting those thoughts in men? Is a flaunting walk and a seductive outfit a form of harlotry? Since men can be guilty of adultery by having lustful thoughts then women who promote those lustful thoughts are just as guilty.
Proverbs 7:10, “And there a woman met him, With the attire of a harlot, and a crafty heart”
Notice how she is described. She has the dress, the attire and the adornments of a harlot. Both men and women can fall into condemnation because of how we dress and how we act.
Goal #4 ) If we want to transform ourselves into the image of God, we must cleanse our speech.Ephesians 5:3-7 “But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; 4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not be partakers with them. “
We must cleanse ourselves of filthiness. This word carries the meaning of obscenity, something that is deeply offensive to morality and decency.
Foolish jesting and course talking means being crude, vulgar and irreverent, especially in things dealing with sexual matters. These are language habits that are corrupt and debase. It is sometimes called gutter language today. These are things that should not come out of a Christian’s mouth.
Psalms 59:12, 1 Peter 3:10, James 3:5-10
Jesus Christ would never have engaged in this type of language practice, therefore if we are going to transform ourselves into the image of Him, we cannot do it either.
The image of our Lord:
We could not imagine our Lord abusing His body with smoking, drugs or alcohol.We could not imagine our Lord being lazy and not wanting to work.We could not imagine our Lord meddling or being a busybody in other people’s business.We could not picture Jesus dressing in some type of vulgar, gaudy or expressive attire.We could not imagine Jesus having a vulgar, foolish, gutter language manner of speech.If our goal from 2 Corinthians 3:18 is to be transformed into His image, then that means we have to work on those things. Our dress, our manners, our speech, what we do physically, where we go, who we are with because the world is always watching.Someone else is always watching too. Proverbs 15:3, “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.”What image are we really reflecting. Does the world see us as a people who are really trying our best to transform ourselves into His image, or is the world seeing a bunch of hypocrites?We talk about Christ and about being religious and things spiritual, but do our lives reflect that? Which of these things does the world see in us? What we teach or how we act?We need to be constantly scanning and examining ourselves. Our goal is to be more like Him at the end of the year than we were at the beginning; To be more like Him at the end of next week, than we are this evening; to be more like Him tomorrow than we are today. The Christian life is to be one of constant progress. We must strive to be more and more like Him in every way, every day.