God, according to the Bible, intends to conform humans to the image of his Son. We might think it would be boring to have a world full of people who were all the same, even if they were like Jesus. But that is to think wrongly. If everyone were like me, the world would be a boring place. In becoming like me, so many of the things that make people interesting would be lost. But in becoming like Jesus, nothing that is good is lost. Boring? It’s just the opposite. The world goes from black and white to living color – colors we have not yet imagined – as we become like Christ.
But wait a minute. If I become like Jesus – so different from what I am now – won’t I cease to be me? No. It is quite the opposite. The more I become like Jesus, the more I become myself. In fact, I can only be me to the degree that I become like him. If I refuse to be like him, I will inevitably lose myself and everything that makes me me.
Here is a mystery. If you become more like Jesus and I become more like Jesus (which, remember is God’s plan), we won’t become more like each other in a way that makes one of us superfluous. Instead, as each of us becomes more like Christ, our uniqueness becomes more apparent, not less. The good but undeveloped possibilities within each of us spring to life. Every one of us is designed to express some glory of the Infinite Christ more delightfully than anyone else can.
The more I become like Jesus, the more clearly I see Jesus in you in ways that are totally unlike me – see them and bless God for them with gratitude overflowing in my heart.
Maybe this sounds like something you want. I must warn you that wanting it is not enough. You must decide that you will have it. You must pursue it with such determination that if something gets in your way, you will move it out of your way. If something weakens your desire, you will forsake it. If something is an obstacle, you will get rid of it. This is not a hobby; it is a life.
There are many methods, biblical and extrabiblical, that Christians have employed in becoming Christlike. However, even the best methods, used profitably for more than a thousand years, will fail if we are trusting in the method rather than Christ himself.
Further, all the methods in the world won’t help if the intention is lacking. Before God Almighty, we must choose to become like Christ. And the sooner we choose, the better.
That’s because we are already being formed—either into Christlikeness or into something else. We were being formed when we were born, are being formed right now, and will continue to be formed until we die. The question is: Into what are we being formed? What shall we be when the shape we are now taking is complete? Our nature is hardening into its true shape, whether that shape is Christlike or not.
Imagine I want to make Jell-O for my grandkids. I have several different molds into which I intend to pour the liquid Jell-O while it is still warm. One looks like a pine tree, one like a star, another like a heart. But once the Jell-O has hardened, it’s too late to pour it into the mold. It will retain its shape, the shape of whatever originally surrounded it. The only way to reshape it then is by cutting it and discarding the parts that don’t fit or by exposing it to some serious heat.
Some kind of formation is already taking place in you and me. God intends it to be into the image of his Son and he will make it so. How much better to be poured into the mold early rather than shaped later by knife or by flame. But the person committed to Christlikeness – the person who has seen – chooses to be so shaped, whatever the means.
Do you so choose?