I’m going to be upfront with you, I used to not really understand the whole being transformed in the image of Christ deal. What does that mean? I mean seriously. Will we start resembling a thirty-something Jewish man with long, brown hair and a beard? Of course not. That’d be silly. And very unfortunate for us female Christians, if that were true.
Does it mean that once we become a Christian we need to work hard at trying to be like Jesus? Before every decision ask WWJD (what would Jesus do)? For a long time, I thought this was what it meant. That we had to strive to be like Jesus. That it would be work. A big challenge. Sweat, blood, tears…the whole cliché.
But no, it’s not. Now before y’all think I’m a total heathen. Basing our decisions on what Jesus would do is an awesome thing. Seriously. Do that. But it’s more than that and also in a lot of ways easier. Let’s look at the Bible.
2 Corinthians 3:18 (NLT)
So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.
If we look at the verse, who is doing the transforming? Is it us striving to change ourselves? Nope. It’s God. Go ahead reread it. It says, “And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him…” God makes us more and more like him. Not us.
That’s a relief actually because changing ourselves without God’s help is tough. I love the way Priscilla Shirer explains it in her Bible study, The Armor of God. She says, “One of the most cunning tricks of the enemy is to get us to sink our energy into changing instead of focusing it on cultivating health and wellness in Christ. But if we concentrate on having a vibrant, healthy spiritual life, we’ll automatically grow and change as a result.” She used the illustration of how a baby doesn’t have to concentrate on growing and changing. All they need is to be well cared for and the natural outcome is growth.1
So what are some healthy habits that will help us to grow into spiritually healthy Christians?
Pray daily hourly
Read Study the Bible daily
Fellowship Experience life with other Christians
I know. I know. We’ve seen that list about a thousand times, but there is a reason for that. Because it really does work. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not claiming to have perfected this list. But I do know that immersing ourselves in prayer, the Bible, and hanging out with uplifting people really does make for a healthier spiritual life—one where we will find that over time our decisions will align with what Jesus would want us to do. And the best thing is that it won’t be forced. It won’t feel like a sacrifice. It will be natural. And so much better than growing a beard.
- Priscilla Shirer, The Armor of God (Nashville, TN: LifeWay Press, 2015), 87