As you grow up spiritually, your goal should be, to be like Jesus – to grow to the fullness of the stature of Christ. This is the goal you should have as a true saint of God. The Apostle Paul referred to this, when he wrote:
“Till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:13 NKJV.
When Paul referred to “a perfect man” in this verse, he meant a full grown man – a man who was spiritually full grown. You will notice that this person must also grow in an intimate knowledge of the Son of God. This knowledge can only come by revelation. As a believer grows in his understanding of who Christ is, then he will begin to look more and act more like Christ, until he reaches the fulness of the stature of Christ Himself. This means he will look like Jesus, talk like Jesus, and act like Jesus. As a result, when people watch his life, all they will see is Jesus. This is how the life of a saint should look like to others!
The very first characteristic of Christ, that others should see in your life, is love. Jesus emphasized this, when He said:
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35 NKJV.
Notice that Jesus used Himself as the model for the kind of love He was talking about. He said, “Love one another, just as I have loved you!”
Now Jesus loved His disciples with unconditional love. This means He loved them just as they were. Yes, He loved them with all their faults and weaknesses. This is the same way He also wants you to love others. He wants you to love others, and accept others, just they way they are. Does that make sense to you?
Another characteristic of a mature believer is that he or she is strong. In every trial and challenge you may face in life, you have one of two choices – you can either be weak or you can be strong. The Holy Spirit wants you to be strong at all times – not in your own strength, but in the strength of the Lord. This is what the Apostle Paul meant, when he wrote:
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” Ephesians 6:10 NKJV.
Don’t try to be strong in your own strength. Learn to be strong in the Lord. Learn to depend upon His strength in your spirit. The more you do, the stronger you will become, and the better you will be to handle the trials and challenges of life.
Have you ever watched a 3-year-old child try to open a door? You may have seen a child standing on his or her tip toes, struggling to turn the door knob. Yet, after the child grows up, what seemed earlier to be so difficult to do, becomes easy, because the child has grown in strength and stature. The same is true when it comes to spiritual growth. When you grow up in Christ, the things that were such a great challenge to you, become easier to handle and overcome, because you have grown up spiritually. You have learned to depend on the strength of the Lord, instead of your own strength.
Yes, this means that you are a lot stronger than you think you are, if you will learn not to depend on your own strength but the strength of the Lord. What seemed so difficult for you to handle, when you were first saved, will now seem to be so easy, because you have learned to be strong in the Lord and the strength of HIS might.
Now another characteristic of being like Christ is being steadfast and immovable – being solid in your faith! This means that you are not easily moved by adverse circumstances, and that you are not easily distracted by the voice of the world. In every problem there are always difficult circumstances or the voice of people telling you that you will never make it through. Those who have grown up in the Lord, have learned not to be moved by these things but to keep his or her eyes firmly fixed upon the Lord, trusting in Him to get them through difficult situations. This is what a mature saint looks like, and this is what it means to be like Jesus.
The final characteristic I would like to share with you is living a fruitful life. Jesus said:
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 NKJV.
Again, it is only by depending upon Christ that you can live a fruitful life. Don’t try to be fruitful by your own ability alone. Learn to depend entirely upon Him. This is why the
Apostle Paul wrote:
“I can do all things all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 NKJV.
The secret then to Paul’s great success in the ministry, and his fruitfulness as a believer, was the fact that he was so dependent upon the Lord to help him in everything he did. This is why he wrote:
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:58 NKJV.
Yes, your labor will never be in vain as long as you do it in the Lord, by depending on His strength and ability. As long as you completely depend on Him, you will also always be steadfast and immovable – just like Jesus.
You are holy, dear saint!
This is day twenty-eight of a 31 day series on The Life Of A Saint.
[All Scripture quotations have been taken from the New King James Version, Thomas Nelson, Inc. Copyright 1992]