What does a Christian look like? As believers, what are we supposed to sound like? Who are we supposed to act like?
The obvious answer is, of course, Jesus! We are to be like Christ in every way. The Holy Spirit is constantly transforming us. Through every trial and struggle, every joy and celebration, He is molding and shaping us more and more into the image of Christ.
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. (2 Corinthians 3:18)
But do we look, sound, and act like Christ? Are we more like Him today than yesterday? What characteristics should be the most obvious, the most prominent, the most well-known?
Joy, peace, kindness, forgiveness…we know what we are supposed to be like. But, is this who we are? Who we’re becoming?
We absolutely cannot achieve this on our own. We will never become the people we are supposed to be without the transforming power of God in our lives–never. We can’t do it. And trying to follow the rules, or “faking it” to be someone we’re not won’t do anything but wear us out to exhaustion and reinforce the world’s view that Christians are nothing more than hypocrites. The more we try on our own, in our own strength, the less we look like Jesus.
We are the children of God, redeemed, restored, and brand new creations filled with the Holy Spirit, equipped for every good work God calls us to do. But we need His constant presence and refilling to be who we are supposed to be.
- The world constantly bombards and attacks, so we constantly need God’s abiding presence in us.
Transformation and growth are the work of the Holy Spirit! The characteristics we desire and long for–love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control–it’s not our job to create these. These are fruits of the Spirit in our lives. It’s His job to grow the fruit. It’s our job to be fertile ground where they can grow. Our job is simply to let Him do His!
What a relief! It’s not as easy as it sounds though. We like to be in control and we like to get credit for a job well done. We want to do something, when we are simply called to be someone. We must surrender. That’s it. Simply surrender to His work in our lives and trust Him for the outcome. But oh how hard that can be sometimes! It requires trust, faith, and putting aside our own desires, knowing He is good and knows what’s best. Like a child trusting her parents, we must trust our Heavenly Father.
As He transforms us on the inside, His fruits begin to grow, then show, until we are known by His love.
The Holy Spirit will transform us into the image of Christ. He will produce in us the fruits of His love. But He works on us from the inside out. As we put aside our sinful desires and seek after Him, He will create the love, joy, and all the other outward displays of the inward transformation going on.
But please don’t miss the fact that the work, the sanctifying, transforming work of the Holy Spirit, is constantly going on in us, so His love can be seen through us.
We can’t obey enough, do enough, or ever serve enough to create these things in ourselves. we must give Him control to do it from the inside.
Just as a seed grows in the ground and is active long before anything appears above the ground, we must be actively seeking Him in private. We can’t enjoy the fruits if we haven’t planted, watered, and cared for the seed.
What does that mean?
Spend time talking with and listening to Him. He already knows our deepest thoughts and desires. We can’t hide. We can’t make Him love us more and He can’t love us less. Share with Him. Talk to Him. And most importantly, listen. His Holy Spirit will make known hidden things and reveal wisdom. He is our Comforter and Teacher. Listen and enjoy His presence. Every second in His presence is worth a lifetime!
His Word is a living, life-changing love letter written to you. He knows your name and He knows your heart and He knows what you need. He will “speak” to you through His Word, and He has so much to say! Don’t let His letter sit unread. Every word is true and life changing. His will for you, His love for you, His desire for you…it’s all there. Deep wisdom and indescribable joys are ready to be discovered. He wants to reveal so much to you. Set aside a special time each and every day to read and devour His Word. It’s sweeter than honey and sharper than any two-edged sword. Read it. Study it. Memorize it. He’s in every word and it will absolutely change us from the inside out!
Simply believe Him. Beth Moore’s study “Believing God” has so many powerful, wonderful truths. If you’ve done it, this is familiar and worth memorizing: “God is who He says He is. God can do what He says He can do. I am who God says I am. I can do all things through Christ. God’s Word is alive and active in me.” (Beth Moore, Believing God). Just believe Him.
Trust Him. When we believe He is good and know He is faithful, we can rest in Him and just trust Him. We don’t have to live in fear and worry, scrambling to figure out the details. We can simply trust Him and know He is working for our good. Let it all go and rest in Him. Peace beyond understanding that can’t be explained in human terms is ours when we trust Him.
My dear friend, stop worrying. Stop trying to do everything in your own strength. You are already enough. Rather, rest in God and spend time in His presence. He will do a mighty work in you, and then He will do amazing things through you. Let Him be your strength and you will be stronger than you ever imagined you could be! His fruit will sprout and grow in your life, and you will look, sound, act, and love like Jesus!