Christlikeness: The Goal of Every Believer

I once heard a preacher say to his congregation that his goal for his people was to help them become the best version of themselves they can be.  His point was that, with Jesus' help, they could become the best person they could possibly be.  Immediately on hearing that a warning siren went off in my head.  Is it even a biblical idea that Jesus wants you to become the best you you can be?  It is true that Jesus accepts me as I am, but is it his goal to just patch me up or to transform me? 

The Bible says that in Christ we are new creations (2 Cor. 5:17).  Jesus said that those who would follow him must first deny themselves (Mark 8:34).  It seems to me as if the Bible is saying that in order to follow Jesus you must reject who you are without Him, embrace Him, and allow him to transform you into something new.  The most startling passage about this transformation is Romans 8:29.  It says, "For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son...". 

So God's purpose, God's goal, for all of His children is to conform them to the image of His son.  When I look in the mirror everyday, the image God wants me to see is not a better me but a clearer image of Jesus.  God's desire isn't for me to dust myself off and be happy with who I am. His desire is for me to deny myself and embrace a cross, Jesus' cross. 

The only way that can happen is for me to submit to Him and allow him to begin the painful process of sanctifying me, of transforming me into the image of His Son, Jesus. This is primarily done through earnest time in prayer and diligent study of His word and the encouragement and exhortation of the Body of Christ. I heard one pastor put it this way.  He said all people when they come to Christ are a rough block of granite and God is the master artist with a hammer and a chisel.  For the rest of our life, God chisels away at us until we become His masterpiece.  God uses His word, prayer, circumstance, and other believers as instruments of this transformation.  At a conference in college, I once watched a powerful skit about this.  If you are familiar with the Skit Guys you will know that they use the medium of short, dramatic, and often comedic skits in order to convey a biblical message.  They made a video of this skit and the link is below if you'd like to watch. 

So how does this apply to small group and Sunday school leaders?  It applies to you because is it good group leaders who are instruments of God in this transforming purpose.  The ultimate goal of a group leader should be to help their people become committed disciples of Jesus, and you do this by faithfully teaching God's word, the ultimate hammer and chisel, every week.  God uses you to be a difference maker every Sunday.  No one in your class is who they need to be in Christ yet.  They are all at various stages of sanctification and spiritual maturity.  It is your job to bring the transforming power of God's word and to allow it to do its work in the hearts and lives of the people.  And here is the glorious thing, as you bring the transforming power of the  word of God to your class every week, God is also transforming you in the process. 

You see, God's Spirit works through His word to reveal things in our lives that ought not be there, things that look more like the old us than like Jesus.  Every week as you prepare to teach, God is showing you sinful patterns that need to be dealt with, unhealthy thoughts that need to be taken captive, and distractions that need to be removed.  He is exposing secret sins and building up your character.  And as you teach your people, He is doing the same for them. 

God is the one doing the transforming work.  It is our job to submit to him as the Master Artist.  It is our job to trust Him with the hammer and chisel.  And one day we can all stand back and look in the mirror and say "Ah, that's what I was meant to be", and we will behold an image  that looks more like the Carpenter from Nazareth than like the person who first came to Jesus and said "I'm yours."


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