My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you…
The nucleus of a Christian life is Jesus Christ. He is the central core for all of life. When we acknowledge HIM as who he is, only then do we discover a path which leads toward fulfilling our human potential.
In business, we are trained to start with the end result in mind and then work backwards filling in all the steps necessary for its attainment. The same can be said about your life and mine.
In the above Scripture, the apostle Paul states the goal for each believer is to be made in the image of Jesus Christ from the inside-out. A process of having yours and mine attitude and character shaped into the very carbon copy of Jesus. Later in Chapter five he emphasizes the building material being the character attributes of the Holy Spirit being fully expressed through us. Paul compared the entire character-building process to childbirth.
C.S. Lewis in his writings like to define Christians as “little Christs”; like children being molded after their parents. A life-long process over time which ends with the son or daughter grown up with similar characteristics of their parent. The same is true of us believers.
When you start with the end of life, you will quickly acknowledge that we came with nothing into this world and we shall leave with no material possessions at the end. However, there is something we will take with us into the next phase of our lives – our soul.
The soul, which includes the entire bastion of one’s emotional attitudes, mental bank, and characteristic willpower, will one day be resurrected into a new body. Until then, like the new born child awaits in the womb of their mother being prepared for life outside of the womb, we likewise are being prepared in this life for a new adventure in the world tomorrow when we will be resurrected into eternity. The last chapters of the Bible showcase the new resurrected life we are currently being prepared to enter.
So, what does all this mean?
As a mother nurtures her begotten child, being careful to eat and drink healthy items which will assist in her child’s positive development, so must we the Church, nourish and feed believers until they mature into the image of Christ being formed in each one of us. Just as a responsible mother makes her primary purpose for nine laborious months doing everything in her power to give birth to a healthy baby, likewise the Church needs to do the same.
Yet, just as there are mothers who have failed to fulfill their responsibility, there are also believers who have failed to participate in the process. The end result are children of the faith who may be mature in the eyes of the world, but are yet babes in the eyes of God. One Pew research study showed that most Christians understanding of their faith stopped when they quick going to Sunday school in the 8th grade. In other words, their growth and understanding of God’s work stopped at the same time. Physically, they grew up, but spiritually they are still babies drinking milk.
If you are unsatisfied with your spiritual walk with the Lord, maybe its time to join a small group of believers who understand the importance of sharing life and growing together in preparation for eternity. More Jesus and less me is a motto used by one of the small groups I had the privilege to participate for a number of years. Like iron sharpens iron, so one believer sharpens another. Of all the church activities I have participated in, the small group is where I believe the work of the church comes more alive in helping Christ be formed in you.
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