Like Christ: Cultivating a life more like JesusDecember 28, 2016
It’s that time of year when we start making New Year’s Resolutions. Resolutions can be helpful but without an actual plan, things are unlikely to change. I know that for me, my own will is weak, my powers of rationalization strong. Discipline fails without accountability and I’m prone to continue in old patterns instead of developing new, healthier, holier ones.
So as we start a new year, all fresh and new and full of possibilities, let’s take the time to put the first things first.
To be a Christian literally means to be a follower of Christ. If you are a Christian, then living a life worthy of bearing the name of Christ is the first order of business tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that. Every other resolution, agenda item, calendar commitment, appointment, issue, dream, project or goal must be conformed to the identity of Christ or it needs to die right now. Don’t take anything into the new year that you know is less tha
n Christ, less than Christ-conformed, less than Christ-minded, less than Christ-concerned.
Colossians 3:17 reads:
“Whatever you do, in word or deed, do it all in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ.”
What does that look like? Here’s one way to think about it:
- Seek to have the mind of Christ in all things
- Seek to manifest the spirit of Christ in all situations
- Seek to demonstrate the manner of Christ in every moment
- Seek to advance the Kingdom of Christ in all that you say and do
Here are ways to get us started for 2017:
Cultivate the mind of Christ.
- A mind set on the agenda of the Father: Luke 22:41-43
- A mind set on things that are above: Colossians 3:1-2
- A mind that cultivates a Biblical worldview: Romans 12:1-2
- Vigilant attention to what’s on your mind: II Corinthians 10:5b
Cultivate the manner of Christ: become a person of prayer and humble service
- Honor God; humble self; serve selflessly: Philippians 2:1-11
- Make prayer your practice and discipline: Matthew 6:6, 14:23; Mark 1:35, Luke 5:16, 6:12, 9:18, 22:39-41
- Pray with confidence and belief: Matthew 21:22, 7:7-11, Mark 9:28-29, 11:24, John 14:13-14, 15:7, 15:16, 16:23-24
- Pray with thanksgiving and in song: Matthew 11:25, 26;30; Mark 14:26,
- Pray before meals: Mark 6:41, Mark 8:7, 14:22, Luke 24:30
- Pray submissively, ardently and without ceasing: Luke 22:39- 46
Cultivate the spirit of Christ
- Be holy: I Peter 1:13-16
- Bear good fruit: Galatians 2:19-26
Hone your witness to Christ
- His name and reputation are at stake: I Peter 2:11-12
- You are a signpost, pointing to Christ: Matthew 5:16; Philippians 2:14-16
- You are Christ’s ambassador: II Corinthians 5:14-21
- You are a witness, bearing testimony on the stand: Acts 1:8; Hebrews 12:1-3
Yes, it’s quite a project – but it’s a resolution God had made. Be encouraged by the reality that “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion” (Philippians 1:6). All we have to do is cooperate with the Holy Spirit and be resolute in our commitment to honor Jesus.