So, now you’re a Christian, and you figure the next thing you need to do is get a Bible and start reading. The more you read the more you see changes that need to happen in your life. In fact, it may take the rest of your life to get all these rules, commandments, and instructions down to an art. Nevertheless, it is like mom always said, “You can do anything if you just put your mind to it.” So, that is exactly what you do. You roll up your sleeves and get busy conforming your life to look like the Word of God. Sooner or later you find yourself discouraged at your own failure and inconsistency with living out this new-found faith. You know that as a Christian the Holy Spirit of God is living within to equip you for every good work, and yet, failure seems to be the only thing you can do correctly!
Does any of this sound familiar? I know after thirty-eight years of being a Christian, I have had more than my fair share of days not living up to Christ’s standard. Maybe the problem is this–we too often look at the Bible as a “How to for Christian Dummies.” We think that if we work hard, are determined to change, only think positive good thoughts, help others, and give of our time that surely we will begin to look like Jesus. Yet, regardless of our efforts, failure still rules the day. Why? Now, that is an easy question to answer. The Bible clearly teaches that we could never be good enough to earn our salvation, yet after becoming a Christian, we seem to think that we can read the Bible and then conform ourselves into the image of Christ. The truth is, only the Holy Spirit can bring about true spiritual transformation into our lives.
We will never be transformed into the image of Christ until we learn how to live in light of the Holy Spirit working within our heart—allowing Him to work through us for God’s glory. When we begin to be filled with and walk in the Spirit, we will see a growing maturity in our daily life.
If you struggle with living out the Christian life on a daily basis, I would encourage you to listen to this message from last Sunday, November 4: Desperate for the Holy Spirit. We talked about a few of the ways that the Holy Spirit works in us to change us, and that unless we allow Him to do His work, we will never be transformed into the image of Christ. You can download or listen to the message by following this link: Desperate for the Holy Spirit.
I pray that God will use this message to help you “attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which
belongs to the fullness of Christ” (Eph 4.13 NASB).