The Our First Calling: Be Like Jesus

Blog by Shelly Beach
Author, Speaker,
& Consultant © 2017

Award-winning author of
The Silent Seduction of
Self-Talk, Love Letters
from the Edge, Precious
Lord, Take My Hand,
Hallie’s
Heart & other fiction & nonfiction titles

We’re imperfect people. All of us. Definitely me, and yes, you too. 

Even the most godly Christian you’ve ever known is an imperfect sinner. And if they’re honest, they can humbly point out their flaws because they know them well and do battle with them on a regular basis.

But we can’t be complacent about our gossiping tongue, bitter spirit, unforgiving heart, angry outbursts, private moments with porn, potty mouths, condescension toward (spouse, children, siblings, boss, MIL, you know who). Not at least if we claim to love God.

As Christians, our first calling is to become more like Jesus.

This is a lifetime calling. As long as we’re still on earth, we’re going to be working on “the sin[s] that so easily besets us.” You know…the moment when you say or do the things you regret the next instant. But as followers as disciples of Jesus, we should all desire to become like Him. This means intentionally assessing our motives, priorities, attitudes, and actions on a regular basis.

Accountability is a necessary, bittersweet part of growing.

Our love for God should compel us to please Him. He has made us complete in Christ, but we to become more like Him as the Spirit of God transforms us. This is a lifelong process. Unfortunately, we don’t go from sinners to perfect people the moment we receive Christ, even though positionally in the spiritual realm, God sees us as sinless and complete because He sees Jesus’ righteousness in place of our sin.

Instead, we grow as we learn more about God’s love for us. The more we know Him, the more we love Him and release the rights we have falsely believed we had to rule life our way. We begin to substitute His will for ours, which is the essence of Jesus’ heart. His every breath, word, motive, and act were to glorify the Father.

Doing “good things” has nothing to do with a moral checklist.

We measure “good things” by arbitrary preferences or personal and cultural biases. Or we do good things to bolster our pride, gain value in others’ eyes fit in, or for other self-serving reasons.

God defines doing good things as doing the things Jesus would do and being conformed to His character. Paul said, “This will continue until we are . . . mature, just as Christ is, and we will be completely like him” (Ephesians 4:13 CEV).

As believers, we all are works in process. God is on our side and wants to build our character so we become more like Jesus, not so we live from a list of dos and don’ts.

We become like Jesus as our minds are transformed and renewed. 

Transformation is more than following a list of dos and don’ts. It’s learning to live by the fruit of the Spirit–fruit that grows naturally from the spiritual nutrients that flow through our lives through the power of the Holy Spirit.

We lost much of the divine image of God when Adam sinned in the garden of Eden. Jesus restored it on the cross, and our calling is to show the world God’s goodness reflected in Jesus as we bear His image.

What a humbling partnership and blessed calling. Amazing grace…

 

Self-Talk: Cleaning Out the Attic of Your Mind

Cartoon_Bat

Back in the ’80s, my husband I lived in a big turn-of-the century farmhouse in the country. One night I was awakened to a strange pinging noise, followed by a whoosh. I flipped on our bedside lamp and discovered a bat trying to make an escape out our window, only to be foiled with every new attempt and ricocheted back into the room.

I immediately screamed to wake the dead, dove to the floor with a sheet over my head, and began a blind scramble toward our closed bedroom door. My husband Dan beat me out of the room, slamming the door behind him to trap the bat inside (with his screaming wife), and ran downstairs to don his famous Bat Suit: trench coat, baseball cap, and gloves. Then he ran to the basement stairwell and grabbed the BatBasher–his college tennis racket–and ran back to rescue his wife.

After about twenty minutes of my crawling around on the floor under a sheet and bashing my head against the bedroom door, I finally escaped. And after about an hour of hitting and missing, Dan finally bashed the bat and we were able to return to bed with the lights on so I could sleep with my eyes open for the remainder of the night.

Several things became instantaneously clear the moment that night the minute I recognized a bat was in my bedroom:

  1. A predator and enemy had invaded my territory.
  2. If we wanted to get rid of it, Dan and I would have to get out of bed and exert some effort.
  3. We’d need to choose the right weapon for the job.
  4. And just about the time we thought we’d finished the job, another bat would probably invade our territory again. Social creatures those bats–they like to hang out with friends.

Lately I’ve been fighting a lot of battles with self-talk. Pretty funny, right, for the author of a book on self-talk? God’s been teaching me that our battles with self-talk are a lot like cleaning out the “varmint” nests that we build in the attics of our minds.

When it comes to negative self-talk and lies, we must

  1. Recognize and admit that an enemy of our soul has invaded our territory–an untruth or lie that has the power to destroy us or lead us down a path inconsistent with God’s best for us.
  2. Get up and challenge the status quo. We must exert effort. We must do something new. And we must do it with a force that confronts the lie as an enemy.
  3. Choose a weapon appropriate to the task: truth. First and foremost, that truth must be the Word of God.
  4. Go on the attack. Forming new patterns of thinking means becoming proactive in evaluating what we’re thinking, why we believe what we believe, and whether or not our rationale for truth is sound. Galatians 6:3-5 reminds us we’re easily self-deceived: “If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load.”
  5. Shine a bright light in the corners of the attic of your mind. Don’t be surprised what you find there. Engage in the regular process of examining your self-talk and questioning what you tell yourself, your motives, and your goals.

The truth of the matter was, the bat had to die (Yes, die, people. Deal with it.) because it was a disease-carrying, guano-glopping rodent—a threat to my family and me.

And our unbiblical, negative self-talk is also a poisonous enemy of our soul. We’d love to hear from you and what you’re doing to clean out the attic of your mind.