A pursuit of a practical growth in godliness is at the very core of the true christian life. We live by the book in order to learn to live in accordance with God’s perspective on reality rather than our own. The challenge of the true christian life is to consistently hold to this kind of lifestyle and not be thrown off by the world that surrounds us.
The difficulty of the matter is the fact that we are constantly tempted and distracted by many things that work to get us off this mindset. The true christian life is constantly filled with snags and bumps, and it is always a fight to maintain a strong practical pursuit of Christ-likeness.
In order to stay on track the mind of the christian is to be constantly under the influence of the Word of God, and a constant examination of one’s own personal thoughts and motives. The Bible is a book that constantly calls us to honestly and openly examine ourselves to see wether or not we are truly walking in the truth (2 Cor. 13:5; Lam. 3:40; 1 John 1:5-9).
One particular tricky snag that I have hit in the last few months is the area of wrong motives. Something that I have never noticed before is the fact that although I can be seeking to live out my convictions, very often I can be sucked into doing that for the wrong reason.
I pursue change because I want to be as mature as I have been in the past in a certain area, or because I want to be as mature as the godly people in my life. In other words, I notice that I am easily sucked into seeking to establish my own solidity and maturity in my practical life. And so, although I am pursuing Christ-likeness in my life I am never really getting anywhere because my focus easily becomes self centered rather than Christ centered.
This quickly becomes frustrating because in this kind of lifestyle change stops happening. Although I notice all the areas in which I need to change, I fail actually do it because I am driven by a wrong motivation. As a result you just keep slipping in the practical areas of life that you know you should have already mastered.
The Apostle Paul gives us the perfect and ultimate motive to pursue Christ-likeness in Romans 11:33-12:2 :
“33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! 34 For who has known the mind of the Lord,or who has been his counselor? 35 Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid? 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
1 Therefore I appeal to you, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
One simple principle that we can pull out of here: the motive of christian worship and change is always a reaction to the wonder of what he has done in the Gospel. If we separate any aspect of our life from the gospel it quickly looses focus, significance and conviction.