Spiritual Growth; March 10, 2020


Philippians 2:5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.

Paul told the Corinthians to “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ,” (1 Corinthians 11:1) but here he makes it even more direct: we are to be like Jesus. Actually, he said this several times in various ways, and every one of those is a challenge to us. However, Jesus Himself said things along this line, particularly in the Upper Room Discourse, in which He talked repeatedly about our “abiding in” Him and the Father and them abiding in each other and in us. The whole thing is totally beyond merely human ability! That’s why we need to submit and rely totally on God. After all, He sent His Son to save us and His Spirit to fill us. That’s precisely how we can be like Jesus. I saw a fascinating medical report just yesterday that illustrates this, I think. A young woman in India was in an accident in which she lost both of her hands. A medically suitable donor was found, but it happened to be a man with much darker skin than the woman. The transplant surgery was successful, and the woman is regaining feeling and use of both hands (which is a huge testimony to the advances of modern medicine) but the fascinating thing is that the complexion of her hands has faded to match that of the rest of her body, and in a photograph I couldn’t tell any difference! They also had a picture from right after the transplant, and the difference was striking. The thing is, the longer we are abiding in Christ, the more we look, think, and act like Him. We aren’t to despair at the differences we are aware of right now, but are rather to understand that Jesus Christ is the goal and the example that the Holy Spirit is working toward, and we are to be enthusiastic participants in that journey.

I was talking with someone about this just this past Sunday! He commented that my recent blog posts indicate that God has been working on me, and I replied that yes, He is very faithful to do so, but that completion will come only before His throne. It is encouraging to look back over my life and see how I have changed over the years, but at the same time I am in total agreement with Paul that the process won’t be completed in this life. (Philippians 3:12-14) With that awareness, I am to have patience with those under my care, extending to them the grace and mercy that God has showered on me. I would love to be able to “wave a wand,” so to speak, and correct all the issues that I see holding people back, but then, I would like to be able to do the same for myself! I am reminded of something He told me personally over 20 years ago. I was lying in bed, not consciously praying but just thinking, “There are so many things I wish were different.” At that point, as clearly as if it had been an audible voice, I heard Him say to me, “How do you think I feel?” I was naturally blown out of the water! However, the difference is that God is omnipotent, as I obviously am not. He still has His perfect plan, and He is working toward it. I am to participate in that plan by consistently, consciously, submitting myself to Him, doing what He indicates to do and holding back from anything on which He puts a check. Actually, that is exactly what Jesus did, and that is what Paul is telling us here to do. (John 5:19) I’m not to be such a perfectionist that I give up when I don’t get it right, which is often enough, but keep seeking the help of the Holy Spirit to be and do what He desires, for His glory.

Father, thank You for this reminder, and for Your incredible, gracious patience with me. Help me keep growing as You intend, being an effective channel of Your grace to others in the process, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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