Last week, we looked at the basic beliefs in becoming a Christian. That is our salvation past. Today we come to Part 2: Salvation Present, How To Become More Like Jesus. As we grow up from childhood, through our teenage years and into adulthood, there is something surprising that happens. We tend to become more like our parents. The characteristics of our parents that we have liked and disliked are now being seen in us as we grow up. We open our mouth and we hear mom’s voice or dad’s voice. We look in the mirror and there stands our dad or mom. We are surprised and shocked when it happens.
Without realizing that it is happening, we tend to take on the characteristics of the people around us. We take on the characteristics of our parents and our role models. It doesn’t matter if the characteristic is good or bad, we begin to follow and imitate our role models.
On a spiritual level, this is exactly what we are supposed to do with Jesus as our role model. We are to grow and become like him. We are to take on his characteristics. This is what we call salvation present or spiritual growth. However, we must be intentional about it. It doesn’t happen by accident or haphazardly. If I am going to become like Jesus, then I must spend time with Jesus. If I am going to take on his characteristics, then I must know and learn those characteristics.
There are many ways to participate in discipleship. There are many methods of growing spiritually. Here are three specific ways to become more like Jesus. This is not an exhaustive list, but I pray it will help you.
- In order to become more like Jesus, I must trust God to escape temptations.
Salvation past is a time when Jesus sets us free from the penalty of sin. Salvation present then is a time when Jesus sets us free from the power of sin. With the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we have the ability to overcome the power of sin. Look at what 1 Corinthians 10:13 says. “You are tempted in the same way that everyone else is tempted. But God can be trusted not to let you be tempted too much, and he will show you how to escape from your temptations.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 (CEV) God doesn’t tell us that we will never be tempted; instead, he tells us that we will be tempted just like everyone else. He allows us to be tempted every day. His promise is that he will never allow us to be tempted to such a point that we cannot handle it. And how do we handle it? We look for the way of escape. This also is his promise. He will provide a way for us to overcome temptation. So trust God for his escape from temptation.
- In order to become more like Jesus, I must look for opportunities to share my faith.
Jesus made us this promise in Acts 1. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8 (NIV) Jesus promises us here that he will empower us with the Holy Spirit so that we might witness about him to others. Not only does the Holy Spirit give us the ability to overcome the power of sin, he also gives us the ability to share our faith in Jesus. Sharing our faith in Jesus is simply telling other people what Jesus means to us, what he has done for us, and what he is doing for us.
A second scripture from Colossians encourages us make the most of every opportunity in order to share our faith. “Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.” Colossians 4:5-6 (NLT) So we have the instruction from Jesus to witness. We have his Holy Spirit to empower us. And we have the encouragement to look for opportunities to share our faith with those who are not believers.
- In order to become more like Jesus, I must work out my salvation.
Once we are saved, the Bible instructs us to work out our salvation. “Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” Philippians 2:12-13 (NIV) The idea to work out our salvation means to carry salvation to its ultimate conclusion, which is to be like Jesus. We are to make progress toward being like Jesus. It is similar to the way a math student works out a math problem. The math student carries the math problem out to its conclusion. So we are to carry out our salvation each and every day to its ultimate conclusion to be more like Jesus. And we are to do that with fear and trembling. This simply means that we are to rely on the help of the Holy Spirit. The verse says, “for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” We are to give completely of ourselves to the control of God so that he can work in us, molding us, and shaping us more and more like Jesus.
Will you become more like Jesus?
Next week, we will look at salvation future.