No one drifts into godliness. It takes focused effort to become more and more godly. That’s good news! You can actually participate in God’s work to make you more like Himself.[featured-image single_newwindow=”false”]
Here are 3 Steps you cannot afford to skip:
1. Desire – If you are really a Christian, you already possess the desire to become godly. It comes as part of the salvation package. You just need to tap into it. Call it “hunger,” “longing,” “yearning;” its all the same thing. You desire God. You desire to know God. You desire to be like God (called Christlikeness). There are times when this desire surfaces more strongly – at a retreat, in a conversation with a good friend, as you read scripture or a good book, while viewing a gorgeous sunrise/sunset, or in worship. You feel a hunger to know God and become like Him.
However, the stirring of your desire does not change you to be like God.
At the same time, desire can be the initial factor which drives you to practical efforts to become godly. Your ardent desire for godliness energizes you forward. You let nothing stop you. You press on towards the goal of godliness with all you’ve got carried along by God’s grace.
Desire is the God-given force that you live into. It is within you. Let it flourish.
How greatly do you desire God and to be like Him?
2. Vision – Imagine what being like God would look like.
You’d be filled with love, mercy, goodness, beauty, patience, joy, peace, gentleness, humility, compassion, forgiveness, freedom, and contentment.
Picture yourself easily radiating these virtues towards your spouse, children, family members, friends, co-workers, neighbors, enemies and strangers.
See Jesus, God-in-the-flesh human being, living a fully human life in union with the Father and Spirit. See yourself doing the same.
Consider yourself enduring pain, rejection, shame, sorrow, heartache, misery, persecution, reviling, and evil without sinning. Can you even imagine?
3. Intention – This is the decision to do something about your desire and vision of being like God. You can actually follow through with your desire and vision. There is nothing unbiblical or wrong with taking practical steps to becoming like God. In fact, take St. Paul’s invitation to “train yourself for godliness” seriously. Do something about it. Don’t just think about it. Don’t just talk about it. Don’t just wish it would happen.
You don’t drift towards godliness. It takes focused effort.
I am thankful for Dallas Willard’s VIM paradigm (Renovation of the Heart, ch. 5) which helps clarify the process of spiritual change. Vision, Intention, and Means are necessary for the journey to godliness. I added desire which kick-starts the process. I will write about “means” in the next post.
You can become more and more like God. Begin by taking these steps. Don’t skip them and move on to practices or exercises. You will falter and ultimately give up or settle for something less.
Take time right now or soon to revisit these three steps. Enter into them. Consider each step. What do you sense God inviting you into?