“See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him. Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure.
Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God. And you know that Jesus came to take away our sins, and there is no sin in him. Anyone who continues to live in him will not sin. But anyone who keeps on sinning does not know him or understand who he is.
Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it shows that they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous. But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil. Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s life is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they are children of God. So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the devil. Anyone who does not live righteously and does not love other believers does not belong to God.” 1 John 3:1-10, NLT
We live in a world where people constantly imitate others—their favorite football player, movie star, or business guru. They wear the same clothes as them and imitate their behavior; but their attempts to be like them are doomed to failure, for they have neither the wealth, good looks, nor skills to achieve what they did.
And some Christians’ attempts to be like Jesus are equally doomed to failure. They try so hard, putting so much effort into becoming like Christ; but it doesn’t work. In fact, they are left disappointed and frustrated. And yet, God’s goal is for us to become like Christ (1 John 3:2).
What we must realize is this: We cannot become like Christ simply by our own human effort—praying harder, reading the Bible more, giving more, or fasting (valuable though these things are). We become more like Christ as “the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image” (2 Corinthians 3:18). This is the Spirit’s work, not ours! And yet, for that to happen, we have to yield to him. This means making right choices—choices to forgive, serve, sacrifice, love, give.
For it is as we make these choices that the Spirit enables us to live them out; and as we do, we discover that—little by little—we are becoming less like our old selves and more like our Savior.