It’s easy to go through the motions, pretending to be devoted to Jesus. People can use religious words, attend church, and sing worship songs, but still never allow Christ to sit on the throne of their lives. Honoring Jesus as the central figure of your life, putting Him first in every decision and choice, and letting Him change you from the inside out is difficult. That’s why so many people settle for a cheap imitation instead of pursuing an authentic spiritual life.
Who are you when no one is watching you?
Many people claim to follow Jesus, but few live as though they are following Jesus. Godly character produces a Christlike life, but ungodly character produces a Christless life. Who are you when no one is watching you? That’s the real question and test of your character. That’s who you truly are.
Even though everyone has fallen short of God’s glorious standard (Romans 3.23 NLT), God promises to take who you are and transform you to look more and more like Jesus (Romans 8.29 NLT).
How does that kind of transformation happen?
The most straightforward answer is that it happens through a personal relationship with Christ. At the moment of salvation, the Holy Spirit enters our hearts and starts to bring order out of the chaos within us. According to the Apostle Paul, “we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him” 2 Corinthians 3.18 TLB.
But how, specifically, does the Holy Spirit transform us? Most often, He uses the tools of crisis and community. Think about what happens when you experience a crisis. Your normal, comfortable life is disrupted, and you’re faced with a situation in which you have to depend on God’s promises and strength. As you rely on God, your faith is stretched and you discover that God’s Word can be trusted.
Crisis develops character.
Romans 5.3-4 NLT says, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.” Crises have a way of revealing who we are and character is forged in the fire of trials. Crisis develops character.
The Spirit also uses community to shape our character. As we show up for each other, pray for each other, and hold each other accountable, our character grows.
In Romans 13.12 NLT, Paul says, “The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living.” Because our old habits can be like dirty clothes, we have to make a choice to take them off and leave them behind. Belonging to a small group with other Christ followers can help you do that. Through transparency, accountability, and confidentiality, you’re able to put on the new clothes that Christ has for you.
This blog features an excerpt from one of our Student Series books, Invest In A Few.