When Jesus calls us to follow him, he’s not just inviting us to go where he’s going; he’s challenging us to imitate him while we walk through life with him. When we respond to him, we agree to begin a process of transformation called discipleship. But as we look at the first disciples, we see that their transformation did not go smoothly. To be sure, one early group of disciples succeeded well enough in this endeavor that people outside of the group called them “Christians,” that is “little Christs.” But, at times, we all experience doubts that we’ll ever reach our goal. Fortunately, God not only energizes our transformation through the Holy Spirit, he also provides instructions we can use to fine tune our faith when we become so discouraged that we feel like giving up. For the next few weeks, we’ll examine a few of them.
God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose … that we become conformed to the image of his Son, so that he would be the preeminent among many siblings. Romans 8:28–29
“Don’t try this at home!” If parents were so powerfully pleased with one child, that they orchestrated family life so all the children would become like the preferred one, they would be roundly and rightly criticized. We would be correct to label them as “bad” parents. Yet this is exactly the way God governs the universe. He is so pleased with the way Jesus lived, that he commands those who love him to be Christ’s disciples—those who are learning to live as he lived. More amazingly, he manages the unfolding of time and space to guarantee that his purpose will be accomplished. Is God, then, a “bad” parent? No. While it would not be good for any of us to be molded into the image of a sinful sibling, it would be to our advantage that we who love God become like Jesus. These advantages can be summarized as experiencing the unity of the fellowship of the members of the Trinity. For in this fellowship we enjoy the fullness of the glory of God: When we are finally as similar to the Son as we can be, we will have the same access to the Father’s grace as he.
Sovereign God, as you mold me to be more like Jesus, help me to realize that the trials I experience in life are perfectly suited to this glorious outcome.