What’s a good illustration for growing more like Christ?
Sometimes we think of Christian growth is like going to the gym. At the gym, they have posters of huge guys, with giant muscles, on the walls along with mirrors so you can compare yourself. The goal after lifting weights for a while is to end up like Arnold with massive arms, chest and legs.
Christians do the same thing – we have a mental picture of Jesus and say, “That’s what I want to look like. So now I’ve got to work out – go to church, read my bible, pray – do these spiritual things so that I’ll grow my spiritual muscles and look like Jesus one day.”
There some true there. Spiritual disciplines are good – praying, worshiping, reading the Bible and other good books – but comparing ourselves to Jesus not the primary path to spiritual maturity.
I think a better illustration of Christian growth is the muscle development you get when you join a crew of workers building a house. Like “Bob the Builder” who goes out each day to work. The boss says you need to carry those one hundred concrete blocks from here to there. That wears you out.
And the next day a pile of wood which needs to be carried up three flights of stairs which wears you out. Each day as you work, you get a little stronger. Your muscles are growing as you work building a house.
The same is true for us spiritually as we join with God in his building project. Ephesians 2:10 states “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
Spiritual growth doesn’t happen in the abstract. God gives his Spirit so that you can join him in the renew of all things. Yes – those spiritual disciplines are good. But we don’t grow spiritually so that we can look in the mirror and admire our beautiful (spiritual) body.
Growing more like Jesus is normal for a healthy Christian. But let’s just keep in mind that our growth is for a purpose – God’s purpose. And may we all become a little more like Bob the Builder each day.