To be like Jesus- shaped and molded
“…to be conformed to the likeness of His Son.” (Romans 8:29)
When we were unbelievers we were pressed into the mold of the world. (Romans 12:2) When we get saved we end up getting pressed into the mold of the church. We talk, and act, and worship in certain ways, just because we see our peer group doing it! We go right from one mold into another. But God’s Word is pretty plain about whose mold we’re to take on:
“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever increasing glory…” (1 Corinthians 3:18)
We need to be pressed into the only mold that will do us any good at all… Jesus.
The religious mold
It seems very few Christians ever escape the mold of religion. I for one had a great start. I met Jesus outside of the context of “religion”. But it didn’t take long before I was acting out some roles, and playing some parts, that really didn’t fit me. And it happened without me trying; I just wanted to love God and I patterned myself after what I saw in the church.
I saw and learned a lot of things that had nothing to do with Jesus, things I could find nowhere in God’s Word. There I was shaped and molded! But in whose image? I’ve done some pretty foolish stuff in the name of being spiritual, just because it was the latest thing going. There finally came a day when I asked myself, “Why am I doing this? Would Jesus do this?” It was foolish! Just so much spiritual posturing.
The world looks at us and they don’t want to have anything to do with it. They think this is what knowing Jesus is all about, and they don’t want to have anything to do with Him either! And we’re to blame; we represent Him in some pretty strange ways sometimes!
Anyway, there came a time when I really began questioning why I do what I do. I realized I had become pretty religious, and the fact was, a lot of stuff had to go if I was going to get real again. I began praying for God’s help. I dropped some practices that were pretty hard to find in God’s Word, and stopped acting in certain ways that just seemed foolish; I wanted to be pressed into Christ’s image. Wasn’t that the whole point?
“…to be conformed to the likeness of His Son” (Romans 8:29)
When you go through a self examination like this, you will feel the pressure to conform-Christians can be pretty dogmatic about things that God says little or nothing about! It can be hard to leave the “religious” and embrace the “real”; you may not get a lot of support. Suddenly you’re not in the mold! Don’t be surprised if the church looks at you strangely. (Please, make sure that the reason you get the strange looks is not because you are strange!) Follow His Word, be molded in His image; this is a call to be like Jesus!
In the church, but molded in HIS image
Don’t misunderstand me… we need the church. The church is His body; you can’t just take the head, (Jesus), and leave His body behind! If you’re going to take the head you have to take the body too… they go together! It’s important that we’re in fellowship with each other and connected. That being said, don’t mistake following the crowd with following Jesus. They are often vastly different. Jesus said, “Come follow me…”
Be true to Jesus, and all that He’s called you to be… He did not create you to be a clone. Let’s not kid ourselves, peer pressure in the church is strong. Yes, God called you to be in the church, but molded into Jesus’ image.
”Lord, I want to be more like you, conformed to your image; help me see what that is. Please help me shed the things that are just manmade religion, and strengthen the things that are making me more like you. Bring me into real relationship with You, and your Body, the church.”