18 “So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And 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, NLT
9 “Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. 10 Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.”
“Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.”
The very essence of your discipleship is to change. Maybe that’s why we are still here on planet Earth. We’re simply learning to be like Jesus. Sometimes we can feel the swirl of frustration and depression. Why is it taking so long? We seem to go through the same lesson over and over again. As a bipolar person, I especially understand this, I ‘bounce’ through life without going anywhere. (I think some will relate.)
My sanity comes from God’s consistency—not my own. One name He goes by is the ‘rock.’ This comforts me a great deal. He stays faithful, even when I cannot or don’t. He is the singular stable point in the quicksand of living.
In the midst of stripping “off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds,” we will encounter opposition from evil. 11 “Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil” (Eph. 6:11.) So the battle is within as well as without. I must remind myself of this.
“O God, if in the day of battle I forget You, please do not forget me.”
God supplies all that you need, in spite of these adversities. It can be hard, sometimes it seems like I’ve been ‘slathered in bacon grease’ and let loose in a tiger’s cage. But there can be no victory without opposition. There are three ways to implement sanctification (becoming Christlike.)
- You must ‘put off’ your sinful nature
- You need to ‘put on’ Christ
- You will have to be ‘filled with the Holy Spirit’
This isn’t a formula for Christlikeness; it’s more like lines to help you stay on the path–guidelines. Theoretically, we can simply give these a glancing assent. But that will ‘cut the nerve’ of any victory that you might receive.
One more thing. Prayer is the venue in which this almost always take place. Some pastors wield the need to pray like a club. This is most unfortunate (but be easy on them, they are still learning to shepherd God’s people.) Overlook much, but learn to pray. At its essence, it is just being alone with God for a few vital minutes. But it also can be more than that. It seems prayer is a ‘microcosm’ of your discipleship.
The struggle for holiness is first won in your prayer closet. There are no short-cuts to speak of— nothing quick or easy. But there are also no time-clocks to punch. Every person is different, but all believers will pray. Pray poorly, pray weakly–but by all means pray.
Be patient. Often it will take some time to make it become natural. There is much to learn and unlearn.
“Prayer is a shield to the soul, a sacrifice to God, and a scourge for Satan. “