One Sunday, two dear friends, brothers in Christ, were in a bitter quarrel. Words and actions of great pain and sorrow were exchanged. My heart GRIEVED. I literally shook with anger and tears of frustration to see two brothers in Christ be so unloving toward one another.
You know I'm usually an NIV person. I have a hard time understanding KJV and usually think versions like the Message paraphrase too much, but look at how the Message put Ephesians 4:15. Paul says,”God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love – like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do.” Read also in Mark 3:31-35 (MESSAGE) “Just then his mother and brothers showed up. Standing outside, they relayed a message that they wanted a word with him. He was surrounded by the crowd when he was given the message, “Your mother and brothers and sisters are outside looking for you.” Jesus responded, “Who do you think are my mother and brothers?” Looking around, taking in everyone seated around him, he said, “Right here, right in front of you – my mother and my brothers. Obedience is thicker than blood. The person who obeys God's will is my brother and sister and mother.”
OK, let me explain where I'm going with this. God is obviously teaching us through our trials and tribulations. Let me share with you one more scripture from the Message translation.This is becoming another one of my favorite verses. James 1:2-5 (MESSAGE) “Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides.You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. If you don't know what you're doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You'll get his help, and won't be condescended to when you ask for it. “
Could it be spelled out any clearer than these three passages? We are all one big family in the eyes of God. God is our Father, our loving, protecting, caring, compassionate Father. He desires a relationship with us. He wants us to seek him out and ask questions like: “why?” “how come?”
He knows you don't understand. So He teaches and He guides along the way. We are His children. We are not perfect and we are going to make mistakes. And when we do, He picks us up, loves on us and sets back on the path where we need to be. The closer we get to God, the more we learn to be like Him, and the more we understand that concept.
If this is what it feels to be like Christ, to feel great love and compassion for others, to grieve and hurt when others grieve and hurt. If this is just a small taste of what it's like to be Christ-like, can you imagine the grief God feels for us when we suffer and when we sin? How much pain do we cause Him? Oh Lord, how deep and wide is your love for us.
I'm posting a link to a sermon I found concerning being Christ-like. I encourage you to print it out and read it. Click Here.
The author tells us we learn to become more Christ-like as we go through trials in life. However,the key to all of it is our attitude. If our heart is not ready, trials will only make us bitter, not better. He quotes Philippians 2:5 (NIV) “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”
He says and I quote, ” How you view your experiences will often determine what you gain from them. We will grow in Christ if we view troubles as opportunities to learn to trust God.”
Trials come our way: death, miscarriages, family circumstances, health issues and conflict. With each step, I'm learning to walk closer to God and never leave His side. He loves us and he provides for us. We can learn to be more like Christ. He'll guide us each step of the way.