2 Corinthians 3:
18And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
Can I have the heart of Jesus? What hope do I have of ever having that kind of heart?
The two scriptures above will help many of us understand that obtaining the heart of Christ is a process we undergo when we are born again. We are being transformed into the likeness of Jesus with an ever-increasing glory. God chose us and is working in us to make us just like Jesus.
The key to this process is that it is a process. It is ongoing, never ceasing. And the process isn’t complete until we are actually resurrected from the dead…
1 Corinthians 15:
20But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
In order for our salvation to become complete, we will die and our souls will rest with Jesus. Then our bodies will be reunited with our souls and we will finally be conformed to the likeness of Jesus. (Unless, of course, He returns for us before we die!)
So what do we do in the meantime?
12Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
I don’t want to confuse anyone at this point. We all understand that our works cannot and will not deliver us into salvation. Yet Paul makes reference to working out our salvation. How can I work out my salvation?
The best analogy I’ve ever heard on this subject relates to marriage.
My wife and I are married. So, at what point in our marriage are we legally married? Right, when we each said, “I do.”
So at what point in our salvation are we born again? Right, when we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior. (Jesus said His “I do” at the cross, long before we said ours!)
Now, while I am completely married at the “I do” point, the marriage continues to be worked out. Since we are both imperfect humans, it requires a great amount of work; thus we must work out our marriage in order for it to be fruitful.
Our salvation is much the same. While we are completely forgiven of our sin at the point we accept Christ, there still remains a great amount of work to be done in our relationship with Christ.
My wife accepted me just as I was on our wedding day. Christ accepts us just as we are on the day of our salvation.
Continuing with this mindset of marriage, allow me to explain something important to those of you who are not married yet. After the wedding, we have this thing we call a honeymoon. We need to understand that the honeymoon actually passes quite quickly. The reality of marriage really hits home once the honeymoon is over.
After the honeymoon, the couple begin to understand what God means by the two becoming one. Apart from any sexual connotations, a husband and wife become one in all aspects of life. So much so, that each partner quickly finds that what used to be my own, is now ours. This unity can become quite tense when one partner refuses to allow the other partner to
“intrude” into their personal life. Yet that is exactly what needs to happen for the relationship to thrive. A willingness to allow the other to meddle into our personal life is a key element to a marriage.
So many new Christians experience the “honeymoon” in their relationship with Jesus and become a little dismayed after the honeymoon is over. Those early days of a new Christian’s life are filled with the wonder of grace and forgiveness. We are amazed that Christ accepts us, forgives us and cares for us just as we are.
Just as in marriage, I must work out my relationship with Him. I must allow Him to intrude into my personal life. I need to allow Him to take a place in my heart that was once reserved for me alone. And when I refuse to make Him both savior AND lord of my life, the relationship becomes tense. I loose my joy and fall into the trap of running from the one that I thought I loved.
My point is simply this: Allowing Christ to penetrate our lives, to examine our hearts and to “move in” to our intimate personal spaces is not an option. It is a necessity in our relationship with Him.
I pray that you not only seek the face of Christ, but that you
might also fully open your heart and soul to Him. Make Him the center of your life. Experience a relationship with Him that goes beyond just a Savior. Allow Jesus to intrude into your personal space.
Allow Jesus to be Lord.
Then, and only then, you will begin to see the change that begins on the inside.