Do you want to live like Jesus?
Do you want to live a transformed life in relationship with God as your Father, Christ as your brother and the Holy Spirit as your constant help and comfort?
Do you want your Christian faith to not just be a part of your life, but be your life; penetrating and permeating everything you say and think and do?
If you are like me you are probably saying “Yes! Yes! Yes! I want all of those things!” while at the same time remembering how often you’ve started down that road, full of enthusiasm, passion and vision, only to stumble and falter. Maybe you’ve been disappointed by so many “false starts” toward living a truly transformed Christian life that you’re beginning to think it isn’t even possible.
If that’s the case, don’t be discouraged. Transformation is possible, not because I say so but because God does! And the key isn’t with some hidden formula, secret knowledge, or mystical experience only available to the “truly spiritual” (whoever they are). It’s for everyone who puts their trust in Jesus Christ—even you. All that’s required is listening to and trusting what God plainly tells you.
The key to living like Jesus
In Romans 12:2, God tells us the key to living like Jesus. Through the Apostle Paul He says,
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Romans 12:2)
Here it is; the way to transformed living. It’s no secret. God hasn’t made it complicated. It’s fairly simple, but not necessarily easy, so let’s take a closer look at Paul’s words.
When he says, “do not be conformed,” he’s using a passive verb, which means that we’re the receivers of the conforming work, not the doers. In other words he’s telling us not to let ourselves be squeezed by the world into its mould.
Next, when Paul says, “but be transformed,” he’s using another passive verb, which means we’re also not the ones doing the transforming work. God is doing it to us, like a potter moulding the clay (Isaiah 64:8). Simply put, Paul is saying, “Don’t let the world shape you according to its mould; rather let God refashion you to be like Jesus.”
The how of living like Jesus
Now for the important part…the how. How do we put a stop to the world’s “conforming” influence in favour of God’s “transformation?”
The answer: “by the renewing of your minds.”
Now you’re probably saying, “Ok, but how do we do that? How do we renew our minds?”
Good question! The easiest way I can put it is like this: By learning to think like Jesus. I could say a whole lot more than that, but the reason I like this short answer is because it reminds me that even Jesus didn’t live like Jesus just by just trying really hard. Rather, he lived in perfect obedience to God because his mind was perfectly aligned with the mind and will of the Father.
If that was true for Jesus then it must be true for us, which is why Paul went on to say,
…be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may approve what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
You see, living like Jesus means approving of what God approves of; wanting what God wants; and calling good what God calls good, acceptable what he calls acceptable, and perfect what he calls perfect.
But we can do none of those things until we learn to think like Jesus, because as Francis Schaeffer said, “Men do what they think.”
Why Christians struggle to live like Jesus
I think the reason many Christian aren’t living transformed lives is because they’re pursuing God’s heart while ignoring His mind. This is backed up by so much research showing how little Christians read, study and understand the Bible. It also explains why so many Christians today struggle to pinpoint what really sets their values, lifestyles, and perspectives apart from the rest of culture around them.
We fail to live like Jesus because we haven’t learned to think the way he thinks.
The mission of Prepared to Answer is to teach a new generation of Christians to think like Jesus. Yes, living like Jesus is more than just thinking like him, but it is certainly not less. We can’t live with hearts devoted to Christ, after all, if our minds aren’t.
If you’re still reading, that means that something here resonates with you. You sense that despite your sincerest intentions you’re missing an essential key to living a truly transformed Christian life.
If so, I want to invite you to join with me and a community of others who are seeking to live as Jesus did and teaching others to do the same by accepting God’s call to consciously, intentionally, diligently, and faithfully re-train ourselves to think like Jesus.
Ready to continue the journey? Next post in series (2 of 3): How Do I Start Thinking Like Jesus?
Originally published Jul 23, 2018, updated Aug 11, 2020.
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