God's desire for us as disciples of Jesus is that by His grace we would be conformed to the image of Jesus. The thoughts, words, and actions that Jesus displayed in His life and ministry serve as a model for how we glorify God in our lives. Jesus was completely yielded to the Holy Spirit, and it was His chief purpose in life to do His Father's will. Jesus is our identity, and He lives His life through us, so our chief purpose in this life is to be like Him. In our daily walk with Jesus, we learn from Him and His spirit is helping us do His will over our own will. Thus, we are becoming more like Jesus. This is what it means to be conformed to His image. We must remember that by ourselves we cannot be like Jesus. It is by His power in us and our walking with Him that we are changed.
Read Romans 8:28-29.
Discuss: What does God want for those who are called according to His purpose?
Read 2 Corinthians 3:18.
Discuss: What happens as we behold the glory and life of Jesus?
To be conformed to the image of Jesus we must:
SEE the image of Jesus
To be like Jesus, we have to see Jesus. It's through the scripture, particularly the gospels, that the Holy Spirit SHOWS us the life of Jesus. We learn what Jesus valued, what He taught, how He treated people, and how He obeyed God. We must spend time with Jesus through the word of God in order to behold His image. Only when we see Him, can we begin to be changed so as to be like Him.
Read John 16:12-15.
Discuss: What does Jesus say the Holy Spirit will do for us as we seek to know Him?
Read Acts 4:13.
Discuss: What was clearly evident about the apostles?
As we see the life of Jesus, we are changed to be like Him
DESIRE the image of Jesus
Let's face it, our lives are filled with distractions. There are people and things in each of our lives that influence both our minds and our hearts. Like it or not, these things naturally conform us into their images instead of Jesus'. So we must pray and put ourselves in environments that we would grow a desire to be more like Jesus daily. (John 6:66-69)
Read Philippians 3:7-11.
Discuss: Describe Paul's desire in life.
Read Luke 11:9-13.
Discuss: What should we do if we are not being conformed into the image of Jesus?
Praying, being in Christian community, and removing worldly influences grow our desire to be like Jesus.
PURSUE the Image of Jesus
Once we see the image of Jesus and God helps us desire the image of Jesus, we must choose to pursue the image of Jesus. Just like any goal you have in life, being more like Jesus requires hard work. We must strive after Him, always pursuing and wanting Him more, even when discouragement and failure come. The refreshing part about conforming to the image of Jesus is that God's power works in us, along with our striving to accomplish His purpose. (Philippians 1:6)
Read Philippians 2:12-13.
Discuss: Who works to make us more like Jesus?
Read Philippians 3:12-14.
Discuss: What does Paul say he does constantly to be more like Jesus?
We must choose to do what it takes to be conformed to the image of Jesus by pursuing Jesus.
What is your plan to see more of the image and life of Jesus? If you don’t have one, what will you do to get one?
What in your life does not help you grow a desire to be conformed to the image of Jesus?
What is one sacrifice you have made in pursuing Christ’s image? If none, what could you do about that?