That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy. Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him. After God made that decision of what his children should be like, he followed it up by calling people by name. After he called them by name, he set them on a solid basis with himself. And then, after getting them established, he stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what he had begun. So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us - who was raised to life for us! - is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us.
Becoming more like Christ is the desire of every believer, and it is encouraging to know that God has the same desire for us. In fact, the Bible says that God “predestined [believers] to be conformed to the likeness of his Son” (Romans 8:29). Making us Christlike is God’s work, and He will see it through to the end (Philippians 1:6).
However, the fact that God will transform us into Christlikeness doesn’t mean we can sit back and be carried to heaven “on flow’ry beds of ease.” The process demands our willing cooperation with the Holy Spirit. Becoming more Christlike requires both divine power and the fulfillment of human responsibility. There are three things which contribute to our being more Christlike: our surrender to God, our freedom from sin, and our spiritual growth.
1) Becoming more Christlike is the result of surrender to God. Romans 12:1-2 says that worship involves a total self-dedication to God. We volunteer our bodies as “living sacrifices,” and our minds are renewed and transformed. When Jesus said, “Follow me,” Levi left his money tables immediately (Mark 2:14); so do we freely surrender all we have for the sake of following the Lord. As John the Baptist said, “He must become greater; I must become less” (John 3:30), so we focus more and more on Jesus and His glory, losing ourselves in His will.
2) Becoming more Christlike is the result of freedom from sin. Since Jesus lived a sinless life, the more we consider ourselves “dead to sin” (Romans 6:11) and live a life of purity, the more like Jesus we will be. As we offer ourselves to God, sin is no longer our master, and we are more clearly identified with Christ (Romans 6:1-14). Jesus invites us to follow Him, and we have His example of obedience (John 15:10), sacrificial love (John 15:12-13), and patient suffering (1 Peter 2:19-23). We also have the example of the apostles, who modeled Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1). When it comes to restraining sin in our lives, we have divine help: praise the Lord for the Word of God (Psalm 119:11), the intercession of Christ (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25), and the power of the Spirit who indwells us (Romans 8:4; Galatians 5:16)!
3) Becoming more Christlike is the result of Christian growth. When we are first saved, we are immature in wisdom and knowledge and inexperienced in grace and love. But then we grow. In each of these things, our charge is to become stronger—and more Christlike. “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). “May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else” (1 Thessalonians 3:12).
Right now, God works in us: “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” (2 Corinthians 3:18). One day, however, the process will be complete: “When he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). The promise of being fully Christlike in the future is in itself motivation for becoming more Christlike now: “Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure” (1 John 3:3).