by Rick Warren — May 10, 2021
From Shaped to Make a Difference
“Take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.”
Ephesians 4:22-24 (The Message)
That prideful lie is Satan’s oldest temptation. Satan promised Adam and Eve that if they followed his advice, they would “be as gods” (Genesis 3:5 KJV).
This desire to be a god shows up every time you try to control your circumstances, your future, and the people around you. But you’re a creature; you will never be the Creator. God doesn’t want you to become a god; he wants you to become godly. He wants you to develop his values, attitudes, and character.
You are meant to “take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you” (Ephesians 4:22-24 The Message).
God’s ultimate goal for your life on Earth is not comfort but character development. He wants you to grow spiritually and become like Christ.
Becoming like Christ does not mean losing your personality or becoming a mindless clone. God created your uniqueness, so he certainly doesn’t want to destroy it. Christlikeness is all about transforming your character, not your personality.
God wants you to develop the kind of character described in the Beatitudes of Jesus (Matthew 5:1-2), the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), Paul’s great chapter on love (1 Corinthians 13), and Peter’s list of the characteristics of an effective and productive life (2 Peter 1:5-8).
When you forget that character is one of God’s purposes for your life, you will become frustrated by your circumstances. You may wonder, “Why is this happening to me? Why am I having such a difficult time?” One answer is that life is supposed to be difficult! It’s what enables you to grow.
Many Christians misinterpret Jesus’ promise of an abundant life (John 10:10) to mean perfect health, a comfortable lifestyle, constant happiness, full realization of your dreams, and instant relief from problems through faith and prayer.
They expect the Christian life to be easy. They expect heaven on Earth.
This self-absorbed perspective treats God as a genie who simply exists to serve you in your selfish pursuit of personal fulfillment. But God is not your servant. If you fall for the idea that life is supposed to be easy, you will either become severely disillusioned or live in denial of reality.
Never forget that life is not about you! You exist for God’s purposes, not vice versa. Why would God provide heaven on Earth when he’s planned the real thing for you in eternity? Spend your time on Earth preparing for heaven by building your Christlike character.