A trap of the human conscience is to think that God wants us to be loving, gracious, generous, and all those other good things because He wants us to behave ourselves and get along with each other. That would, in fact, be a wonderful by-product of our spiritual maturity, but that isn’t the goal. No, no, the goal is much, much deeper than that: It’s to be like God.
As creatures designed to reflect His image, we’ve fallen tragically short of the goal. God’s restoration offered in the cross of Jesus and the gift of His Spirit puts us back on the image-of-God track. God wants us to be loving, gracious, generous, and all those other good things because He is all of those things. Any good father would want to instill his values and his character into his children. And our God is a very Good Father. He wants us to be like Him.
That’s a different approach to maturity than many of us usually take. We want to fulfill the requirements – at least the minimum – and get by with better-than-average growth. We seek a Christianize form of self-improvement. But God has so much more for us than self-improvement. His greater desire for us is God-conformity. We are drawn by His Spirit into a new role – from servants to children. Both must comply with the Father’s wishes. Only one can really inherit His genes and grow in His character.
Have you approached the Fruit of the Spirit as items on a list – a list that’s primary about you and your growth? Stop. Look higher than that. They are aspects of God’s character that He is fully intent on having you share. He is relentless in pursuit of His image being found in you. He won’t diverge from the goal. Neither should we.
“Follow God’s example.” (Ephesians 5:1)
God wants us to love because He is love. He wants us to be pure because He is pure. He wants us to forgive because He has forgiven. He wants us to give because He has given. The list could go on. And, in fact, it should. Everything we do should be done with one question in mind: Does This Look Like My Father?
Have a conforming weekend. Make it better by worshiping The Lord with those who have made it their priority to look to Him because they know that is the only way to look like Him.
All For Jesus – Nothing More, Nothing Less, Nothing Else.
“He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, The King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see, to Him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.” (1 Timothy 6:15b-16)