Christianity is often seen as having as its goal simply getting to heaven. Something akin to what we see as the end in John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress. In our culture it has often been a matter of simply praying a prayer, getting assurance of salvation, and hopefully growing from there.
But a Christian is one who is in Christ Jesus. And being in Christ means to be becoming like him. Like Jesus, no less. Paul said he wanted to be like Jesus even in Jesus’ death. A necessary part of becoming like him.
Of course it is the Spirit who transforms us from glory to glory into Christ’s resemblance. And God uses his word, as well as life to bring that to pass. In the community of Jesus, along with others in Jesus, in mission in and for the world.
Do we see Jesus in each other? Is Christ being formed in us individually and together? Those are key questions. I see Jesus clearly in people of our church, including those who adamantly oppose my political views. In spite of our differences, the bottom line in being a Christian is to be a follower of Christ. And the bottom line in that is that followers are to become more and more like their Masters.
If this is not true in us, then we need to pack it all up and go home. Christianity means nothing really, if we are not becoming more and more like Jesus. We are then missing the boat.
What is Jesus like? We see that in the gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. And we read about it in the rest of scripture which both gives us what Jesus fulfills, and then how he fulfills it through the church.
That is my goal, in the impossibility of who I am with reference to this: to become more and more like Jesus himself. And that becoming is both an individual, personal endeavor, and a communal endeavor. We can’t become like Jesus on our own, yet it is we no less who are to be becoming like him.
Jesus himself promises to be with us in this endeavor as our loving Master, right beside us:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”