The session planners for this month’s Adult ministry content started us for the month with an eight-day devotional guide to reflect upon the character of God. Despite attending the CGL training and knowing the emphasis of the month, the theme proved to be quite a challenge in terms of embracing the character of Christ. Tension between my head and my heart arose in me: my head acquiesce in Christ’s character is beautiful, but my heart was doubtful and sceptical of what he did was really beautiful. For example, in reading the account of Jesus healing the leper by touch in Matthew 8:1-4, I was thinking, ‘it’s not very wise to touch a leper, is it?’, and even, ‘why did Jesus present himself as such a strange person to the Jews?’. At the same time, as I reflected upon the difference between the character of Jesus and mine, I could only think, ‘I’m so far from the standard of Christ’.
Thank God that the month’s Adult Fellowship session refreshed and encouraged my heart. Testimonies from Baoling and Christel reminded me of our identity as children of God and we emulate Christ because Christ has the nature of our Heavenly Father. Also, as we shared our reasons for the gap between our display of the character of Christ and our perceived value in the beauty of His character, I realised that my gap lies in me wanting to protect myself. I don’t want to do risky things like loving people different from me nor allow others to take advantage of my kindness (if there’s any). So I just let my ‘conventional wisdom’ kick in and stop myself from doing ‘radical’ things. But in doing so, I’d devalued the beauty of Christ. I couldn’t see how indefinitely beautiful Jesus is, and much less to want to pursue that.
But God grants me hope through His word. As we read Rom 8:28-30, 2 Cor 3:18 and 1 John 3:2, it thrills my heart to be reminded that it was God who predestined us to be like Christ and it is His work in transforming us. We will be perfectly like Christ when He returns. Baofang’s exuberant sharing that we are all God’s Works-In-Progress who will be perfectly like Christ one day, and that we will be led by God’s Spirit when we heed His prompting and are saturated in the word of God also greatly encouraged me. Growing in Christ-likeness is a possibility. (Actually, this reminds me of an article by John Piper that I’m inspired by as well. Will blog about this later 🙂
My prayer in growing in Christ-likeness is from Michael Card’s song, Know You in the Now:
Lord, deliver me
Break my heart so I can see
All the ways You dwell in us
That You’re alive in me
Perhaps my heart needs to be broken to see how little I value the beauty of Christ’s character, and also so that I would know His Spirit is working in me, changing me.