Be like Christ: How to Grow in Christlikeness

Young woman praying and worshipping outdoors in the evening

To be honest, I feel as if I am the last person who should be writing about Christlikeness. My sin has been evident today, illuminating the selfish, insecure, and harsh parts of my soul that, despite my efforts to crush them, still loom. Being like Christ is an impossible task for a woman to do alone. Praise God, He has not asked me to become like His Son through my own power.

As silly as this reminder may sound, you, as I did, may need to hear it: Becoming like Christ is not something you can do out of your own power. We cannot be like Him on our own—if we could get ourselves to perfection, then we wouldn’t need the gospel! Fulfilling the call to be “conformed to the image of the Son” (Rom. 8:29) happens only one way, and that is through the power of the Holy Spirit in us. Therefore, God promises the good work He has started in us He will bring to completion (Phil. 1:6).

Pursue Christlikeness

So, what does this mean for daily life? How do we pursue Christlikeness and join the Lord in the work He has started in our hearts? We know this is not of our own strength, but we are also called to “be holy, as I [God)] am holy” (1 Peter 1:16), so we do have a part in the process. The answer to that question and the key to doing it is found in 2 Corinthians 3:18:

“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image [of Christ].”

Our part in this process is the role of the beholder. Paul admonishes us to behold the glory of the Lord because he knows to gaze upon the beauty of what Christ has done is the only thing that can truly change our hearts. Just as we take on traits of those we spend the most time with, we take on Jesus’ attitude, character, and values when we seek Him with all our hearts.

When we choose to look upon Christ, soaking in His beauty, sitting at His feet, we are transformed to be like Him. Our hearts change, and we want to follow Him into righteousness. Sin is killed, chains are broken, forgiveness is found, and true freedom and confidence are granted to the deepest parts of us. The only way to be like Christ is to see Him, know Him, and follow Him.

Behold Him

Here are a few ways you can behold Christ in your daily life:

  • Pray through the day. Invite the Lord into your daily decisions, actions, and plans. Ask for wisdom, thank Him for the ways you see Him working, and call on Him for help when you need it. Live your daily life with Jesus.
  • Meditate on the Word of God. Memorize verses, handwrite copies of Scripture, pray through a book of the Bible, or post verses in places where you will see them often. We get to know someone by pondering what they say, so make it a priority to hide God’s Word in your heart (Psalm 119:11).
  • Study the life of Christ. Pray your way through the Gospels, asking God to show you new things about Jesus and how His example leads us in the way of abundant life (John 10:10).

Selah Ulmer is a recent seminary graduate in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.


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