How Can You Grow in Christlikeness?

Kerri Johnson with Graffiti 2 Works WorldCrafts artisans

What does it mean to grow in Christlikeness? The obvious answer is to continuously become more like Christ—in your attitudes and actions as well as in your interests and intents. Sounds like a daunting task, doesn’t it?

Perhaps the more challenging question is not “what” but “how.” How do we succeed in becoming more Christlike in our daily lives? How do we reflect the perfect Son of God in our day-to-day interactions with our fellow flawed human beings? Is pursuing such a lofty goal realistic or even possible?

While we can’t grow in Christlikeness on our own, we can rely on the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. In the words of John 16:13, “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth.”

Become an Imitator of Christ

As we lean on God’s Spirit, what traits of Jesus Christ should we imitate in our quest to become more like Him? Here are a few options: love, compassion, humility, forgiveness, honesty, integrity, service, sacrifice—the list could go on and on.

Once we seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance in our pursuit of Christlike characteristics, another valuable tool is the example of other believers. That’s where my wife, Pam, and I have been blessed in our cross-country trek as WMU national correspondents. We consistently have the privilege of interacting with faithful followers of Christ who often are willing to sacrifice personal ease, financial security, and the comforts of home to share Christ’s message of hope and peace in needy and challenging settings.

A few inspirational examples we have encountered on our travels include

  • Becky Ellison, a Christian Women’s Job Corps/Christian Men’s Job Corps strategist for WMU of Texas. She has been battling cancer for almost a decade. Amid the ups and downs of dealing with the disease, her life philosophy has become, “God’s got this”—regardless of what tomorrow holds. What could be more Christlike?
  • Bessie and Lester McPeek, known throughout eastern Kentucky as the Diaper Lady and the Diaper Man. Their ministry, God’s Love from a Diaper Bag, has given away more than 2 million diapers to single moms, unemployed families, and others in the economically troubled region. The McPeeks also offer parenting classes, Bible studies, and a sense of hope, acceptance, and self-worth for program recipients. Sounds a lot like Christ’s call to minister to “the least of these.”
  • Kerri Johnson, director of Graffiti 2 Works in New York City’s South Bronx. She and her family relocated from their hometown in West Virginia to answer God’s call to missions. Kerri now supervises a small group of WorldCrafts artisans, helping them grow personally, professionally, and spiritually. “We aren’t doing anything that anyone else can’t do anywhere else in the world,” she explains. “We are trying to just focus on loving people.”

Whether God calls you to minister in your community, serve on a far-flung missions field, or pray for and support others who are on the front lines of Christian ministry, He definitely calls each one of us to become more like Christ. How? According to John 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

By Trennis Henderson, WMU national correspondent

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