The newness of life experience when we become followers of Jesus brings about changes in us. Previous studies have described some of those changes and how they become reality in our lives. The question arises often concerning those changes and what God desires our outcome to be.
Basically it can be described with a phrase used in Romans 8:9, and the change characterizes Christians as being "in the likeness of Christ." If you are like me, then you know that's going to be a pretty big order to fill. We have studied the life of Jesus and seen his encounters with people, his teachings in the parables, his love toward the outcasts, and ultimately his death on the cross. We come to know him as a teacher and as Lord and Savior, but now in Romans 8 God reveals his plans and intentions for us to be just like his son.
A vast majority will quickly admit they can't do that. All people will recall various sins and blunders in their lives and immediately give up any hope of being just like Jesus. The good news is we don't have to depend on our own goodness or our own abilities to be that good. In fact, relying on those things will lead us further away from being Christ-like. So we must conclude that for us to be like Jesus, the power to accomplish the task does not come through our strength or goodness.
In 2 Corinthians 3, Paul writes a section of scripture which describes the new covenant in contrast with the law of Moses, explaining how the new covenant is more glorious than the old. There is some information we need near the end of Paul's discourse. " And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." 2 Corinthians 3:18
The transformation process is a result of his work in us, through the Spirit. That means as I open up more and more of my life to the control of Jesus, then my life externally, will demonstrate the things of Jesus. This is a progressive change as we yield ourselves to his direction and the only thing that can keep the transformation from happening is us.
This is the big test of our faith. Do we trust him enough to turn our lives over to him for his control and direction? We cannot answer yes to that if we are harboring those hidden sins that no one will ever find out about. It cannot happen if we continue to show anything less than love toward our fellow man.
The life in the Spirit is a life that is controlled by the Spirit. Our decisions, our families, our jobs, and even our relationships should be controlled by the Spirit which dwells within us. Paul said it like this in Romans 8:11," And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you."