Sunday, April 23, 2017

April 23, 2017 … Growing In Christlikeness

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 113 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …   Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of the group Unspoken singing… Call It Grace … poignantly singing the truth that surrender to God’s saving/sanctifying grace reshapes Christians into Christlikeness.

Highlight Verse[s]: Philippians 1:6 … [NLT] … 
6 And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. 
… Paul’s prayer for all born-again Christians.
Highlight Passage [context]: Philippians 1:1-11 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Paul expresses his firm belief that his fellow Christians will be completed in their quest for Christlikeness and kingdom fruitfulness.

Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Luke 9: 23 [NLT] … 
23 Then He said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me….” 
… Jesus on what it takes, in the process of sanctification, to become more like Christ. 

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Romans 12:1-2 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Paul exhorts Christians to surrender to God’s Spirit and avoid becoming like the world.

Reference Passage #3 [NKJV] : … 2nd Corinthians 5:17, 12:9 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… God, thru Paul, showing what it will take from God’s grace to make the transformation to Christlikeness complete.

Reference Passage #4 [NKJV] : … Galatians 5:22-23 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… As we grow in Christ, we become more and more like His character traits … i.e., more fruitful as the Spirit reshapes us into Christlike character.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Jennifer Benson Schuldt, used a personal story to illustrate that God grows us into His images and, in the process, the world changes in our perception. The ODB author wrote: For three consecutive years, my son participated in a piano recital. The last year he played, I watched him mount the steps and set up his music. He played two songs and then sat down next to me and whispered, “Mom, this year the piano was smaller.” I said, “No, it’s the same piano you played last year. You’re bigger! You’ve grown.” 

Yes, … and that’s how the world seems to a real Christian growing in Christlikeness. He/she is being transformed [2Cor. 5:17] and the world, over time, shrinks in it’s importance [Rom. 12:2]. And our fruitfulness in Christ (Gal. 5:22-23) becomes sweeter and our character matures into the character (i.e., image) of Christ.

Today’s ODB entry causes us (well, at least me) to relook at the character of Christ in the fruit of the Spirit; and I do see that God’s Spirit has changed me from what I was like when I came to surrender to His saving and sanctifying grace [hear today’s song]. Those fruit of the Spirit (again, Gal. 5:22-23) have grown in my life. And the world does seem to be getting smaller in significance as my reliance on God’s grace grows (see 2Cor. 12:9). As Paul wrote to the Christians in Philippi, I see that He is completing me into His image [see the highlight passages].

Fellow Christian, ... how about you?

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … dear Lord, … help me to grow even more to be like You today … even more tomorrow. … Amen

Blogger Note:  Everyday during this year, my daily devotional blogs are influenced by the reading and study of the online devotional blog entitled Our Daily Bread, distributed online via email by RBC Ministries.  If you GO TO THIS LINK on the date of my blog, you can read/study the ODB blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

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