The Race to Christ-likeness

Dear Church Family,

Greetings in Jesus name!
In Romans 8:29 Paul writes that we are predestined to be conformed to the image of Jesus. Image, in this case, means to be similar in appearance (conduct), nature or character. It is the will of God that we are Christ-like in thought, word and deed. That is accomplished through the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives as He leads, teaches, guides and works in our hearts so that we become increasingly like Jesus. I understand that is a tall order and anyone being honest with themselves, or others, would have to admit that they are not completely Christ-like. After all, Christ was without sin. 
The race to Christ-likeness is a marathon, not a sprint. You will actually be moving toward the goal of Christ-likeness your entire life unless, of course, you are backslidden. While you can never condone or make room for sin, you also cannot “beat yourself up” because you sin. I heard one of my favorite theologians say something to this effect. “When you get to the end of your day, instead of feeling terrible about what you did (if you sin), try thanking God for what you didn’t do.” What are you battling? Instead of letting that be the focus of your day, maybe you should think about what you used to battle and spend your time thanking God for those victories you have already won. You will win your current battle because “He who has done a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.” You didn’t win the last battle with your strength and wisdom. You won it in His strength and wisdom. Yes, you have your part, but God has the biggest part and He knows exactly what it is going to take to get you to victory or Christ-likeness.
Pray that God would make you fruitful (fruit of the Spirit), which is evidence of your Christ-likeness. We often pray for stuff, especially material things, but we should pray just as intently to be like Jesus. Also, make a conscience effort to deal with others in a Christ-like manner, remembering that the greatest principle in dealing with others is love. 
Don’t get discouraged. You may not be like Jesus yet, but you are closer than when you started!
Be blessed!
Pastor