The following is a blog post I wrote for a seminary class.
God can take even the vilest person and completely transform them into the most gentle, honorable, and Christ-like human. Becoming Christ-like should be our response to God as a Christian. God can take your heart and peel away all the layers of sin that has built up over the years and make you a new creation. God has done this in my life on several occasions and in response I try to seek what God is doing in my life. Through this process my desire is to become more like Christ.
As Christians seek to become more like Christ, those that do not profess to believe in Christ do not always see it. Many nonbelievers think that Christians are bigoted, homophobic, judgmental, and many more things. This is a sad reality that faces the church. Nonbelievers see the church in a negative light. They refuse to see what God can and will do in their lives. Christians need to grow in the faith and walk with Jesus in order to portray the Christ-likeness that we are to have.
So how does one become Christ-like? Absolute surrender to God is how this is achieved. Absolute surrender to God will have its difficulties but a life of absolute surrender will never be impossible with God. Jesus never promised that it would be easy, in fact He said to take up your cross and follow Him. Absolute surrender is going to be hard but it is well worth it in the end.
If surrendering your life to Jesus will be difficult what is the benefit? You will be blessed. Absolute surrender does not bring total hardships. Absolute surrender helps us deal with the inner conflict that plagues each of us. We are reminded by Paul that there is nothing good that dwells inside of us. When we have not surrendered our lives to Christ we are not doing the good that God desires for us. Without God our minds are wretched. Through Jesus we can be a slave to God, but only after we surrender.
Coming out of the spirit of bondage to sin can be a messy path. First we see the regenerate man. This is the man that knows that the sin inside him is not of him. Next we see the impotent man. This man knows the sin in him is not of his self but cannot find the power to get away from the sin. Then we see the wretched man. The wretched man is going to be unhappy because his heart is broken because he knows that he is not obeying God. Finally we have the man that is almost delivered. This is a man that has shed tears over his sins and has tried to overcome his faults but has failed. It is sad that some people do not get past this point. We will only achieve liberty in Christ when we surrender to His will, then we can conquer our sins and become more Christ-like.
At this point man must develop spiritual disciplines with the sole purpose of pursuing godliness. Moving from the man that knows no wrong to a man after God’s heart takes a spiritual change that leads to a pursuit of godliness. Surrendering to God leads to disciplining oneself to achieve Christ-likeness. These spiritual disciplines include: prayer, worship, evangelism, serving, stewardship, fasting, journaling, solitude, and learning. These are the things that help Christians learn and grow. Just as one cannot grow in their athletic ability without physical discipline, one cannot grow in their spiritual walk without spiritual discipline.
None of this is possible without trust in God. Until man moves past the temporal value system, which places no trust in God, there will be no freedom in Christ. The temporal value system focuses on earthly pleasures such as status and power which leads to emptiness. As the Christian moves from a sinful man to a man that has surrendered to God, he will now focus on an eternal value system. This system is one that focuses on knowing God, being a servant and leads to fulfillment and wisdom.
When looking at the value systems, one must choose which one they want to pursue. Are you seeking emptiness or fulfillment? God has put eternity in our hearts and this is what we must pursue. This pursuit of eternity in heaven also helps Christians to constantly have the thought of being Christ-like at the forefront of their mind. What one thinks is what their priorities will be and this leads to what one does.
Life on this planet is short, but heaven and hell are for eternity. James tells us that we do not know what life will be like tomorrow. We are here only for a little while and then life vanishes. One must pursue Christ while here on earth. There is no second chance after the earthly death. This should be a sobering fact to those that do not believe or on the fence of believing in Christ. My plea for the unbeliever would be to move from the bondage of sin to the freedom of Christ and pursue becoming like Christ.
 Todd Wilson, Real Christian: Bearing the Marks of Authentic Faith, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2014), 18.
 Andrew Murray, Humility and Absolute Surrender, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers Marketing, 2015), 72.
 Mark 8:34, NASB. All scripture references are NASB unless otherwise noted.
 Romans 7:18-25.
 Murray, Humility and Absolute Surrender, 118.
 Ibid., 119.
 Ibid., 120.
 Ibid., 122.
 Donald S. Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2014), 10.
 Kenneth Boa, Conformed to His Image: Biblical and Practical Approaches to Spiritual Formation, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2001), 67.
 Ibid., 67.
 James 4:14.