GROWING INTO HIS LIKENESS
Jesus Christ died for us and rose again so that we may become like Him. The Bible says, “Those whom God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son” (Rom.8:29). It is our goal that “we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Eph.4:13).
We shall now look at one of the aspects of becoming like Jesus Christ. “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1Thess.5:18).
Lesson In My Life
A friend of mine in Canada gifted me a copy of the book Something More by Catherine Marshall. In 1975, when I was returning to India, I read how Catherine learnt to give thanks in everything. On that day, for the first time I thanked God for everything that had happened in my life, including a lot of suffering.
If I had not given thanks in everything, I would have been unhappy about certain things and would not have realised that God is the blessed Controller of all things. After I thanked God for everything, I had no grievance against God and I rejoiced in Him. Praise God.
Example Of Paul
Paul had practised what he wrote. He and Silas had been severely beaten and punished for their labour of love and their preaching. However, at night they sang hymns to God in the jail in the city of Philippi. This is extraordinary and wonderful.
On the way to Rome, Paul and other prisoners underwent a shipwreck due to a storm. They had gone without food for 14 days. Then Paul encouraged them to take some food to survive. He took bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all (Acts 27:35).
Paul’s life was full of thanks to God. He wrote, “I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world” (Rom.1:8). “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1Cor.15:57). “Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift!”—Jesus Christ (2Cor.9:15). Paul thanked God for believers such as in Thessalonica and those who risked their lives for him. “I thank my God every time I remember you,” he writes to the Philippians. Though he might have suffered in prisons, he wrote wonderful epistles from there and encouraged others, “Rejoice in the Lord always.”
Example Of Richard Wumbrand
Mrs Safia Mirza of the Assembly of God, Secunderabad, shared about her visit to Richard Wumbrand’s prison cell in Romania. Richard spent three years in a 3’ x 3’ x 3’ cell. One day he asked himself whether he was in hell. But he saw a glass of water kept for him, and thanked God for it—in hell no one could find water! Once he became very sick and the doctors said that he would die in two weeks. So Richard was transferred to a special Room #12 for such people. He gave thanks to God that in that room he could share the good news of Jesus with those who were about to die. His life was spared and now Room #12 has become a church in Romania. Altogether Richard spent 14 years in communist prisons for being a follower of Jesus. He remained sane and full of spirit because he thanked God in all circumstances. When he became a free man, he preached in countries such as India and the USA.
Conclusion It is a great thing to thank God in all circumstances and thus do His will. You may now take a few minutes to thank Him for everything. We grow in Christ-likeness in other ways too. To mention a few, by forgiving and loving our enemies; doing God’s will and not ours; having victory over temptation and overcoming the world. May God help us to grow into His likeness for His glory.