“Conformed to the image of his Son”
(Romans 8:29).

How does the Father shape us into the image of his Son? 

A new Christian gave the answer with unusual insight. I pass it along for your consideration.

I can see now that when I prayed for tolerance, God handed me a seemingly intolerable situation. When I prayed that God would show me how to be forgiving, he handed me a seemingly unforgivable situation with people close to me. I asked God to teach me gratitude, and he gave me situations in which the people for which I wanted to feel gratitude were unbearable. But I have paid attention and truly believe that God is giving me what I have asked for.

After all, if you wanted to learn how to paint beautiful pictures, an art teacher would not set you down before a completed canvas. He would set you down before a blank one and try to teach you how to create what you want. And as the student painter begins, I am sure they think, “Wow, I didn’t know how hard this was going to be.” And some students throw in their paint brush, and some end up painting the Sistine Chapel. I think you know which one I want to be.”

When we ask God to make us like Jesus, we are really praying to be led to the Cross. There is no growth without pain and struggle, and no victory without dying to our selfish desires. In the end we are filled with joy when we discover that our prayers were answered in an unexpected way.

Lord Jesus, we want to be more like you today even if that means being in difficult situations or dealing with difficult people. Help us to remember that those difficult people are well-disguised gifts from heaven. Amen. 

You can reach the author at ray@keepbelieving.com. Click here to sign up for the free weekly email sermon.