Summary: If our lives are going to count for Christ, we must make being more like Him our aim in life.
Last week, we began our consideration of the things that need to be true of us, as the people of God, if we are going to make sure that we “Get In The Game” for God and live lives that count for Christ. We said that we can know we’ve “Got Game” if we: Go for the gold;
Aim for excellence; Make the commitment; & Expect God to work.
Last week, we talked about “going for the gold.” We spoke about the importance of living our lives with “our eyes on the prize,” living our lives in such a way as to be able to face Christ one day with our heads held high, rather than hung low. Living with a desire to maximize our rewards and minimize our regrets on the day of judgment.
We noted how in 2 Timothy 4:7-8, Paul testified that when we live with eternity in view, it will insure that we “Get In The Game” as far as God’s will for our lives is concerned. We will “fight the good fight, we will finish the race, we will remain faithful.” That’s why Paul tells us:
“Run [your race] that you may lay hold [of the prize] and make it yours.” - 1 Corinthians 9:24 (Amplified)
Are you running your leg of the race in such a way as to win the prize? Are you going for the gold? Are you living so as to be rewarded by our Lord one day? Then we must make excellence our aim. That’s what we want to think about today. How do we “aim for excellence?” By seeking to be like Christ! He is our standard for living.
“It is not so much great talents that the Lord blesses as great likeness to Jesus Christ. It is not great gifts that God blesses so much as it is great likeness to Christ.” - Robert Murray McCheyne
“To become like Christ is the only thing in the world worth caring for, the thing before which every ambition of man is folly and all lower achievement vain.” - John Drummond
Becoming more like Christ should be the excellent standard we aim for in life because making us to be like Christ is God’s ultimate aim in saving us! God will complete His work of making us just like Jesus when eternity is ushered in with the return of Christ.
“Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.” - 1 John 3:2 (NASB)
Part of what will make eternity such a blessed experience is that I’ll be just like Jesus - perfect in every way - never having to apologize again, never having to confess sin again, never doing anything stupid again!
Again, I need to seek to live my life with my “eyes on the prize.” As I realize that God’s ultimate aim is to make me to be like Jesus for all eternity, I will seek to honor God today by endeavoring to become more and more like Jesus daily.
As I seek to “get in the game” for God, I will “aim for excellence” by seeking to become more and more like Christ. But how do I become more like Christ? Jesus speaks to our being like Him in verse 34:
“Calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, ‘Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how.’” - Mark 8:34 (The Message)
I believe that we can identify two keys to our aiming for excellence in life - two keys to our becoming more like Christ - as we think about what is involved in following Him.
Think with me about the old children’s game of “follow the leader.” When you play “follow the leader,” you must first, go where the leader goes, and second, do what the leader does. It’s the same in following Christ.
To follow Christ is to become like Christ, and to become like Christ, we must be where He is and do what He did.
1. Being Where Christ Is.
Jesus lived His life in cooperation and partnership with the Father. That’s part of what Jesus meant when He said, “I and the Father are one.” - John 10:30 (NIV). Living His life being where the Father was eventually led Jesus to the cross.
Jesus used the cross to speak to us about the importance of seeking to be where He is. If I am to aim for excellence in life and become more like Christ, then I must take up my cross, I must embrace God’s will for my life as my own. And where is God working? What is His focus?