Summary: Third in a series designed for a giving campaign, "Get In The Game."
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 "one eye on eternity," 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.
We noted how in 2 Timothy 4:7-8, Paul testified to the fact that when we live our lives with one eye on eternity, 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.
How do we "aim for excellence?" By seeking to be like Christ!
Making us to be like Christ is God’s ultimate purpose in saving us!
"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 will be just like Jesus - perfect in every way - never having to apologize again, never having to confess sin again, never doing anything stupid again!
What’s more, the Bible tells us that the degree to which I become like Christ today will determine the degree to which I will experience the blessedness of heaven today! That’s why Paul said:
"[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power out-flowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope] That if possible I may attain to the [spiritual and moral] resurrection [that lifts me] out from among the dead [even while in the body]. Not that I have now attained [this ideal], or have already been made perfect, but I press on to lay hold of (grasp) and make my own, that for which Christ Jesus (the Messiah) has laid hold of me and made me His own. I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward."
- Philippians 3:10-14 (Amplified)
With such a desire in our hearts, we should then look for God-given opportunities to learn how we can become more like Jesus. God uses various circumstances in life - some good and some not so good - to make us more like Jesus. This is the promise of Romans 8:28-29:
"And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son."
- Romans 8:28-29 (NLT)
I believe that the "Get In The Game" campaign is an opportunity that God has sent to us as a church, through which we can learn how to become more like Jesus.
In our text, Jesus speaks to our being like Him inverse 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 - from the old children’s game of "follow the leader."