Summary: In order to have Christ formed in us, we look to Galatians 4:12-20, where the Apostle Paul shows: 1) The Godly Example. (Galatians 4:12a.) 2) The Godly Focus. (Galatians 4:12-16 3) The Deadly Distraction. (Galatians 4:17-18) and finally: 4) The Godly Objective: (Galatians 4:19-20)
How you are right now going into 2019 is a result of the choices you have made in 2018. Your fitness, knowledge, compassion and ability to show mercy is a result of how you have cultivated those disciplines in 2018. What is formed in you is a result of how you have allowed yourself to be formed. If it has been through external pressures or internal complacency, then the result is probably a mixture of apathy and distraction. Yet a life surrendered to God, nourished by His word, controlled by the Spirit and seeking to be conformed to Christ, is a saint that is both useful and honoring God.
In Galatians 4 we see how the Galatians who has started so strong in the things of the faith, succumbed to the external pressures from the Judaizers and they so quickly abandon the godly resolve they once had, to backslide into old habits. Paul has scalded them for their folly for he had explained patiently the difference between law and faith; shown them the panorama of God’s redemptive purpose in Christ; and stirred up memories of former times, when they had embraced the true gospel. Now he makes an impassioned personal appeal (Edgar H. Andrews. Free in Christ: The Message of Galatians. Evangelical Press. 1996. p. 222).
Before Advent, in November, we looked at leaving behind the old unproductive ways and embracing helpful spiritual disciplines. This week we look at the essentials of the how this can be done. How can we become what God wants of us in 2019? How can 2019 be a productive, fruitful year for you? It won’t just happen. This all requires a particular direction and objective. Without this, we will be adrift in distraction, interruption and business.
In order to have Christ formed in us, we look to Galatians 4:12-20, where the Apostle Paul shows: 1) The Godly Example. (Galatians 4:12a.) 2) The Godly Focus. (Galatians 4:12-16 3) The Deadly Distraction. (Galatians 4:17-18) and finally: 4) The Godly Objective: (Galatians 4:19-20)
In order to have Christ formed in us we first look at:
1) The Godly Example. Galatians 4:12a.
Galatians 4:12a  Brothers, I entreat you, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. (You did me no wrong). (ESV)
Paul’s appeal to his Brothers/brethren in Christ was for them to recognize and live by the spiritual freedom all believers have in God’s grace. He is not speaking of a theoretical teaching from a type of removed doctrine, but as a fellow brother of one who struggles yet has a particular aim.
Paul says, I entreat/beg of you, … become as I am. Here he is summarizing the teaching he gave them and his life, free from trying to earn salvation by keeping the law and free from having to live by its outward symbols, ceremonies, rituals, and restrictions. Expressed here in the Greek present middle imperative, Paul directs that they should keep on becoming as he was. Don’t give up grace for law, but get all the way out from under the law and come all the way under grace (KJV Bible commentary. 1997, c1994 (2392). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.)
• Don’t settle with where you are with Christ. Complacency is the death to growth. Paul is implying that we need to keep on becoming like Christ. We are not to fall back into a life of doing things to try to make God happy, but embrace His grace as a means of growing in Christ.
Please turn to Philippians 3
The reason for Paul’s appeal is also personal: because he says: I also have become as you are. When he came to Christ he had torn away every shred of legalism, in which he had been enmeshed more tightly than perhaps few other Jews of his day (see Phil. 3:4–6). He had left a life of trying to earn God’s favor. He had become like the Gentiles, embracing grace, and abandoning the legalism of the Judaizers, of trying to earn God’s favor.
Paul expressed his Previous Status:
Philippians 3:4-8  though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless.  But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.  Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ (ESV)