Your Destiny is to Become Like Jesus
By Rick Warren
— October 31, 2010
"Your hearts and minds must be made completely new, and you must put on the new self, which is created in God's likeness and reveals itself in the true life that is upright and holy." Ephesians 4:23-24 (TEV)
"God's ultimate goal for your life on earth is not comfort, but character development. He wants you to grow up spiritually and become like Christ."
As you look toward your Decade of Destiny, it's important to remember that, from the beginning, God's plan has been to make you like his Son, Jesus. This is your destiny. God announced this intention at Creation: "Then God said, 'Let us make human beings in our image and likeness.'" (Genesis 1:26 NCV)
In all of creation, only human beings, are made "in God's image." This is a great privilege and gives us dignity. We don't know all this phrase covers, but we do know some of the aspects it includes: Like God, we are spiritual beings—our spirits are immortal and will outlast our earthly bodies; we are intellectual—we can think, reason, and solve problems; like God, we are relational—we can give and receive real love; and we have a moral consciousness—we can discern right from wrong, which makes us accountable to God.
The Bible says that all people, not just believers, possess part of the image of God; that is why murder and abortion are wrong. (Genesis 6:9; Psalm 139:13-16; James 3:9)
But the image is incomplete and has been damaged and distorted by sin. So God sent Jesus on a mission to restore the full image that we have lost. What does the full "image and likeness" of God look like? It looks like Jesus Christ! The Bible says Jesus is "the exact likeness of God," "the visible image of the invisible God," and "the exact representation of his being." (2 Corinthians 4:4 NLT; Colossians 1:15 NLT; Hebrews 1:3 NIV)
People often use the phrase "like father, like son" to refer to family resemblance. When people see my likeness in my kids, it pleases me. God wants his children to bear his image and likeness, too. The Bible says, "You were ... created to be like God, truly righteous and holy." (Ephesians 4:24 GW)
Let me be absolutely clear: You will never become God, or even a god. That prideful lie is Satan's oldest temptation. Satan promised Adam and Eve that if they followed his advice, "you shall be as gods." (Genesis 3:5 KJV)
Many religions and New Age philosophies still promote this old lie that we are divine or can become gods. This desire to be a god shows up every time we try to control our circumstances, our future, and people around us.
But as creatures, we will never be the Creator. God doesn't want you to become a god; he wants you to become godly—taking on his values, attitudes, and character. We are meant to "take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you." (Ephesians 4:22 Msg)
God's ultimate goal for your life on earth is not comfort, but character development. He wants you to grow up spiritually and become like Christ. Becoming like Christ does not mean losing your personality or becoming a mindless clone. God created your uniqueness, so he certainly doesn't want to destroy it.