Your Destiny is to Develop Christ's Character
By Rick Warren
— December 4, 2010
"God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son .... We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him." Romans 8:29 (Msg)
"God's ultimate goal for your life on earth is not comfort, but character development."
From the very 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." (Gen 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.
But we have 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.)
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. Christlikeness is all about transforming your character, not your personality.