Galatians 4:19 says "My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you."
What are we seeing in these texts? What characteristices of being a follower of Jesus do you see?
- gathered together / liked each other / loved each other
- shared with those in need
- met daily
- practiced hospitality
- boldness and courageous
- free to serve others
- any other things jump out at you?
No wonder people were attracted to Jesus! They saw Jesus being reflected in this group of people, and they wanted Him.
NT Wright says "As we continue to follow Jesus, allow ourselves to be shaped after Him, we will be turning into a genuine, God reflecting human being. The world will see in you a reflection of who God truly is" (After You Believe).
What they were seeing is the genuine article.
Life being lived the way it was intended to be lived. Jesus in the business of turning the world aright. Right side up.
But these people weren't perfect. They were on a journey just like we are on a journey.
So how do we continue to be shaped and formed after Jesus?
What does learning how to play the game in "Real Time" actually look like?
So how is Christ formed in us? Fully formed in us? Is it automatic? Does it automatically happen as soon as we begin the journey of trusting Jesus? Does the Holy Spirit quietly do that work without us being aware of it, or without our involvement?
A few weeks ago I gave you the illustration of repentance - learning to play the real game (do life on Jesus' terms) the way it was meant to be lived. The Son is teaching these boys how to play the real game. But in order to learn the game they were intended to play, meant it would involve them. They would need to participate. Here His voice. Let go of old habits and embrace new ones. Engage muscles they didn't know they had, learn techniques they didn't know they could learn.
This is the picture of turning away from what comes natural (sin and old patterns) for something that at first feels un-natural or counter-intuitive. But as we continue to learn and follow His lead, gradually these things become natural and intuitive.
But it takes time and discipline.
As Eugene Peterson once said, "A long obedience in the same direction."
To hear more about what this journey of spiritual formation - Christ formed is us - looks like, have a listen.