Tag Archive | Conformed to the image of Christ

Learning to Walk

Several years ago, my husband and I were given the opportunity to babysit our youngest two grandchildren while our son and his wife, along with the older children, traveled on an extended vacation. Sweet memories still come to mind from those special days. My young granddaughter was at the age when she was just beginning to walk. She was so insecure about her new venture, and at times, even fearful.

I had the privilege of helping her learn to walk. At first, I would walk behind her, leaning over and holding both of her hands, as she stepped carefully, but joyfully, holding tightly to me. As the days passed and we walked together, she became steady enough for me to hold only one of her hands as we walked. The day came when I knew she was strong enough to walk without holding to me, but she didn’t know that she could. I would sit just a little distance away and hold out my hands, gently coaxing her to take those steps ahead of her. Sometimes she would falter. Sometimes she would flat refuse. I even remember the time that she was taking those sweet steps toward me, crying the whole way. But, oh the joy, in both of us when she would successfully make that walk and climb up into my arms.

Those early steps were challenging and difficult for her, but both of us rejoiced in the outcome. She is now six years old, and we still walk hand in hand together.

I share this precious memory because it seems like an appropriate picture of my walk with the Lord. Putting off the things of the fleshly old person (that I was before salvation) and putting on the new person in Christ (being renewed in His image) have been so similar to the sweet story of my young granddaughter learning to walk. Sometimes I faltered. Sometimes I wanted to flat refuse until the Lord “coaxed” me on, and sometimes I have cried as I was attempting to walk where He called me to walk.

Let us look into the Scriptures to understand where He calls us to walk as we put on the new person we are to be … created in His image.

Colossians 3:12-13 instructs:

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.

Because we are His people, we are to reflect Him. We are to “put on” Christ according to the provision He has already made for us. What will that look like?

First, we must note that all of these qualities are matters of the heart. They are not visible, in and of themselves. They are only visible as they are worked out.

Secondly, every one of these actions are relationship words … they have to do with how we relate to others. We are to treat others in the same way that Christ has treated us.

(You may use Bible dictionaries to help you understand the meaning of these words, and a concordance will help you find a wealth of Scriptures regarding these truths. I have included only very brief notes to prompt your thinking.)

Tender mercies (a heart of compassion): A deep emotion of the heart moved to help alleviate another’s physical and/or spiritual suffering. Our God is a God of compassion, and we are to be a people of tender mercies and compassion.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

Kindness: A goodness extended to another for their benefit. How often our God is called the God of lovingkindness. We, therefore, should extend His kindness to all.

Psalm 36:7

How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings.

Humility: lowly in spirit, the opposite of self-exaltation or pride. Never has there been one more humble and lowly in heart than our Lord. In His image … may we, too, put on humility.

Philippians 2:3-8

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

Meekness (Gentleness): Mildness of disposition, without complaining or resisting, trusting God’s goodness in all circumstances and with all people.

Matthew 11:29

Jesus said: Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

1 Peter 3:4

rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a meek and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.

Longsuffering (Patience): To suffer long; patience with respect to people. A different word is used for patient endurance in circumstances. This word has to deal with how we relate to people … especially difficult ones. Our God is a long-suffering God, and calls us (in His image) to be long-suffering and patient with others.

Psalm 86:15:

But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, Longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.

Galatians 5:22-23

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control.

Forbearance: To bear with; to have patience with, in regards to one’s errors or weaknesses. Surely, our God is a God of forbearance. Help us, Lord, be a forbearing people.

Romans 2:4

Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?

Ephesians 4:1-3

I (Paul), therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Forgiveness: This is a word that originates from the same word as grace. Surely, our God is a gracious and forgiving God. Therefore, it is imperative that we are a gracious and forgiving people.

Exodus 34:5-8

Now the LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.” So Moses made haste and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshiped.

Colossians 3:12-13

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.

In Christ, we are a new creation. We are being renewed in knowledge, according to His image. We are meant to reflect Him. He is compassionate, kind, humble, meek, longsuffering, forbearing and forgiving. In order to reflect Him … in His image … this is the kind of people we must be.

We must take time to ponder these truths. Have we put them on? What “wardrobe” are we wearing? Remember, they will begin in the heart and be lived out from there. Also, remember they are directed toward our relationships. Are there particular aspects of these truths that need to be reflected toward your husband? Toward your children? Toward others in your life? Toward those who you don’t even know their names? Let the Lord speak to your heart.

I began this writing by sharing with you how my young granddaughter learned to walk. We, too, must learn to walk spiritually. We will falter. We may have the desire to refuse. We may even cry as we surrender and make those steps forward. But walk we must. Step by step, as the Lord holds our hand.

Compassion … kindness … humility … meekness … longsuffering … forbearance … forgiveness.

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called. Ephesians 4:1