One of the lessons about walking with the Holy Spirit that I have had to learn—and which I have learned very slowly—is that a process almost always accompanies our pursuit of progress. For someone like me who has a very driven personality, I want results… and I want them now. I read about great men and women of God and I want to be like them… and I want to be like them now! What I have had to learn is that the Holy Spirit often works in seasons and stages.
The Word says in 2 Corinthians 3:18, “But we all… are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” It does not say, “We have already been transformed into glory” or “In one moment we are changed into the full image of Jesus.” There is a movement from one level of glory to the next. Even Jesus had a process! Luke 2:52 says, “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” If Jesus had a maturation process, we should expect one much more! The temptation is to become discouraged when personal transformation doesn’t happen as quickly as we desire, but we have to remember that there’s a process. We must learn to partner with His process, otherwise we’ll find ourselves running uphill. The only way to expedite the process is to embrace it and submit to it.
I want to make a quick clarification before moving on. When I say, “Personal transformation,” I am not talking about sin. Some people attempt to use the reality of a maturation process to justify sin that they refuse to deal with and say they are, “In process.” Now, do believers still sin? Yes, we do. But the Bible is very clear that those who have truly surrendered their life to Christ do not continue in the same sin over and over. 1 John 3:9 says, “No one who is born of God will continue to sin… they cannot go on sinning because they have been born of God.”
Biblical process is in terms of walking with the Holy Spirit and growing in our capacity to see the Kingdom of God come on earth as it is in heaven through our lives. It’s not in reference to sin in our lives. I’m not saying that there isn’t sometimes a process of walking out of a lifestyle of sin, but sin has been dealt with at the Cross, our maturity still requires development. When we come to Christ we die to our sinful nature. When we walk with Christ, we begin to live like Jesus—destroying the works of the devil.
Recently, in regard to this maturation process, there is a recurring thought that I been having. The thought is this: “I don’t just want to act like Jesus, I want to be like Jesus.” Ephesians 4:13 says, “Till we all come… to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” I don’t want to simply be a Jesus copycat, I want to be like Him.
Isn’t that our goal? Not simply to act like Him, but to be like Him? We all have our WWJD bracelets—which are awesome and are powerful—but I don’t want to simply mimic Jesus’ actions. I want to see what He saw! I want to feel what He felt! It was who Jesus was that caused Him to do what He did. He healed because He was a man who was full of compassion. He went to the lowest of the low because He was full of love and humility. The internal reality of who Jesus was (and who He still is!) caused Him to act.
I believe that God is more concerned with who we are becoming in Him than what we are doing for Him. The truth rings true that we have to be a human being before we become a human doing. When we become something, what we do becomes a natural outflow of who we are. But if what we do is simply the result of behavior modification and not transformation into the image of Christ by the power and leading of the Holy Spirit, it’s just that… behavior modification.
Walking with the Holy Spirit is really about learning to constantly live in response to Him. There are so many times I want to run out ahead of Him, or maybe He has moved on and I want to stay in the same spot, or maybe I have a way I think something should be done so I don’t ask for direction from Him. And then on days when I don’t seem to be hearing Him as clearly as I am used to, learning not to panic or get anxious, but to trust that He is a Good Shepherd and that as one of His sheep, I know His voice. And ultimately, learning to act from who I am and who He is making me into… not who I think I should be.