Pastor Jerry Donovan
I n Genesis 3:5 the serpent promised Adam and Eve that if they listened and believed him they would be “as gods.” That lie is Satan’s oldest temptation. Many religions and New Age philosophies continue to promote this old lie that we are divine beings or can become gods. Anything created by God will not, never has been, nor will ever become a god.
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 4:22-24 MSG).
Never before have there been so many false idols competing to offer people an identity that is linked to their product and promising to provide that missing joy that they are searching for. Whether you are young or old, rich or poor, steeped in the faith or relatively new; we all crave a sense of identity and so we are all too vulnerable to such false promises. For this reason, Jesus was born, ministered, lived, died, and was raised again to demonstrate in word and deed just how much God loves and accepts us.
Christ calls those who would be His disciples to make His mission their own! Through Jesus, we can commit ourselves freely to the will of God. 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.
God wants you to develop the kind of character described in the Beatitudes of Jesus, the fruit of the Spirit, Paul’s great chapter on love, and Peter’s list of the characteristics of an effective and productive life (Matthew 5:1-12; Galatians 5:22-23; 1 Corinthians 13; 2 Peter 1:5-8).
Every time you forget that character is one of God’s purposes for your life, you will become frustrated by your circumstances. You’ll wonder, “Why is this happening to me? Why am I having such a difficult time?” One answer is that life is supposed to be difficult! It’s what enables us to grow. Remember, Earth is not Heaven.
Many Christians misinterpret Jesus’ promise of the “abundant life” (John 10:10) to mean perfect health, a comfortable lifestyle, constant happiness, full realization of your dreams, and instant relief from problems through faith and prayer. In a word, they expect the Christian life to be easy. They expect heaven on Earth.
This self-absorbed perspective treats God as a genie who simply exists to serve you in your selfish pursuit of personal fulfillment. But God is not your servant, and if you fall for the idea that life is supposed to be easy, you will either become severely disillusioned or you will live in denial of reality.
Never forget that life is not about you! You exist for God’s purposes, not vice versa. Why would God provide heaven on Earth when he’s planned the real thing for you in eternity? God gives us our time on Earth to build and strengthen our character for Heaven.