Lesson 3 from:
Life Principles Study Series “Practicing Basic Spiritual Disciplines” by Charles F. Stanley. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson), 2009.
This lesson is on conformity to Christ and setting some spiritual goals for our advancement in the faith. Dr. Stanley uses Romans 8:28-30 as a spring board for understanding the conformity process in our Christian lives. First, we are destined and chosen to be conformed as the Lord changes us and transforms us into His image as His work from glory to glory (2 Cor. 3:18). None of us are perfect; we all have scars and need healing in some area from Him. Secondly, being conformed in Christ’s image means a process of learning to think, speak, and act just as Jesus would in any life situation. This is a continual progression that will not be complete until with are glorified with Him in Heaven as we “put off” the old and “put on” the new spiritual man. Thirdly, it is the Holy Spirit who radically changes us and not we ourselves outside of the human volition of faith and obedience. For this section please read the later part of Romans 7:14-25, which is a flesh driven existence, compared to the Spirit’s work in believers in Romans 8:14-30.
We will look at our ultimate purpose in life as we pursue Christ and conform to Him, not the world (Rom. 12:2). Be sure to come up with specific examples of how we sometimes conform ourselves to this world. Understand what the mind of Christ entails, even the aspects of suffering that Dr. Stanley shares with us. “…he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin…” (1 Pet. 4:1). The most fertile time of spiritual growth for a majority of Christians comes during a time of crisis, illness, persecution, loss, pain, or rejection. Don’t shy away from life’s difficulties; embrace them as opportunities to grow in Christ.
We will start our class with a time of testimony from any of you who feel led to share. This week should have seen us making a conscious effort to be more and more obedient to the Lord’s leading in our lives. Give our class some examples of how that played out in your world this past week.
Blessings in Jesus Christ!