This week we’ll look at Part 4 of Rick Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Life. Even though this is a Christian-oriented book, the wisdom Warren treats us to is for everyone desiring to live a life filled with purpose and meaning.
Part 4 – You Were Created to Become Like Christ
Chapter 22. “Created to Become Like Christ: From the very beginning, God’s plan has been to make you like His Son, Jesus. This is your destiny and the third purpose of your life. In all creation, only human beings, are made ‘in God’s image.’
Like God, we are spiritual beings—our spirits are immortal and will outlast our earthly bodies; we are intellectual—we can think, reason, and solve problems; like God, we are relational—we can give and receive real love, and we have a moral consciousness—we can discern right from wrong, which makes us accountable to God.
God’s ultimate goal for your life on earth is not comfort, but character development. Becoming like Christ does not mean losing your personality or becoming a mindless clone. Christlikeness is all about transforming your character, not your personality. First, we must choose to let go of old ways of acting. Second, we must change the way we think. Third, we must ‘put on’ the character of Christ by developing new, godly habits. Your character is essentially the sum of your habits; it is how you habitually act.”
Chapter 23. “How We Grow: Spiritual growth is not automatic. It takes intentional commitment. You must want to grow, decide to grow, make an effort to grow, and persist in growing. Nothing shapes your life more than the commitments you choose to make. Your commitments can develop you or they can destroy you, but either way, they will define you. We become whatever we are committed to.
Your first step in spiritual growth is to start changing the way you think. Change always starts in the mind. The way you think determines the way you feel, and the way you feel influences the way you act. The Christian life is far more than creeds and convictions; it includes conduct and character. Our deeds must be consistent with our creeds, and our beliefs must be backed up with Christlike behavior.”
Chapter 24. “Transformed by Truth: God’s Word is the spiritual nourishment you must have to fulfill your purpose. In day-to-day living, abiding in God’s Word includes three activities.
- I must accept its authority. The most important decision you can make today is to settle this issue of what will be the ultimate authority for your life.
- I must assimilate its truth. It is not enough just to believe the Bible; I must fill my mind with it so that the Holy Spirit can transform me with the truth.
- I must apply its principles. This is the hardest step of all, because Satan fights it so intensely. He doesn’t mind you going to Bible studies as long as you don’t do anything with what you learn. We fool ourselves when we assume that just because we have heard or read or studied a truth, we have internalized it.
As D. L. Moody said, ‘The Bible was not given to increase our knowledge but to change our lives.'”
Chapter 25. “Transformed by Trouble: God has a purpose behind every problem. He uses circumstances to develop our character. Jesus warned us that we would have problems in the world. No one is immune to pain or insulated from suffering, and no one gets to skate through life problem-free.
God uses problems to draw you closer to Himself. We learn things about God in suffering that we can’t learn any other way. Problems force us to look to God and depend on Him instead of ourselves. Regardless of the cause, none of your problems could happen without God’s permission. Because God is sovereignly in control, accidents are just incidents in God’s good plan for you. Because every day of your life was written on God’s calendar before you were born, everything that happens to you has spiritual significance.”
Chapter 26. “Growing Through Temptation: Every temptation is an opportunity to do good. On the path to spiritual maturity, even temptation becomes a stepping-stone rather than a stumbling block when you realize that it is just as much an occasion to do the right thing as it is to do the wrong thing. Temptation simply provides the choice. While temptation is Satan’s primary weapon to destroy you, God wants to use it to develop you. Every time you choose to do good instead of sin, you are growing in the character of Christ. All temptation follows the same pattern.
- In step one, Satan identifies a desire inside of you. Temptation starts when Satan suggests (with a thought) that you give in to an evil desire, or that you fulfill a legitimate desire in a wrong way or at the wrong time. Always beware of shortcuts. They are often temptations! Temptation always starts in your mind, not in circumstances.
- Step two is doubt. Satan tries to get you to doubt what God has said about the sin.
- Step three is deception. Satan is incapable of telling the truth and is called ‘the Father of lies.‘ Anything he tells you will be untrue or just half true.
- Step four is disobedience. You finally act on the thought you’ve been toying with in your mind. What began as an idea gets birthed into behavior.
Understanding how temptation works is in itself helpful, but there are specific steps you need to take to overcome it.
- Refuse to be intimidated. It is not a sin to be tempted. You can’t keep the Devil from suggesting thoughts, but you can choose not to dwell or act on them.
- Recognize your pattern of temptation and be prepared for it. There are certain situations that make you more vulnerable to temptation than others. These situations are unique to your weaknesses, and you need to identify them because Satan surely knows them!
- Request God’s help. Ask Him for the power to do the right thing and then expect Him to provide it.”
Chapter 27. “Defeating Temptation: You may sometimes feel that a temptation is too overpowering for you to bear, but that’s a lie from Satan. God has promised never to allow more on you than He puts within you to handle it. He will not permit any temptation that you could not overcome. However, you must do your part too by practicing four biblical keys of defeating temptation.
- Refocus your attention on something else.
- Reveal your struggle to a godly friend or support group.
- Resist the Devil.
- Realize your vulnerability.”
Chapter 28. “It Takes Time: There are no shortcuts to maturity. Before Christ invades our lives at conversion, He sometimes has to ‘soften us up’ by allowing problems we can’t handle. Why does it take so long to change and grow up? There are several reasons.
- We are slow learners.
- We have a lot to unlearn.
- We are afraid to humbly face the truth about ourselves.
- Growth is often painful and scary.
- Habits take time to develop.
There is only one way to develop the habits of Christlike character. You must practice them—and that takes time!”
I can’t emphasize enough how this book will help you develop a “purpose-driven life” in every area of your life!
You can download a free copy of “Part 4 – You Were Created to Become Like Christ” outlined above at my website Wisdom-Matters by clicking on the “Free Resources” tab.
Next week we’ll look at Part 5 of the 6-Part series on Rick Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Life because…Wisdom Matters!
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