After living more than 80 years, I know that any claim that offers an effortless way to develop a lean, well-conditioned body is a hoax. So is any sermon title that promises an easy way to become like Christ.
Author Brennan Manning tells of an alcoholic who asked his minister to pray over him to be delivered from his drinking problem. He thought this would be a quick and easy way to overcome his addiction. Recognizing his motive in asking for prayer, the minister replied, “I’ve got a better idea. Go to Alcoholics Anonymous.” He counseled the man to follow the program diligently and read his Bible daily. “In other words,” the minister concluded, “do the hard work.”
Do the hard work—that’s what Paul was saying to Timothy when he told him how he should order his life so he could teach believers how they should live. Notice the action verbs: “Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life” (1 Timothy 6:11-12).
Just as there is no easy path to being delivered from alcoholism, so too, there is no effort-free route to Christlikeness. If we really want to become like Jesus, we must keep on doing the hard work.
O to be like Thee, blessed Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I'll forfeit all of earth's treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear —Chisholm
Conversion is the miracle of a moment; becoming like Christ is the work of a lifetime.