On Conforming to the Image of Christ

Are you hurting really badly today? Do you feel like things in your life have been dying all at once? If so, I have an encouraging word for you.

We often say, and even pray, that we desire to be conformed to the image of Christ. Conforming to the image of Christ is, after all, God’s highest and most perfect will for us. It is our eternal destiny, and our Papa God’s highest priority.

After all, Romans 8:29 says:

For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

The problem comes in when we don’t realize what conforming to the image of Christ means–and how much it is going to hurt sometimes.

When we stare at the beauty and love of Jesus, it’s easy to forget a few things. For example:

  • That He was murdered “in the house of His friends.”
  • That He was betrayed by someone in His inner circle.
  • That His own brothers and sisters did not believe in Him … at first.

Jesus was called the Man of Sorrows (Isaiah 53:3) for a reason.

And yet He was appointed to grief and pain. His miraculous resurrection would not have been possible if He had not first been killed. And eternal salvation for all who believe in Him would never have been possible if He had not suffered, died, and risen again.

Oh, how we underestimate the value of suffering!

I get a lot of messages and comments from readers in this Presence-seeking community–particularly when people are hurting. My heart goes out to every one. And I’ve been through much pain in my life myself. I understand.

But it is as much to myself as it is to you that I feel led to say today:

What would happen if we came back to the feet of the One whom we love–the One who knows us most and loves us most–and laid our problems at His feet?

What would happen if we made it all about Jesus again?

About His person? His face? Staring into the visage of the Man whose eyes burn with fire and whose feet shine like brass?

After all, He knows what our pain is about.

Are you feeling betrayed? Feeling alone and abandoned, even by people whom you never thought would abandon you? He’s been there. Mark 14:50: “Then they all forsook Him and fled.”

Are you feeling despised and rejected, unloved and cast aside? Isaiah 53:3-5:

He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.

But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.

No matter how you’re hurting today, Jesus hurt like that too.

He experienced physical pain, the likes of which other men have not endured. He experienced emotional pain and discouragement. He experienced rejection, slander, betrayal, and so much more. Every kind of pain you can imagine … Jesus experienced it.

And yet Philippians 3:10-11 says:

that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.”

Because Jesus’ story does not end with pain. His story included pain, but it didn’t stop there.

Before that dreadful weekend at the end of His life, Jesus was able to minister and go about His business relatively easily.

Sure, the Jews (particularly the Pharisees) hated Him and sought to kill Him; however, He knew it, and He avoided them. He stayed out of the towns where they were concentrated, and He continued preaching and teaching.

Yes, the persecution made it inconvenient. However, He was still able to minister.

But then, everything tumbled in upon Him at once.

He wasn’t surprised by this. He knew it was His time. He knew that He was sent into the world for this.

But that doesn’t negate the fact that it all happened at once:

  • One friend (Judas) betrayed Him.
  • His other friends ran away from Him when He needed them most.
  • Another friend (Peter) actually denied that he even knew Jesus–and Peter had been one of Jesus’ best friends!
  • Then came arrest under false charges, imprisonment, beating, and crucifixion.

If you just look at that part, it was a really bad weekend for Jesus.

And some of you feel exactly like that. You feel like your world has tumbled in upon you all at once.

You never even saw it coming … but all of a sudden, it was like everything in your life got either ripped away from you or killed.

But I want you to know that God has not forgotten about you. You had not fallen out of His view when these things happened to you.

And I want you to see today that, in Jesus’ life, all the killing and betraying happened at once–and it was the prerequisite for the resurrection.

Jesus’ resurrection would not have been possible without the crucifixion. It’s not just that the resurrection was God’s reaction to the crucifixion. The crucifixion was a necessary part of the resurrection story. Of course, the ultimate story is that, now, Jesus Christ ever lives in victory and power–and He ever lives to make intercession for us.

And someone reading this word today feels that your story is over.

If that’s you, I feel led to tell you that your crucifixion is only Chapter 1 of your resurrection story too. The things that have happened to you are not a death story. They are parts of your LIFE story. They were necessary catalysts that God allowed you to endure because He had to allow the crucifixion in your life in order to birth the resurrection life of Christ in you.

Like David, who was a type of Christ from the Old Testament, God sent a giant for you to kill in order to make you king … because death always precedes resurrection.

So how do you get through this time when it feels like you’re in the tomb; the time between your crucifixion and your resurrection?

I have only one suggestion:

Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Again, remember Philippians 3:10-11 says:

that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.”

As Christians, our lives ultimately are about only one Person: Jesus Christ.

He is the reason we live. He is our Hope of glory. He is our Beloved, and the Song of all Songs.

He is glorious, and lovely, and His Presence transcends time and space, pain and sorrow, life and death. He is the King, Victor, and Conqueror of all.

And we can know Him.

So during this time of waiting, while you’re waiting with caught breath for the resurrection you’re told is on the way–but which you can’t quiiiiiiitesee–focus on Jesus.

Surrender to Him more than you’ve ever surrendered. Gaze at Him closer than you’ve ever gazed. Sit at His feet longer than you’ve ever sat at His feet.

For life and death and all things are wrapped up in Him–and He is all things to us. He is our Resurrection and our Life. And if you’ve been crucified with Him, knowing the fellowship of His sufferings and being conformed to His death, you will most certainly know the power of His resurrection.

Does this word encourage your heart today? If so, please leave a comment below … and feel free to encourage a fellow Presence-seeker in the comments too!

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28 Comments

  1. Joelle Erdmann says:

    Thank you Jamie for the way you show that there is always hope in Christ, and that we will suffer, but that suffering is for a purpose and not for our whole lives. I like how you say that death must proceed resurrection. That really helps me get a positive handle on things. May Jesus be glorified! Amen.

  2. Jamie,

    Thank you so much for this encouraging and validating message this morning.

    You’ve provided me with a fresh perspective and insight.

    Blessings & Love,

    Bethany

  3. Millie Williams says:

    Jamie, You are truly an Angel sent by God to keep his people encouraged. I thank you for this word today. To keep my mind on Jesus and Praise him everyday.
    Be bless Mrs. Millie

  4. Thank you!
    Once again , your blog speaks to me in the present part of my journey . This past year suddenly everything happened like a rushing non stop whirlwind . I had health challenges, had to give up my part time job, my car died, my beautiful cat died and my adopted son , who was the son who looked out for me most of his life died of cancer . My natural son , is an alcoholic and he will not budge from my house and rarely pays rent .
    I have basically been left in a state of poverty with not enough income to survive .
    Thank you for your prayer support .
    I know He has not forsaken me because I was gifted a ?, which is a miraculous story in itself .
    Would love to share my car story if anyone would like to hear
    Blessings
    Michele

  5. Nancy Green says:

    Yeah Janie I’m not down or depressed. I just pray that Pastors realize their
    Calling. And stay between the porches & alter to pray for their people & to dig the wells of Revival.
    I recently left my church bc of a religious spirit that I won’t bow to. And the problem is we weren’t growing. I believe strongly due to location. The word was ministered. But there was just some things that stuck their ugly heads up & I just couldn’t do it. I’m not the kind that wears her feelings on her shoulders or calls or texts the Pastors once a,day for prayer. They never ever knew any thing was wrong. So I began calling out to God just to bring some things to light & with in a,few weeks things began to surface . I’m also that when it’s time to go I don’t stick around. Ice experienced that b4 & it got me in more trouble than it was worth. So it was just time to bow out.
    So now I’m praying for a,church here in the North Ft Worth area that operates in Prophetic & Apostolic. I could go back to the church I attended for 3 1/2 years but that’s not where I believe God wants me. I was on the Praise & Worship team along with the Intecessors prayer team.
    Just pray for me that I hear clearly what God would have me to do. I’m not in a hurry. If it takes awhile then God has his reason.

    Thank you

    1. Nancy, have you been to Gateway church? They have a campus in North Ft. Worth. Their website is http://www.gatewaypeople.com. I encourage you to give them a try. Also Tim Ross has a fairly new church in Arlington, (which might be too far) called Embassy Church. Their website is http://www.embassycity.com.

  6. Thank you Lord for using Jamie through you. As I was reading this article, I was in tears. This has been my life over the last year. I’ve dealt with an difficult divorce and much of my family and friends including church family, have left me. The terrible feeling of feeling alone & isolated is not pleasant. After so much religious jargon, you get sick of people telling you how & what you should feel & do. Until one walks I’m another shoes, you have no idea how to react or respond. I’m glad for Jamie’s compassion and reaching people on level of love the way the Lord intends. That’s what people need when they hit rock bottom. God’s blessings.

    1. I’m so sorry for all you’ve been through, LuWill. I do pray that Papa God would comfort you exceedingly today, and breathe new breath into your heart and spirit–with new life for you in every way. And that He would restore your life in all things, better than ever before. In Jesus’ name.

  7. Priscilla Maleka says:

    Thank you!!

    Cruxification is indeed a prerequisite for resurrection!!

  8. Thank you Jamie for this wonderful words. They have really spoken to me.

  9. Hi Jamie,

    Thank you very much for this blog.! What a blessing you are to the Body of Christ. You speak from your heart and it seems like the blogs that you write every single day speaks to me and my situation. Thank you, again for using your gifts to edify others.

    1. Thank you, friend. I try my best to just be obedient to Papa. And He does the work. I’m so grateful you’ve found encouragement here. May the Lord continue to bless you!

  10. As always, thank you for the encouraging word. I’ve been going through an especially trying time as my mom recently died in May 2017 and I do feel as if my story is over and the thing is I’m content with that because her death has taken such a toll on me that I’d like to leave this word and join her. I realize that by giving up I’m not bringing any glory to God. That’s what keeps me going. Otherwise, I would have thrown in the towel by now. It’s just so hard to move forward and I know grief takes time, but it’s really knocked all of the wind out of me.

    1. Joy, I’m so sorry for the passing of your mom. But know that you still have a lot to do in this life! God has ordained and divinely chosen YOU for just such a time as this; He sent you to this earth for a purpose and He has GOOD in store for you–and His plans don’t stop with the passing of your mom. I pray Papa would comfort you, heal your heart, and help you hear Him singing over you in the night seasons. And I pray that He would restore your will to live.
      Much love to you.
      Jamie

  11. Thanks Jamie for the good work you have been doing for the Children of God.I pray for God’s protection over your life and your family. May you continue to be a blessing to many homes. God bless you and your family.

  12. Thank you for your encouraging words Jamie ,they speak to me in my situations .God bless you more Amen.

  13. Hi Jamie,

    Just wanted to say that I would like to have a 1-on-1 counseling session with you and I just emailed you a few minutes ago. Thank you for your time.

  14. thank you for your words of wisdom and encouragement ;
    our suffering is so little or insignificant compared to JESUS
    I am encouraged and I know it is only going to get better; I thank GOD walking by faith can be insecure and a bit afraid but I know it
    is how my faith grows and increases and I thank GOD for giving me the strength to go through because without faith it is impossible to please Him
    My GOD continue to bless you and use you; we are all in a battle or trial
    going through one or coming out but thanks be to GOD who always causes us to triumph. Thank GOD for the victory!!!
    Regina

  15. Brittney Bolder says:

    Thank you, that scripture Philippians 3:10-11 has been popping up in my spirit lately and I truly want to be all that God will have me to be in His sufferings and resurrection. Your post gave me the push to get pushing despite what my circumstances may look like and draw closer to my God who is already working it out for His glory and my good!

  16. Hi Jamie,

    I have a testimony to share.

    We were on holiday three weeks ago at the coast. We were looking at the sea while driving, next moment the tire burst, as we stopped for my husband to change the tire, a young guy came around, stopped and help us changed the tire, and he put the spare wheel on.

    We did not know where the tire shop was and he told us. We went to the shop and find out if the they have had, this specific tire for the car, it was one of the back wheel tires. There is a difference in size of this cars back and front tires. The guy had only one left, and it was the exact one we needed.
    I believe the Lord send the young guy to help, and we went to the wright store, which had the only one tire in stock. The Lord provided in this situation, normally one has to wait, they have to order it from some other place. We could go home safely.

    I want to give thanks to the Lord for what he has done for us. Because of crime and hijackings in our country, it’s very dangerous to stuck along the road.

    Thank you so much for the prayers you have written. I love praying it, and this wonderful website.

    Love in Christ Jesus
    Jani
    South Africa

  17. Jamie
    Thank you so much. This word got my eyes tear filled. Been stuck in this dark dungeon spiritually ever since my hubby & friend passed on into eternity. Pain wrenched my heart, blinded my vision until today. A revelation & jail breaking message this message is for me. Crucifixion is prerequisite to resurrection. Thank you JESUS, you are the way, the truth & the life.
    Jamie may the grace of God abound in your life.

  18. I’m so encouraged by these words but in my own case is different, I can’t pray like I use to anymore, I can’t even read the bible, is like the desire is dead, I feel so much empty. I can’t seem to understand it. I need serious help from brethren. There are so many unanswered prayers including my not been married up until now , at 47. I’m so fed up I won’t pretend about it. I need urgent help. Thank you.

  19. Adeola Odutola says:

    Here I am Lord Jesus, save me. I remember the day You said,” say thank you when next they come against you,” I cried “why” You replied,” that I counted you worthy to share in My suffering.” July 27th 2014 1.27am. My eye’s are on You for I know if You are willing You can honour Your name in me. Show yourself strong on my behalf for the strength of the Patriarch’s as You said was in You, O God my Father.

  20. Joseph Mutebi says:

    thank God Ihave come across this,yesterday through my mind Jesus said you’ ve done the most beautitul thing thats when this lady sat at Jesus when her sister was busy preparing & serving.thanks again, bless you.

  21. Awesome word!!! Thank you Jamie!

  22. Hallelujah ! Thank you so much for this, there are so wonderful aspects of the Word ! Jesus have done it all.
    Jesus thank you, that You teach us Your Way, which is Jesus himself.

    There is something more of The Word, which is today so lovely again after times of tribulation.

    Colossians 2:2-10 King James
    “That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;
    In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. [In whom: or, Wherein] And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. [rudiments: or, elements] [make a prey: or, seduce you, or, lead you astray] For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: ”

    Let’s hang in Jesus and His Word, its the best we can do.
    Peace in Jesus Christ to you all.

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