I heard someone say recently that God wants us to be the best version of ourselves. It sounds good at first, and almost biblical. But…I believe that it’s untrue none the less. Never once does the bible say that God’s goal for our lives is to be the best person we can. God doesn’t want us to be a better person, He wants us to be more like Jesus. The best human is still full of sin. No matter what the best version of us is, it will be a version that sins. Jesus is the image of God. He is perfection in every sense of the word, and the only way to please God is by having faith in Him. Therefore, being like Jesus is our goal in life. Being like Jesus is what the mission of the Holy Spirit is. Human flesh brings limitations but God’s Spirit transforms lives.
Trying to be the best version of ourselves leads to people focusing way too much on…you guessed it…themselves. Some people even use it to justify their vanity. I heard one person a while back saying that they body build because God wants us to have the best bodies possible. Really? Jesus did not die on the cross so that we should devote our lives to getting ripped and toned. Some quote the bible saying the our bodies are a temple meaning we should try to be as beautiful as possible and have ___ amount of body fat and hit the gym and try the latest diet fads. We don’t need to “dress up for Jesus” when we go to church. We don’t need to have endless debate over piercings and tattoos. We are the temple…of the Holy Spirit. That in no way means that we need to perfect the image of the temple or devote our lives to covering every “flaw” that we perceive we have. It means that we house the most precious gift anyone could ever receive and that gift is meant to change everything inside us. Health is great, but holiness is better. And holiness only comes through Jesus.
Let’s be clear…God won’t love you any more than He did when He died for you on the cross. In all of our ugliness and imperfection, God loved us. We have hope because of Jesus. We have life because of Jesus. We are made holy because of Jesus. Our life is now all about Jesus. In the bible, Jesus is literally called “our life”. We don’t need to look better or act better, we need a life connected to Jesus. We need His Holy Spirit to change us from the inside out. Then and only then will we be genuine and sincere in our love for others and our love for God. A life pleasing to God is not more of us, it’s more of Jesus in us. Live in the peace that His grace brings, knowing you’re already loved and accepted through Christ. Stop the striving to be a better you and run after Jesus and you’ll become better in every way.
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
“For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” Colossians 3:3-4
“…whoever says he abides in him [Jesus] ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” 1 John 2:6
“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18
“Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” 1 Timothy 4:7-8