The True Foundation: Christlikeness

By Francis Frangipane

Christ Himself is the eternal blueprint for our lives.  Only in studying Him, in measuring ourselves by Him, do we grow securely upon the foundation of God. 

Beloved, we were created to become like Christ.  Yet, some would lead us to a lesser destiny.  They teach that a stumbling, disobedient people can somehow also be the same "overcomers" spoken of in the Sacred book.  Yet, God's plan has not faded out or become obsolete!  Even as Christ has not changed, so neither has the plan of God for the church.  Our transformation will burn in God's heart "until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ" (Eph 4:13).

You see, the focus of both leadership and congregations should be upon attaining Christlike transformation.  This has been the Father's purpose from the beginning of time and it remains His unchanging goal at the end of the age (See Gen 1:26-27 and Rom 8:28-29)

At the same time, just as an individual can have a unique calling, so congregations can be called to fulfill a variety of subordinate, yet important, priorities.  A congregation may have a strong outreach program to the poor or they may possess a special grace to release spiritual gifts.  A church may have a unique skill to reach youth or a wisdom in strengthening marriages.   There are many legitimate tasks assigned by God to individual congregations. 

The problem is that, too often, we define ourselves by what we do for God rather than what we become to Him. What pleases the Father most is not what proceeds from our hands but what rises from our hearts. He is seeking the revelation of His Son in us.

Thus, over the years, I have learned that there is nothing on earth that so pleases the Father's heart as when Jesus Christ is revealed in us.  It is this singular goal: the focused pursuit of Christlikeness, that is our quest at In Christ's Image Training (ICIT). 

That I May Know Him
Our mission statement at ICIT is to bring as many people to heaven as we can, in as Christlike condition as possible.  When we refer to becoming Christlike, we mean becoming people who think, pray and act out of love; Christians who are humble and committed to true spiritual unity with other churches; disciples who are known for their love for one another. 

This is why we focus on revealing Christ Himself instead of being caught up perfecting peripheral or subordinate doctrines.   Other aspects of Christianity develop correctly only as they are built upon the foundation of Christlikeness.  No aspect of our spirituality was created to exist apart from Christ. 

In pursuing Christlikeness we find true balance and spiritual assurance that we are not being led astray.  Indeed, Paul said that the result of seeking the full stature of Christ, is that "we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming" (Eph 4:14).

Paul warned that people can be "carried about by every wind of doctrine."   Yes, false doctrines are dangerous, but Paul wasn"t limiting his warning only to false teachings. For even a true doctrine can have a false emphasis and lead us astray.  The pursuit of Christlikeness aligns us with the Father's highest priority for our lives. It secures us upon the path to truth.

Paul also wrote that intimacy with Jesus Christ was the deepest cry of his heart.  He wrote, "that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death" (Phil 3:10).  Yet, he was not speaking of some esoteric knowledge of Christ, but an intimacy that lead to conformity.  Do you see this? He wrote, "that I may know Him...being conformed."  Knowing Christ and being conformed to Him is of the same essence.

Our quest at ICIT is to see hundreds of thousands of Christlike Christians planted in every nation of the world.  If radical Muslims will lay their lives down in murder and hatred of their enemies, how much more must we, as followers of the Lamb, lay our lives down in love to secure salvation for our enemies.

A Time of Training
Are you one whom God has chosen to reveal Jesus? Is your passion to reveal the Son of God?  Do you have an inner desire to deepen your spirituality?  Then consider registering for In Christ's Image Online Training.  The first level lasts six months and provides intense, focused attention on conformity to Christ that will deepen your spiritual walk with God.

Visit www.icitc.org for more information on the In Christ's Image Training program.