Becoming More Like Jesus - God's Plan for Your Life

Allen Jessee - 9/10/2023

Join Pastor Allen as he shares a transformational message on God's purpose for your life - to become more like Jesus. You'll learn practical steps to grow spiritually each day through simplifying your priorities, focusing on Christ, remembering heaven's reward, and more. This sermon will motivate you to keep running the race of faith as you are gradually transformed into Christ's image. Discover the biblical keys to living a purposeful, God-honoring life and becoming the man or woman God created you to be.

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well hey everybody man I want to welcome you here this weekend we're so glad that you're with us when we're your TV
watching online wherever you are at one of our in-person locations maybe in Bluefield or Marion over in Bristol or
here in Abingdon out in country chapel wherever you are today I believe that
God has brought you here or allowed you to watch from your location for this message now we've been talking about
purpose and why God has created us and a lot of times I share a message that
honestly there are times I don't feel qualified to share that message I mean it's a truth out of scripture that I'm
just like I'm not sure I can really convey that and teach it in a way that people can understand
but today I feel like this is a message that at least I have a lot of time
invested that I can share with you I don't know that I'm qualified to teach it but I feel like I can at least share
with you some of the mistakes I've made in my own life and sort of my journey as I followed Christ over these past 45
years and that Jesus somehow would connect us together today and help us to
understand of who he wants us to be so a little review in case you missed the last couple of weeks we sort of kicked
off this series we didn't title it on baptism Sunday but we kicked it off last
week as the path of purpose and on baptism Sunday I sort of shared the
first purpose that God created us for is not to do something for God or even to
you know be somebody that he desires for us to be but the first primary purpose
that you were created is just to receive something from God to receive the love that God has for you and that's sort of
the Bedrock of our life and if you don't get this if you don't understand that all God wants you to do first and
foremost and he and his creation of you is to receive the love he has for you and I've said many times that if you
truly understood how much God loves you you would serve him you would love him because it's incredible what how much
the lord loves us so that's the first purpose and then last week we talked about that second purpose that God also
has created us to belong to his family the church is his family many of you went online and you went to our website
and you clicked that little Next Step Tab and you went down and and you looked at how to join and become a part of our
church family and man that's awesome I'm so glad you did and for those of you who still need to do that I want to encourage you to do it now today and
these are really building blocks so the first one I'm loved by God second he wants somebody to belong to his family
that he's created so I can find support and I can have people to help me along this journey in life and then the third
purpose I want to look at today not not just God wants to love me and not just he wants me to belong to his family but
here's the third thing that he wants the third purpose in your life is you're called to become like God you're called
to become like Jesus now when I share that it's often
intimidating because you think well I'm imperfect and Jesus was perfect and so
there's no way I'm ever going to fulfill it and you're right there's no way we're ever going to become a God that's not
what he's asking us to be but he wants us to become more and more as we serve Jesus God wants us to be more and more
like his son and we find this taught in scripture in Romans chapter 8 verse 28
and 29 these are very famous passages it says this we know that God calls us
everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to this purpose for them
that's all of us who are believers in Jesus for God knew his people in advance and
he chose them and here's the purpose to become like his son it's the third
purpose of your life once you get into God's family God wants you to grow up
and he wants you to become like Jesus Christ so my third calling in life is to
become like Christ to become like Jesus so let's talk about that what does that mean well um again you're not ever going
to be like Jesus completely you're not going to be a God and Jesus we know is God God is God we're not we have to
understand that but uh it's an antidote to stress when we realize that that he's
the god of the universe and we're part of his plan God wants you to become
Godly he wants you to begin to inherit and practice the attributes and the life
that Jesus lived before us in other words he wants you to take on the characteristics of his son and he puts
us in his family to learn that so uh we've had that old saying like father like son the Bible says that God is
loving that God is joyful God's peaceful God is patient with us God is kind God
is self-controlled he is merciful it's a fruit of the spirit we're taught Peter teaches us about these are all pictures
of the characteristics of the life of Jesus and if you're ever going to come
like Jesus it means that we're to be filled with love we're to be filled with
joy that God wants us to be filled with peace in our lives to have patience in our lives self-control all these
quantities and qualities that Jesus had he wants us to have in our life now in
the Bible it Compares becoming like Jesus to running a race and again I've been running this race called the
Christian Life for years and years and years I got saved when I was almost 17 years old and I'm 61. you can do the
math and it's been a long long time been in Ministry 40 full-time years this year so it is uh a race of life that's how
the Christian Life is compared in scripture it's not a 50-yard Dash you know that we're running
it's a marathon and I'm not a marathon runner by any means but it's likened to
that in the Christian Journey as we grow day by day in our life and all of us are
running the race the marathon to maturity that God desires for us in our life and our goal
is to become the man of God that God created me to be or the woman of God that God created you to be that's the
goal that God has for us now many of you know I just got back from Kenya and where we were at in Kenya was the place
it's called the city of Champions for runners and every morning when we would get up at Daybreak there would be
Runners from all over the world that were Olympian Runners and they come to this little city of El doret Kenya and
that's where they do all their training for the Olympics all around the world and so all the Olympic teams have come
and they're training there and all the coaches are there the guy lives there that ran the marathon in an hour and 59
minutes that broke the two hour and the reason they trained there is because uh it's 8 000 the altitude is 8 000 feet so
I could hardly walk much less run without gasping for breath but if you
can learn to run in that culture then you can be a champion anywhere in the
world so the neat thing about when we liken our Christian journey to a racist
God doesn't want us to stay the same he doesn't want you to be in spiritual diapers your entire life he wants us to
grow up just like we want our kids to grow up so as we look at Jesus you know that God wants you to become like him so
how do we do this I mean this is the real question and how do we run our race and become more and more on this
Marathon to maturity to be like Jesus well I want to give you some steps today and these are just steps that I've
learned they're pretty simple nothing earth-shattering but I think they can really help you they've helped me here's
the first one if I'm going to run the race of life that God has for me I have to simplify my life I just have to
simplify my life I got to simplify other things in my life I got to cut out clean out discard all the junk that's holding
me back from becoming the person that God wants me to become and if if you're going to be who God wants you to be you
got to clean out some clutter I mean you gotta clean up your mind uh you probably
will have to lessen your schedule you got to clean up your relationships get
rid of the all the unnecessary baggage in your life in other words when you look at these
marathon runners and these guys over in Kenya they're not running in a parka all right I mean they're they're running and
uh and and you know a little flimsy pair of shorts and a t-shirt that you can
sort of see through I mean they don't have nine layers of clothes on them when they're running a marathon they want anything weighing them down they are
running in the lightest clothes and the lightest shoes they can find so in order
to run the race to maturity in the Christian Journey you don't want a bunch of extra baggage that you're trying to
carry through life so really if you're going to come to man or the one that God wants you to be the first thing you got
to do is probably just get rid of some stuff I mean you're to eliminate the diversions the distractions the detours
the dead ends the time wasters there's probably some people and some friendships in your life that maybe you
need to evaluate and think do I want to continue in these relationships and how do you know well are they drawing you
closer to God are they the ones that are pulling you farther away from God now the place where we see this in
scriptures Hebrews chapter 12. it's one of my favorite passages in all the Bible and in Hebrews chapter 12 we see this
metaphor of Life as a race and I want us to look at this in verse one this is
what it says it says let us strip off anything that slows us down or holds us
back especially those sins that wrap themselves so tightly around our feet trip us up and let us run with patience
the particular race that God has set before us so what the scripture teaches is that
God has a particular Race for Your Life and you're the only one that can run
your race now this is important because your mom can't run your race for you and
your boyfriend your girlfriend can't run your race for you somebody else can't run your race and by the way you can't
run anybody else's race either you have a particular race that God wants you to
run in life and yeah the problem is everybody else has a race that God wants them to run
and they often want you to run along with them in their race so uh
everybody's got their own race to run and you have your race to run and you have to decide am I going to run my race
am I going to run you know the race that God has called me to or am I going to get caught up and running somebody
else's race or somebody else's plan for my life that they desire for me I mean you can't run in boats right you have to
decide so I want to challenge you the particular race that God has designed
for you is the one you want to run that's the one you want to run and just say God uh here I am I want to
get closer to you and become more like Jesus so Lord help me strip off everything help me get the junk out of
my life Lord bring up those things that are holding me back the habits that are
hurting me the hurts and the Hang-Ups that I've struggled with that are holding me back from being like you God
I want to let go of those things so I can run the particular race so you have created me to run which means you're
going to have to let go of some things in your life and you're going to have to let go of some expectations in your life
because you just can't please everybody I mean you just can't you're not going to be able to please everybody and
please God I would say please God and then you know everybody else is going to
have to they're going to be okay with that because you can only run your race now you got to decide that God put me on
this Earth to you know please all these other people to please my parents and you know I want you to please your
parents do you want to run your race Felicia girlfriend well you know that's a Temptation please your teachers your
little click your buddies you know is is that who you're running your race to please or are you going to say God I
really need to let go of some stuff here I need to evaluate my life simplify it get rid of some things that are keeping
me from being all that you want me to be and then focus in on that one race that
God has created you to run and run it with all your heart and man when you
begin to do that life just gets so much more peaceful and you realize you're
running your race for an audience of one it is freeing in your life so number one the marathon to maturity simplify your
life here's number two don't get impatient and don't get in a hurry
I would say this uh race that we're running uh you don't ever fully complete
I know in a marathon it's 26 miles or something and you can cross the finish line
we cross the finish line when we get to heaven and we run this race of air maturity our
entire life here on Earth so don't get impatient you're not going to finish it in a week or a month or
even years God's plan is to make you the person he wants you to be and it's a
lifetime plan it's going to take you your entire life and you just can't run that race quickly I mean it's not some
50-yard Dash It's a marathon so don't get impatient I remember back in high school and uh I think I've shared this
before but I'm not a runner I never have been but they they have this thing with
your physical fitness test you had to run the 600 yard dash well I wasn't always a chunky guy and I could run
pretty quick actually and so I remember when we go out there and there was this
big track and you had to run I think there's four laps around the track for your 600 yard dash whatever it was and
uh I remember the first time that you know coach flew the whistle and and he was a guy I really liked he sort of
invested in me I wanted to make him proud and I remember when he tells me about 600 he said go with everything you
got and he blew the whistle do and I went with everything I I mean I ran and
I'll tell you why I'm ahead of everybody in my class and I only had about 30 kids and some of them were athletes I
outpaced them all for about the first half the lap and then as I go around that first lap everybody begins to pass
me second lap I sort of stop and walk a little bit third lap I'm gasping for breath and the girls start passing me by
I was second to last finishing the 600 yard dash I didn't impress him at all so
you know I would say you got to pace yourself okay you just don't go out there with everything you got first day
you got to pace yourself you're going to run out of steam you don't you know if you don't do that you're gonna give up
and you're never going to finish so when you become a Christian you remember those days I remember when I was almost 17 I got saved at a Christian Camp and
I was just so excited I was on fire for the Lord I didn't know much about him but man I had a passion he had redeemed
me and saved me and and I was excited I was forgiven and I I just remember growing so quick in those early days I
mean I had a heart like never before to read the Bible I wanted all my family and all my friends to know Jesus I was
witnessing everybody I was so bold and you know I did that for probably a good
year and then you know a lot of my friends got saved and I had the opportunity to see them come to know Jesus but then I began to think this is
a pace I can't sustain I it's it's too much I mean I was just all the time
preaching on the school campus I mean it was crazy and I grew really really fast
in those early days but then I realized if I'm gonna sustain and not burn out I
gotta Pace myself because honestly God wants strong stable secure Believers and
when the rough Winds of Life come against us he wants us to be able to stand like a solid oak tree you know and
it takes a long time we got big oak trees in our yard and I've had some guys
over to look at them they say they're well over a couple hundred years old so that's the way that God wants us to run
the race we got to pace ourselves we can't get impatient maturity takes time
it just takes time here's the third thing we got to spend some time focusing on Jesus every day every day
you know I somehow have to build into my schedule and my schedule is like yours
often busy but I got to spend a little bit of time now I'm not talking about two hours you know I mean if you can
that's awesome I hope in my next season of life I can just spend a couple hours every morning with Jesus but right now
the schedule that I keep I'm trying to spend a few minutes sometimes five
sometimes ten sometimes I'll spend 15. but I want to focus on Jesus at a
certain point in my life every day and that's really what this next verse talks about in this race for life why do
I need to spend some time focusing my thoughts and my mind on Jesus every day because whatever you want to become you
need to think about if I want to become like Jesus I got to think about him because you become
whoever you spend the most time with I mean that's how our mind works and if you hang out with people have no
ambition you're not going to have any ambition you hang out with people who are critical all of a sudden you've become critical you hang out with people
that are you know all time fussing and cussing and doing well that's that's who
you become you know I shared a message years ago about show me your friends I'll show your future that's so true so
if you spend time with Jesus every day then you know that time you'll become
more and more and more like him now we call this a quiet time for those of you that are new to Faith I would say one of
the most important things you can do in your life is just establish a quiet time I think the best times in the morning
but I'm sort of a morning person but just get up go find yourself your favorite chair or whatever and sit down
and spend some time with Jesus you know I sort of read the Bible for five or ten
minutes and then I talk to God just you know like I'm talking to you and
I tell the Lord a bunch of stuff I got on my heart and and then I I take a little time and listen to see what he
wants to say to me and some days I'm stressed and I try to give God that stress and I said Lord I need your help
today and and then I just I sort of sit there and I just I just let God give me
his peace and remind me that he's got my future in his hands he's going to take care of me but I just think spend some
time focusing on Jesus every day and so what the verse says in verse 2 Hebrews 12 he says we do this in other words we
we're running our race of Life by keeping our eyes on Jesus so he tells us
to do this focusing on him every day on whom our faith depends from start to
finish I just say you can't become like Jesus unless you spend some time with him here's the fourth thing when it gets
hard remember the reward because life's going to get hard from time to time when
life gets hard you have to remember as a child of God the reward that we have you
know the goal of God the goal for God to make you the man or the woman he wants you to be is this lifetime process again
it's not some quick little 50-yard Dash so you're going to go through in this life that God gives you to live a lot of
problems I mean you're going to encounter pressures and trials and difficulty you're going to have ups and
downs in your life and God's going to use all those things the good times and
the bad times to make you more like him so God's number one goal is to make you like Jesus Christ that's what he says he
wants us to become he wants you to be loved he wants you to belong he wants you to become like his son Jesus and
that means and I want you to listen real close here that if God's going to make you like Jesus then he's going to allow
you to go through things that he allowed his son to go through I mean were there
times that Jesus was lonely yes there was were there times that Jesus got criticized yes were there times that he
was betrayed absolutely well there are times when Jesus was worn out even
though he was God that he was fatigued he was tired and he had to escape after he'd been teaching all these times he
was human but he was God he had to go to the mountain and be restored there were times he was wore out well there are
times Jesus was misunderstood yes so if God didn't spare his own son from those
things why do you think he's going to spare you he's not and the next time you start to ask now Lord here I've been
trying to serve you I've been going to church I've been given a little and all these kind of things and why is this happening to me well you need to realize
that he's going to use that to build you in your maturity he's building your character he's changing your attitude
he's helping you become more and more like Christ so instead of asking why
just you know I always say well what you know what do you want me to learn from
this situation obviously so I'm in inside of my control so so God there's a lesson here you want me to learn and
what is it I mean we shouldn't be surprised when problems come into our life problems are part of the process on
air Marathon to maturity notice here in verse two and three Hebrews 12 says this
said Jesus did not give up when he was running his race because of the cross
on the contrary now let's cross a problem yeah I mean it was pain he died on the contrary because of the joy that
was waiting for him in heaven the reward he thought nothing of the disgrace of
dying on the cross he knew the reward on the other side and he is now seated at
the right side of God's Throne so think of what he went through how he put up
was so much so much hatred from Sinners don't let yourselves become discouraged
and give up man isn't that great words from the author of Hebrews it's part of the plan problems are part of the plan
and here's a great promise I love I love reading Peter you know he struggled so much in his Christian Life and often say
things that you know he didn't think about I mean I feel like I can relate that dude in chapter 5 of First Peter he
says this after you suffer for a while for a short time God who gives all Grace will make
everything right isn't that neat he will make you strong he will support you he
will keep you from falling he calls you to share in his glory in Christ a glory
that will continue forever so we're gonna have some short-term
problems here on Earth for some long-term glory in heaven well here's
the fifth thing I think these guys that are champions one things when I learned in Kenya is that if you're going to be a
champion Olympic runner you have to gather a team of other Runners to run with you now you may disagree with that
those of you who are Runners I don't know again I'm not a runner but David uh Pastor David said if you're going to be
an Olympic champion you're not going to get there on your own he said every coach here in El doret gets a team to
run with their fastest Runners and I think that's true in the Christian Life you have to gather a team to run with
you I want a team to run with me it's your race nobody can run your race but
people can support us in the race we're running and in your life at different stages of the race you're going to need
different people to run along with you you know nobody's going to run your entire race with you because if you're
married you know there were several years you weren't married you know that spouse wasn't running that race with you
different stages of your life you have different people running the race with you helping you encouraging and
supporting you now in the church we call that a small group and if you're not involved in a small group why again I
would say you need some Runners to run with you you need a small group and it's important they'll help you when the
troubles come and the problems come they will sustain you and strengthen you and be with you because if you're out there
running on your own you're probably going to give up you're going to get discouraged and you're not going to become the man or the woman that God
wants you to be but you need some other folks in your life to run with you this
last time I was in Kenya I think that was my 12th or 13th time to Africa and uh God used Africa just to change my
life one of my trips to Tanzania I remember this proverb I wrote it down
it's not a scripture but it's a proverb that uh somebody in Africa left and I
thought man so true this is what it says to run fast run by yourself but to run far run with people I never
forgot that so you know we don't need a hundred people to run with us every day you know probably don't need 20. but I
promise you're going to need four or five folks in your life to run with you and we just we just need some folks who
we can be accountable to and share our hardships with and you're running with them they're running with you you're
supporting each other and when you feel like giving up they're going to keep you going well that's important uh Hebrews
chapter 10 says this let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love
and Good Deeds Burgess means to encourage let us not give up meeting together a summer in the habit of doing
but let us encourage one another as you see the day approaching so you need people to run with that's the reason I
encourage you to belong to a local church family because here you're going to find support we looked at this last
week and I encourage you to be a part of the church well there's one last thing and man this this one gets me every time
I think about it but if you're going to run your Marathon to mature the sixth thing you need to remember the Bible
teaches about this race in life is you just realize that what I don't finish
God will but all complete because I got a lot of Dreams a lot of plans and I
don't know if God will ever allow me to finish some of the things and dreams he's placed in my heart but whatever I
don't finish God's going to finish I love that while I don't get finished in my life God will
I was created to become like Jesus Christ I'm never going to completely become like Jesus until he comes for me
and takes me to Heaven eliminates sin but if I don't get there and there's some remaining parts left
God's going to complete the character development in my life and in your life one day he's going to finish it he's
going to bring us to Perfection completion he says in heaven and think
about this in Philippians chapter one is what Paul says he's thinking about in that prison cell he's in as he writes his great promise Paul says I'm sure
that God who begin the good work within you will continue his work remember it's
not my work it's not your word it's his word until it is finally finished on
that day when Christ Jesus comes back again friends what a day that's going to
be what a day when you either go into heaven or you
know you know he could come for us in the Rapture but either one it's a win what a day it's gonna be because on that
day when you see Jesus face to face you're going to be transformed the
scripture says that's when the race is complete that's when we are mature in
him when we are transformed to become like him all your weakness gone all your
limps come all your fears and faults gone all your failures and frailties
gone all your insecurities gone all your blemishes and flaws gone
and you will be transformed into Perfection one day
you will reflect the glory of God then you know the older I get the more
exciting that seems to me that's such good news I'm not who I ought to be
today you know you're not who you ought to be we're a fraction of what we could be but God says okay I'm taking my time
I'm cheering you on at every stage you just take every every step with purpose
because one day I'm gonna finish what you didn't finish and you're going to be
changed instantly into my likeness if you've put yourself into my care and my hands oh what a day
that's going to be what I don't finish in my lifetime but you don't finish in your lifetime God is going to finish you
know in this race of life you may have struggled in your race yeah welcome to the human race right in
this race you may have stumbled we've all been there in this race you may have been sidelined we've been there
but your race is not over it's not your heart's still beating your race is still
going and it's never too late to get back up and get in the race again it's
awesome it's wonderful and I want to encourage you to run with us in this family called Highlands man let's all
run together to do great things for God he wants to do great things in and through us and what we don't finish
he's going to finish as your pastor man I'm committed to help you cross the
finish line so get in the race and let's run together hey would you pray with me
let's pray Lord thank you so much that you have called us to this marathon of
maturity and God we may have to simplify some things to get rid of some baggage to
maybe change some relationships we're involved in or let go of a friendship that's just dragging us down
help us not to get impatient I'm impatient I I get impatience so much and
Lord just remind me how long it takes you to form and build an oak tree you're
making oak trees in us not little tomato Vines God you're you're you're
perfecting us and Lord uh I know that sometimes we struggle in
this race and sometimes we get really discouraged but God put a team around us to run with we need each other we need
support when we get down we need we need help because there are days that life throws things at us we just want to give
up and God remind us there is a reward waiting
when we see you what we don't finish God you will
there is a day coming where we will become like Jesus wow
God I'm so far from that today and yet I've been in this race for a long long time
but I'm learning every day trying to spend a little time with you every day and God you bring up things to me every
day that I need to deal with and reckon with and get out of my life and ask for
forgiveness because I'm so imperfect a guy we serve a perfect God who loves
us and is cheering us on every day and so Lord help us just to understand
that our third purpose that we were created is to become like Jesus
and if you're here today and you've never trusted Jesus while you're just missing out on life
and I would encourage you what what in the world are you waiting on you you really think you're going to find peace in this world it's crazy you need Jesus
he loves you he wants you to receive his love and all you have to do to do that is
just open up your heart just invite him in and say Lord I know you send Jesus
and on the cross for me and he paid my sin dead and today I receive him as Lord
and savior of my life and got to ask you to forgive me and cleanse me and help me now to demonstrate that you have saved
me by going public in baptism joining a local church
getting on this marathon of maturity to race every day until you call me home thank you Jesus for what you're doing in
my life Lord thank you for loving us and thank you for challenging us every day
to become like you have your will and Away in Jesus name amen

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