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. God's plan has not faded 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 fullness of Christ" (Eph. 4:13).
You see, the focus of both leadership and congregations should be upon attaining Christlike transformation and His love for people. 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. 8:29.)
The problem is that, too often, as Christians 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. There is nothing on earth that so pleases the Father's heart as when Jesus Christ is revealed through us. As Paul wrote, we become a “fragrance of Christ to God” (2 Cor. 2:15).
This is why we focus on revealing Christ Himself. Other aspects of Christianity develop correctly only as they emerge out of our greater pursuit of Christlikeness. You see? No aspect of our spirituality functions properly apart from our living union with Christ. It is here, in pursuing Christlikeness, that we find true spiritual assurance that we are not being led astray.
Consider: Paul said that the result of seeking the measure of the stature that belongs to the fullness 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" (Eph. 4).
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, for “truth is in Jesus” (Eph. 4:21). He Himself is the way, the truth and the life.
As a result, Paul wrote that intimacy with Christ was the deepest cry of his heart. He said, "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).
He was not speaking of some esoteric knowledge of Christ but an intimacy that led to conformity. Do we see this? He wrote, "That I may know Him . . . being conformed." Knowing Christ and being conformed to Him is of the same essence. Christ Himself is the true foundation upon which we must build our lives.