For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Romans 8:29 ESV)
Remember, if you will, the recounting of Jesus at the pool of Bethesda in John 5. He was among throngs of the sick, blind, and lame crowding around that pool during a Jewish holiday hoping for healing. When Jesus found a man who had been sick for thirty-eight years he told him, “Get up, take your bed, and walk. And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked” (John 5:8-9).
This miracle happened on the Sabbath, “so the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to take up your bed” (John 5:10). Rather than celebrate a miracle of God through Jesus, the Jews concerned themselves with a rigidly external morality with only the appearance of holiness.
We too can get caught in the “morality trap” today. We can too easily focus only upon the behavior of ourselves or other individuals. And when we shift into consistent thinking of this nature our spiritual walk can be relegated to simple behavior modification where we put forth our effort into fulfilling a list of “do’s and don’ts”.
Rather than getting stuck in this cycle of hollow religion we ought to remember that we have been “predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son”. In other words, we are meant to imitate Jesus, becoming more like him with every passing moment. When we focus and pattern our lives after Christ, genuine morality and good fruit will follow.
Do you get caught in the “morality trap”, simply following a list of religious do’s and dont’s, rather than imitating Jesus?