OH TO BE LIKE JESUS
By Dan Luehrs
"And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him" (John 8:29 NAS).
I can tell you that nothing burns more in my heart than to be like Jesus. Oh how I covet this! When I read of His life in the scriptures, seeing how He pleased the Father one hundred percent of the time, I read in awe. When I watch a video about His life and ministry on earth, I want to be like that. But this hasn't always been the case. When I was a young Christian and we sang about being like Jesus, I thought to myself, "I don't want to be like Jesus." Even though I knew that I should desire to be, though I didn't want to be a hypocrite before God by just singing about it; so I asked Him to put this desire in my heart. While His life looks almost impossible for us to live, I don't think God is asking us to relive the life of Jesus all over again, but for Him to live His life through us as He wills. If we can understand that we were all created differently for a different purpose in His body, we can be more content in whom God has called us to be.
"For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot should say, "because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body," it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, "because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body," it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. And if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now there are many members, but one body" (1 Corinthians 12:14-20 NAS).
I have often questioned what Christ-likeness is for me? In other words, how does He want to live His life through me? I believe that to live ones life for him/her self after being saved would be the most foolish thing we could possibly do. Now the question remains, "Will I follow Him no matter what?" Are we willing to pay the price of following the Lamb wherever He wants to go in our life? We sing, "Wherever He goes I will follow," but do we mean it still when everybody leaves us and people think we are nuts? You might think, "God won't lead us into such places, causing our family and friends to think that we were not in our right minds." Don't be too sure of that. Jesus' own family thought He was crazy, and we must enter into His sufferings. "And when His own people heard of this, they went out to take custody of Him; for they were saying, "He has lost His senses" (Mark 3:21 NAS). King Agrippa also thought that Paul had gone mad (see Acts 26:24).
The places that Jesus will lead us into will not be what we have imagined in our carnal mind, like that of great success in ministry or business. He may give us these things, but I guarantee that it will include much suffering because this is the New Testament example of Jesus and His followers. I believe that, "What will make you a king in heaven is unesteemed on earth." It will take great sacrifice on our part, carrying our cross daily and following the Lamb wherever He goes. I wonder how people in heaven would live their lives differently if they had a chance to do it all over? I believe that most of them would leave everything they had in life to follow Jesus, even in the hard places of life where they thought they could not go due to fear in obeying God or for not wanting to leave their secure jobs and money behind. Somehow, people in the church are prone to seeking after the riches of the world that cannot be kept, while forsaking the true riches of the kingdom of God they can keep. I believe this is one of the greatest tests needed to be passed for us to go into the higher levels in God.
WHERE ARE WE GOING ANYWAY?
"He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne" (Revelation 3:21 NAS).
We are on a journey to the throne of God; on the path of life to rule and reign with Jesus. But we need to be willing to pay the price in following Him, and becoming like Him in the process. This is the purpose of life! The question remains; will I pay the price? We can either pay the high price of going through life our own way, ending up with nothing, or we can follow Jesus and sit with Him on His throne forever. This will be worth it all! "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us" (Romans 8:18 NAS). If we love Jesus and desire to be with Him at all costs, it doesn't matter where He wants to go in our lives, as long as we are with Him!
In this journey we are not alone. The saints of God are all around us because they are one in the Spirit of God. I believe, as we are walking toward the throne we are passing through them into the greater revelations of the Lord Jesus. Our body is growing old with each passing day, but our spirit man is being renewed day by day. "Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us (outstretched), let us also lay aside (put off) every encumbrance (hindrance), and the sin which so easily entangles us (that keeps us from going forward), and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us" (Hebrews 12:1 NAS). We must now put off every hindrance and distraction if we are to win this race to receive the prize of our high calling. We are the hope of the saints in heaven; we must complete the course that is set before us so that we will all be complete with them. "Because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they should not be made perfect (complete)" (Hebrews 11:40 NAS). They will not be complete until God's house is full; that is; not until all of heaven is filled and God's thrones are filled with people. "And the master said to the slave, "Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled" (Luke 14:23 NAS).
Let me try to more clearly illustrate this through visions that other people have had about this. One man found himself in a hallway with the Lord and Jesus turned to him and said, "Let Me show you My family pictures." As they began to walk together down a hallway, the man saw picture frames on the wall. While the frames had no pictures in them, the signature of Jesus was in its corner. The man, being dumbfounded said, "Lord there is only Your signature here!" The Lord said, "They only knew Me a little." They continued down the hallway and when the man began to see the outlines of people's faces on the canvases, Jesus said, "These knew Me a little bit more than the others did." The farther they walked down the hallway, the better he could make out each person's features on the canvases. At last, they entered into a large room where the Lord exclaimed, "This is My living room." As the man studied each picture, he was astonished by the exact likeness of each person to the likeness of Jesus!
What am I saying? I believe the Lord is trying to show us that wherever we are in our revelation of Him, His likeness will be showing through us by our renewed thoughts, words, motives, attitudes, and actions. I see this journey as our progression toward the fullness of Jesus Christ in our lives. We start out getting saved with just the seed of Jesus in us. As we mature in His likeness, we begin to look and act more and more like Him with the passing of each test that we overcome through the power of His word and Spirit. It is not until we have passed these tests of God in our lives that we can partake of the crown of life, which I believe is the full likeness of Jesus. "Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial (tests), because when he has stood the test (passed the tests), he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him" (James 1:12 NIV). God allows these tests, just as a schoolteacher tests her students to see what they have learned from their lessons. We all have different tests to pass because we all have a different eternal calling that for which God is preparing us.
Bill Britton wrote: "Paul tells us in I Corinthians 15:49 that 'as we have borne the image of the earthly, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.' We were once in the image of the Adamic man. We once bore the image of the man of sin, of the earthly man, but we shall bear the image of the Christ. We have born the image of Adam, we shall bear the image of Christ. Paul says. 'Have borne' is past tense - that means I am not bearing it now. I am not under his control. I am free from sin - I don't have to walk in sin. I don't have to obey it any more. I am not a slave to sin any longer. But I'm not yet bearing the fullness of the heavenly image because we 'shall bear' is a future tense. I'm not yet bearing the fullness of what He has prepared for me. Then where am I? I am in a process - a progressive development. There is a present, progressive work going on in me. That's that redemption of the soul that is happening. The quicker we get our souls redeemed, the quicker we yield to the spirit, the quicker we are going to get in there for our bodies to be redeemed. As we have borne the image of Adam, we shall bear the image of Christ." - (End of quote).
In Rick Joyner's book, The Final Quest, in a vision he found himself walking to God's throne. As he looked to his left and right, he noticed that the people watching him were dazzling and more regal than anyone he had ever seen. They said to him, "You are one of the saints fighting in the last battle." He then said, "How do you know me?" They responded, "We are the great cloud of witnesses. We know you, and see all that you are doing. We are the least in heaven this glory we have is our reward for our earthly lives. These are our eternal positions that we will have forever. Each level of glory after this is much greater than the one before it. Each level has a more brilliant spiritual body than the one before it because they are closer to the throne where God's glory is." As Rick progressed towards the throne, he talked to some of the saints in the ranks. They began to reveal to him the things in his life that were not like Jesus. He repented of those sins and was cleansed from them. At last, he reached the throne where Jesus was seated and all the overcomers with Him.
Again, I believe this vision shows the progression of the Christian life into the fullness of God. We are to go from glory to glory to receive the supreme glory. The cloud of witnesses is lined up as we pass though them into higher levels of God through the revealing of His word in us, which is the revelation of Jesus. He is all truth. Jesus promised us in John 8:31-32, "… If ye continue in my word… ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:31-32 KJV). As we continue to follow and obey Him (the Word) and not quit, the revelation of Him will set us free from the power of the flesh. Wherever we are in the revelation of Jesus' likeness in our life is where we are in the great cloud of witnesses. God desires to open our spiritual eyes (understanding); and this is what Jesus came to do so that we might understand spiritual realities. While we must see ourselves as God sees us in righteousness, we must also see that which is not like Him. Then we will want to be changed into His likeness! But the key is we must first see Him in order that we may desire to be like Him. As we progress further in our journey, we will grow in Him and have His nature while repenting of our unChristlikeness. As we are changed into His likeness, we are made worthy by His power and grace to sit on one of His thrones. Until we have Jesus' likeness in us we will be denied our place on the throne.
The books The Pilgrim's Progress and Hinds' Feet on High Places also speak about us progressing toward the goal of being changed into the likeness of Jesus; to rule and reign with Him. We can no longer stay on the spiritual level we are on; but we must go higher into the realms of God by obeying and following Him.
PRESSING FORWARD TO OUR HIGH CALL
"I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:14 NAS).
This word "press" means: "to pursue, follow after, and given to suffer." There is only one way that we will ever be seated on the throne with Him: never, never, never, give up! We must have a goal in life and ours must be to press forward towards the goal of His high calling daily. This must be our only goal if we want to obtain it. Our daily battles and the things we suffer are making us into His likeness. We must not run from these trials because they are sent by God to prepare us for the greater revelation of Jesus in us. "That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing (revelation) of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1:7 KJV). Notice it is "the trial of our faith" that is more precious than gold because it is the very thing that is making us like Him.
I truly believe that our high calling is for us to come into the full likeness of Jesus Christ in this lifetime. But it will only come about as we are faithfully following Him and overcoming all that He has allowed in our life. This will take great humility and patience on our part to follow Him and be like Him. He will lead us into the difficult places where we will have to trust Him completely. Our mind will be telling us to do one thing and our spirit man will tell us to do another; we will feel like we are being pulled in two. We will have to die to our flesh in order to obey Him! To be dead to our flesh does not mean that we are not tempted to sin anymore, but that our spirit man has grown stronger than the man of sin in us and we no longer have to obey it. Even Jesus struggled with His fleshly mind in Gethsemane before His death, but in His spirit man He was stronger to obey the Father! "… Abba! Father! All things are possible for Thee; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will (His fleshly will), but what Thou wilt" (Mark 14:36 NASB). Our faith and trust will also grow in the Father's will with every passing trial that He leads us into while we totally depend on Him to get through victoriously. We then will grow into the likeness of Jesus, similar to growing older and wiser in the physical body through time and life experiences.
As a Christian we must have a three-fold experience with Jesus in order for us to come into full maturity in Him. We must know Him as, "The Way, the Truth, and the Life." This is the "thirty, sixty, and one hundredfold of God." These are all found in the Feasts of the Old Testament and are experienced in the New Testament life. The first one is "Passover," where we experience the life changing power of Jesus as the "Way" in our life and we receive salvation through the power of His blood. The next is "Pentecost," the "Truth" and the down payment of the Holy Spirit that has sealed us unto the day of full redemption. The last one is the "Feast of Tabernacles," the "Life," the fullness of the Spirit of God that brings us into the likeness of Jesus. (I have written much more on these in my book, His Coming Glory, which can be found on our website at the end of this chapter). If we now have been able to experience the first two Feasts of Israel in our body and lifetime by faith in His word, than certainly when we have matured in Him we will be able to experience "The Feast of Tabernacles" in this lifetime also. But we must be seeking and asking for this as we did the other two feasts in our life. It will not just happen by just going through life, we must seek for it! Paul the apostle wrote in Colossians 2:17, "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday (feasts), or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ." The word "is" was added by the translators of the King James Version, it should read, "The feasts" "Are a shadow of things to come to the body of Christ!" The pattern of this is found in both Old and New Testaments. We need to be seeking God for His fullness in order to receive it!
Paul knew that he did not walk in all that was available to him when he wrote, "Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own" (Philippians 3:12 NRSV). Jesus promised us that the Holy Spirit would guide us into all truth; Jesus is all Truth! With the help of the Holy Spirit as our guide to the throne, He will lead us into the fullness of God if we will obediently follow Him. "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth… He shall glorify Me; for He shall take of Mine, and shall disclose (show) it to you" (John 16:13-14 NAS). Walking in the "truth" is more than just knowing and obeying doctrines. It's knowing the truth in our hearts and being true to it, and not living a lie that we are something that we are not before God and man. "Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom" (Psalms 51:6 KJV).
If we could just realize Who lives inside of us, we would then realize that we are already partakers (sharers) of the divine nature. "For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust" (2 Peter 1:4 NAS). "For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form" (Colossians 2:9 NAS). In us, His body dwells all the fullness of God! If Jesus is Deity, and He is, then how could we not have complete Deity living in us? "And in Him you have been made complete" (Colossians 2:10 NAS). These truly are precious and magnificent promises of God that we must grab hold of; not to puff us up, but to cause us to humble ourselves before Him!
We are now filled with the fullness of God because Jesus is God! Something that is filled to the top cannot be filled with anything more! "And to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God" (Ephesians 3:19 NAS). The Greek word for "fullness" is "filled!" The words "may be filled" or "might be filled" are not in the original Greek writings. The Greek text reads this way, "To know and the which passeth knowledge, love of Christ, filled with all the fullness of God." Until I read this in the Greek I used to think that we would be filled with the fullness of God one day, but according to Paul's writings we are NOW FILLED with the fullness of God because Jesus is the fullness of God! "For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him" (Colossians 1:19 NAS).
When God took Enoch from the natural earth realm he was translated to the spirit realm. It was not because God loved Enoch more than He did others. It was because Enoch walked with God; living to please God and do His will. I believe he became like God in the process of walking with Him and God was obligated to translate him. The word "translate" means, "to transfer to another place." Enoch came to full maturity in God and overcame death because God translated him." When a seed has grown and become fully matured it must be harvested. This is what happened to Enoch! "By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God" (Hebrews 11:5 KJV). Enoch pleased the heart of God by having faith in Him and by dying to his self-life daily. He grew into God's likeness and did not have to die a physical death. Neither do we if we will follow his pattern! Notice how he was translated, "By faith Enoch was translated!" His faith pleased God. In fact, Enoch's name means "dedicated one or full of faith!" "And without faith it is impossible to please Him…" (Hebrews 11:6 NAS). Enoch had an unwavering faith in God. No matter what happened to him he always trusted God; at rest and peace in God's love. "For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable (is pleasing) to God and approved by men. (Romans 14:17-18 NAS). When we are walking in righteousness we will have peace; and when we have peace, we will have joy in the Holy Spirit. This type of faith pleases the heart of God and keeps us on the path of life.
We are to be, "Looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God…" (2 Peter 3:12 NAS). How do we do hasten the coming of the Lord in our lives? "Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless" (2 Peter 3:14 NAS). Staying pure before God and walking in peace through all circumstances will prepare us for the coming revelation of Jesus. Then we will not be ashamed at His coming.
Enoch is a testimony to our generation that we also can be translated by faith. Even as we have been saved and filled with His Holy Spirit by faith, we too can be translated into the spirit realm by growing in spirit and pleasing God. This is the Feast of Tabernacles fulfilled in us! We must desire this and have a deep passionate love for Jesus as our bridegroom above all the other things of the earth, seeking Him with our whole heart for this to be fulfilled in us. In fact, the Bible never says we cannot have what Enoch had, for all things are possible with God! Jesus made us a promised in Matthew 7:7-8, "Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. "For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened." In the Greek this means we are to continually seek after that which we desire. What greater thing can there be but to be one in spirit with Jesus?
If we will walk with Jesus, follow His pattern of life, and become strong in our spirit man as He did, we will be on our way. Paul said, "Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us" (Philippians 3:17 NAS). It is our walk that will change us! But now listen to what he says about those who have backsliden from the Lord, "For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ" (Philippians 3:18 NAS). We can either progress into His likeness or regress from Him; the choice is up to us! Adam, Enoch, and Noah walked with God… now it is our turn!
"But our citizenship is in heaven (spirit), and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will transform the body of our humiliation that it may be conformed to the body of his glory, by the power that also enables him to make all things subject to himself" (Philippians 3:20-21 NRSV).
I believe what Paul is saying though all of Philippians chapter three is that as we are walking forward on this journey of life (with all the sufferings), we are being conformed into the likeness of Jesus and are on our way into the full expression of Him. "That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead" (Philippians 3:10-11 NAS). If there is no death to living for self there can be no resurrection either. This is why Paul said, "I die daily" (see 1 Cor. 15:31). If we have died with Christ to self (the example of water baptism), we are now to be looking for and expecting a spiritual resurrection of our bodies into the likeness of His spiritual body when He is revealed in us. "And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you" (Romans 8:11 NIV).
This spiritual resurrection, which comes out of our spirit where Jesus is enthroned, will swallow up our earthly bodies into the likeness of His glorious body, which is a spiritual body, not a physical one (see 1 Cor. 15:44). "For while we are in this tent (body), we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed (without a body) but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life" (2 Corinthians 5:4 NIV). This earthly body must be changed. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God but a spirit body can! In an atomic flash from our spirit man Jesus will be revealed through us with our body changed into the likeness of His glorious body.
"I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory. "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work (ways) of the Lord, because you know that your labor (tribulation and pains) in the Lord is not in vain" (1 Corinthians 15:50-58 NIV).
We know that God has promised us in His word that we will have His likeness and we are not to let anything move us from our beliefs in this great truth, "For we will be changed!" We are now to give ourselves fully to following Jesus and expecting this change daily. Our tribulations and pains are not a waste of our time and life; we will be abundantly rewarded for our tribulations with Christ because they are changing us! Just think… our graduation day could be today!
We must understand that there are different ranks of the saints in heaven as there would be in the military; not everyone has the same glorious body as Jesus does. Those on the throne do because they have come into the full likeness and revelation of Him. The brilliance and stature of each person's spiritual body indicates their rank throughout eternity. If they have little brilliance it is because they have had little of Jesus' likeness and revelation in their earthy lives. "There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body" (1 Corinthians 15:41-42 NAS). Paul says that, even as the stars differ in glory, so do the saints for all eternity. We are likened unto the stars of heaven that are named (see Dan. 12:3). God will give us each a new name and we will reward us with His glory for our sufferings. Our faithfulness through suffering that we have endured for His name sake gives us an eternal weight or payment of glory for eternity. "For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison" (2 Corinthians 4:17 NAS). "Behold, the LORD has proclaimed to the end of the earth, say to the daughter of Zion, "Lo, your (full) salvation comes; behold His reward is with Him, and His recompense before Him" (Isaiah 62:11 NAS). To have His likeness throughout eternity is our great reward!
God promises us a new body that is a spiritual one. This body will never grow weak, sick, or hungry. We are literally going from tent to temple. Paul compared this body to a tent like the Tabernacle in the wilderness that God's presence was abiding in. "For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven; inasmuch as we, having put it on, shall not be found naked. For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed, but to be clothed, in order that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life" (2 Corinthians 5:1-4 NAS). If we die and do not have a new body we will be found naked and unclothed. Those in hell do not have a body of any type; they are just spirit beings in the tormenting flames, desiring a body as demon spirits do. This is their judgment. But we will have been clothed in our eternal bodies of His glory that can go from the spirit world to the natural world in a thought. These bodies will even go through natural walls and never be hurt or suffer harm; for we too will be one in the spirit of God with the great cloud of witnesses.
This earthly body is compared to David's tent that he placed on Mount Zion in Jerusalem with the Ark of the Covenant in it. (The Ark represented the presence of the Lord), David was not satisfied with the Ark being in a tent while he lived in a palace, so he wanted to build a permanent temple of stone to replace the tent. The Lord would not allow David to do this because he was a man of war, but the Lord said his son would build it. The Lord than promised David that when all the warring ceased then God would permit the temple to be built by Solomon. "You know that David my father was unable to build a house for the name of the LORD his God because of the wars which surrounded him, until the LORD put them under the soles of his feet. But now the LORD my God has given me rest on every side; there is neither adversary nor misfortune" (1 Kings 5:3-4 NAS). Solomon's name means "peace." Prophetically this is saying to us, "When our warring’s have ceased in us and we are at peace from all the inner and outer battles we face daily, we will have passed the tests because we have trusted God through all of life's trials." When we are at peace going through all our trials we will be ready for our new "temple," our resurrected body that is the permanent temple of the Lord, His perfection. "And the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet…" (Romans 16:20 NAS). When we are at peace within, the enemy is crushed under our feet. The only person that I know of that has reached this spiritual level of perfect peace and fully trusting God on earth is Jesus. "I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me" (John 14:30 NAS). The devil had no strings of his nature to pull in Jesus to cause any unrest in Him whatsoever. Peace is the very nature and likeness of Jesus because He is the Prince of peace. When we are not at peace, we are not like Him, He said, "Peace be still!" - "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful" (John 14:27 NAS). God wants this peace to be in all His son's. He is training us now through all our experiences to be peaceful!
I do not believe that there is a time element to our being changed into His full likeness in our mind and body, as if God has a certain date to bring this to pass. It has to do with our faithfulness to God and our growth into His likeness that will bring this to pass in our lifetime. "The price of spiritual growth is being obedient to God." Just because Paul never walked in this realm does not mean that we cannot have it. Remember Paul is not our pattern to fullness, Jesus is! He walks today in this realm of the spirit and will lead us victoriously into the fullness of life. "The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly" (John 10:10 NAS). If we can see this with the eyes of our spiritual understanding we can have it! The more clearly we see it, the sooner we can obtain it; if only we will believe that God is able to do this in us we can have it! Paul knew that one day people on the earth would defeat our last enemy, death. Why not us? God has given us a good foundation through the lives of other people that have gone on before us that we might build on what they were seeing in the spirit. God's works are already completed in Jesus and we can obtain them through our seeking! "And in Him you have been made complete" (Colossians 2:10 NAS). Let's walk in that completeness!
"That the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1:7 NAS).
"Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1:13 NAS).
"But to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation" (1 Peter 4:13 NAS).
"To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ's sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed" (1 Peter 5:1 NIV).
We must believe and have faith in God's word and not be as those in Peter's time that said, "Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation" (2 Peter 3:4 NAS). God is faithful and trustworthy to do what He has said He will do for us. He cannot lie! It takes much speed and power for the Space Shuttle to break out of the earth's atmosphere, but once out of gravity's pull; there is nothing to stop it. We too must break out of this earthly realm of unbelief and doubt if we are ever going to go into the fullness that God has prepared for us. We must make ourselves ready like a bride does for her wedding, for us to walk in this realm of the fullness of the Spirit. It is the Father's will! "Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready" (Revelation 19:7 NAS).
Please don't get me wrong. There is indeed coming a day when God says, "Time is up! I am wrapping up this dark realm!" We are going into the Day of the Lord when He will judge all nations; when every eye will see Him and the nations will mourn over Him because they missed His coming. But I truly believe that before this occurs, we as individuals can partake of the full likeness of Jesus now, if we will continue to seek and grow in Him and if we will believe the gospel! "But speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ" (Ephesians 4:15 NAS).
"For He says, "At the acceptable time I listened to you, and on the day of salvation I helped you;" behold, now is "the acceptable time," behold, now is "the day of (full) salvation" (2 Corinthians 6:2 NAS).
Amen, come Lord Jesus!