Only human beings are made in God’s image. We are special and selected for a purpose. He uses us and created us for His pleasure. We carry His attributes.
spiritual beings – (immortal)
intellectual beings – (think, reason, solve problems)
relational beings – (give and receive real love)
morally conscious – (we can discern right from wrong, which makes us accountable to God)
What does the full image and likeness of God look like to me? JESUS CHRIST
“Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.” ~ 2 Corinthians 4:4
“Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation ” ~Colossians 1:15
“The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God…”~ Hebrews 1:3
God wants US to bear His image and likeness, too! Christlikeness is all about being TRANSFORMED. It’s not about changing your personality, but changing your CHARACTER.
Dr. Edwin Louis Cole stated, “You can pitch personality, but you must build character.”
God wants us to develop character like this:
“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him,
for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. God blesses those who mourn,
for they will be comforted. God blesses those who are humble,
for they will inherit the whole earth. God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice,
for they will be satisfied. God blesses those who are merciful,
for they will be shown mercy. God blesses those whose hearts are pure,
for they will see God. God blesses those who work for peace,
for they will be called the children of God. God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way. ” ~Matthew 5:3-12
(The Beatitudes of Jesus)
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! ~Galatians 5:22-23 (The fruit of the Spirit)
1 Corinthians 13 (Paul’s Chapter on Love)
In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. ~1 Peter 1:5-8
(Peter’s list of characteristics for an effective and productive life)
Earth is not heaven and life is HARD. If it was easy, we would not rely on God’s strong hand and His glory would not be multiplied, for we would be glorifying ourselves in our prosperity. We must cooperate with the Holy Spirit’s work in our life. The moment we take a step forward in faith, the Holy Spirit releases power. Obedience unlocks the power of God. As we move ahead in our weakness and do what is right, God moves in His strengths and opens doors for us to walk through.
Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. ~2 Corinthians 12:9
There are 3 responsibilities that we have to becoming Christlike:
1. Let go of old ways. “throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception.” ~Ephesians 4:22
2. Change the way we think. ” Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.” ~Ephesians 4:23
3. Develop new, godly habits. “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” ~Romans 12:2
Just as in the metamorphosis of a butterfly, we are changed from the INSIDE out, becoming more beautiful.
How does God mold us to be who He wants us to be?
- His Word ~ the Truth we need to grow. STUDY it and APPLY it.
- People ~ Provide support we need to grow; connect regularly with other believers. God uses people. He wants us to grow together.
- Circumstances ~ Provide the environment we need to PRACTICE Christlikeness. We learn to trust God most in difficult circumstances.
Jesus did not die a tortured death on the Cross for me to “live comfortably, well adjusted to the world”. He died that I may be RESTORED to the image of God for the purpose of magnifying His Glory to the ends of the earth.
Restoration requires some demolition, brokenness…PAIN. There is tearing down walls, laying new foundation, peeling away “old paint”, some sanding – sounds painful when related to our everlasting soul. We are all in a process of metamorphosis…conformity and transformation. The question remains: who or what is transforming us: Jesus or the world? There’s only one way to heaven…