Colossians 1:15 “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.”
When you look at yourself in the mirror, what do you see? The ways in which we perceive ourselves is dependent on many things. If you hear people praising you all your life for something your good at, you may learn to identify with that characteristic. If you are continually treated harshly or people say things about your looks, you may start to believe them, whether they were true or not.
We carry with us so many perceptions about ourselves and yet do we ever stop to question them?
If you were a good athlete when you were younger and you identified your value based off of your ability to perform, what happens when your unable to perform to the level you once did?
If you went through a period of rebellion, you may have spent time in jail or some type of juvenile facility, the bad image that was portrayed upon you can be difficult to shake later in life. Old friends may see you like you used to be, not who you are now and the allure of maintaining an acceptable image can be a process that continually undermines who you want to be.
A change of heart can be difficult to see in a short period of time while a change of character is one that is revealed over time.
Colossians 1:21 “And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight—“
The ways in which people see us is worth considering. Not whether they find us attractive or with nice skin, I’m talking about the way in which we present ourselves. Do I come across as abrasive or do I present a caring and loving disposition? Am I a good listener or do I only focus on sharing my own mind when the situation presents itself?
If we have a heart for others and yet present an unapproachable image, we fail ourselves in being honest about who we really are. It doesn’t really matter if my intent is good, if my actions are poor then no measure of good intent is ever received and I’m only lying to myself about who I really am.
If we can’t take honest feedback regarding our behavior, we will never be able to align our lives with God’s Word. The Word of God declares in Romans 3:23 that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. If we say we are sinners and yet act like we are not, we are only fooling ourselves. How do we come to a right understanding of who we are?
Colossians 1:9 “For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;”
Spiritual understanding comes through an active and personal walk with Christ. The Holy Spirit imparts Truth to the one who submits to His authority. Truth is reality according to God. Our reality does not line up with God’s reality when living in sin. When we come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and believe in Him, our ability to see the world and ourselves takes a dramatic turn. A repentant heart recognizes its own depravity and seeks to be filled with the Life that only Jesus can bring. What is Jesus’ reality?
Colossians 1:16-18 “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.”
All things are His
Can you grasp the magnitude of this reality? Everything in Heaven and on Earth, every creature, every spiritual being, all of the constructs of man were created by Jesus! Everything created was made by Him and for Him.
Jesus is Preeminent. He is the Head of all things, all peoples, all powers, all authorities….there is no one greater that Him.
If you were to spend time in the criminal justice system and you disagreed with a verdict, you could appeal that verdict to a higher court. A judge within that higher court may review the case and determine if it is worth hearing and if you didn’t like his verdict you could continue this process all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States. If the Supreme Court heard your case and ruled against you, you simply have no other level of power to appeal to, the verdict is set and you must deal with that verdict.
Jesus is that highest authority.
Why is it important that Jesus has preeminence over all?
He deserves it. Jesus has earned the right to be exalted over all. Not only was creation His idea, when Satan brought sin into the world and mankind fell, it was Jesus who corrected it.
2 Corinthians 3:18 “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into His image with intensifying glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
The New Image
When we are transformed by the power of God we take on the image of the Son. We are no longer seen by God as who we once were, we have been made new in His image. This heart transformation is reflected in not only our countenance but also in our conduct. The Holy Spirit works in us to through His leading in righteousness that we might be conformed to His image…..it’s a process. We have to be patient with the process that God is doing in us. It requires humility and trust to submit to God’s leading. If in our weakness we hold onto our past view of how we perceive ourselves, the world gains the victory. As the world continues to accuse and reminds us of our faults, the enemy keeps us in our former state of mind and renders us powerless.
We must begin to see ourselves how God sees us. This is where wisdom takes its hold in our lives. This is where the transformation begins.
What image do you present today?
A good way to evaluate ourselves is by presenting the request that God reveal His truth to us. If we are truly willing to accept God’s perspective, we can ask Him to show us and He often does. The reality can be harsh. It’s not easy thinking highly of ourselves only to hear otherwise. Make a statement such as “I’m the most patient man I know”, and then watch how God places you in positions to test that theory. I can tell you from experience it’s not pleasant. Now, I’ve never made that kind of claim but I have certainly acted like I had it all together on multiple levels, only to be reminded through a very simply test that I have a long way to go.
Just because we fail a test doesn’t diminish our value in God’s eyes…it simply reminds us we need Him. When I realize my image is what He makes in me, I can trust the process will be good. Knowing that I live under Jesus’ authority gives me peace in knowing that I can appeal to Him when others bring accusation.
If He gives me a good report, that is all I need. I know I’m not perfect but I know God is making me more like His perfection every day. It’s not easy but it’s worth the journey.