Colossians 1:27 “To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
I met a guy the other day and was struck by the manner in which he introduced himself. It turns out this man is new to the neighborhood and he was wondering where I lived so I pointed in the general direction of my house and then told him my name. It turns out he shares the same first name as I do except as he introduced himself he told me he is the owner of a local restaurant, in a matter of fact kind of way. It was getting late so we parted ways but I was thinking about that introduction and the ways we present ourselves.
My new neighbor wouldn’t have introduced himself by name and career unless he was proud of what that career entailed. It turns out I have eaten at his restaurant and it has exceptional food, a bit pricey but very good so I understand the element of pride that he holds.
I thought about my introduction and what I would say if I presented myself in like manner.
“Hi, I’m Rick, nice to meet you, I shave groins for a living”. Now, for you who don’t know what I do, I work in a Cardiac Cath lab, it’s a place where people come to have heart attacks. I’m not a doctor, just a grunt worker who preps the patient, runs equipment, and helps the physician treat the patient. Part of the procedure is the preparation of the site we use for access to get to the heart. We either go through the radial artery or femoral artery, we usually prepare both sites just as a back-up plan, so in preparation for the procedure we have to shave off all excess hair that might interfere with the sterile equipment we use. Hence, I’m a professional groin shaver, sounds exotic, doesn’t it!….it isn’t exotic, I enjoy the work(not the groin shaving part), I’ve been doing it for 25 years and so I look for ways to keep it interesting throughout the day.
Colossians 3:23 “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,”
For my neighbor, his identity is with his restaurant, I wonder how others see what I identify with?
The ways we present ourselves speaks of what is important to us, if it’s a career, your physique, or any else you might be proud of, the image we present can determine the impact we have on others. You may ask yourself, why do I care what impact I have on others? Well, for the world this may not be a priority, but for those who associate with Christ, it is everything.
Jeremiah 9:23-24 “Thus says the Lord:
“Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,
Let not the mighty man glory in his might,
Nor let the rich man glory in his riches;
But let him who glories glory in this,
That he understands and knows Me,
That I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth.
For in these I delight,” says the Lord.”
The image we present should be purposeful. If we don’t take into consideration how others perceive us, then we miss the opportunity to impact others for Christ. If my focus is on my accomplishments, then I am the one being glorified. If I exalt Jesus in me, then it is His goodness in me that allows me impact others for Him.
The ways we represent Christ is also significant. If we present a false image of God, then their image of God will determine how they approach Him. I’ve known many that love to portray God as a benevolent Father, full of lovingkindness and grace and that may be true…but….there is a specific way that God manifests that love and grace.
Hebrews 1:1-4 “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.”
The Son of God, Jesus, is the image of the Father. He is not an angel, He is not a child born of God, He is God whom we can see. As the Son of God, He came forth from the Father as equal, just as the Holy Spirit came forth as equal. The image of God is not One that can or should be stepped over. If we present Christ how He has shown Himself to be, the world has to make a decision as to their position before Him. Our responsibility is to reveal Christ as He is, not as the world wants Him to be. The love of God was and is expressed through the Son, without Jesus, the world remains under judgement. The world can declare they believe Jesus exists but that means nothing if their belief doesn’t become their life. Sin is a personal offense against God, it requires a death sentence, fortunately for us, Jesus paid that fine. We who are His have accepted His redemption price and have been released from the bondage of sin and death, we must now proclaim this to the world.
Colossians 1:27 “For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.”
Contrary to popular opinion, God has not thrown some proverbial blanket of grace out over the world, His grace is specific to His Son, who gave His life that we might live. We are now called to take on His image and carry it forth into the darkness.
Conformed and Transformed
Romans 8:29 “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
We are called to His purposes, not our own. We likewise are meant to represent His purposes to the world.
Why do you suppose that God has left us here on this planet after saving us by His grace? Why would He leave us to battle not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities and powers of this present darkness? Why not receive us into His presence the moment we are redeemed so we can’t stumble and fall, or make mistakes, or wrestle anymore with this flesh?
He has left us here for a time for a specific purpose.
Colossians 1:27-29 “To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.“
To the world, God is a mystery. The world may have formed an image of God in their minds that suits their needs, but when they eventually have to stand before Him in judgement, He will be revealed in the fullness of His majesty and holiness. Then, it will be too late for those who have rejected the Son, the opportunity to follow is now.
We have been called to represent Christ to this generation of souls. If you profess the name of Christ, then His Spirit is at work in you, sanctifying your life to make you look for like Jesus. He doesn’t expect you to become like Christ on your own, that would be virtually impossible for you to do. It is His Spirit, working in and through you that transforms you from the image of this world, into the image of the Son of God.
Stop resisting the work of the Spirit.
The process of being transformed into the image of the Son isn’t always pleasant, it is difficult being molded from the mess we present to Him, into the image He is forming in us now. I have never met a man or woman of God that hasn’t experienced the kiln of God’s holy fire and said it was easy, but what comes out of that kiln is glorious.
The hand of God made manifest in the life of a believer who has been transformed by His power is a sight to behold….it is simply miraculous. When others see His handiwork in you, it brings glory to Him.
One day we will see the product of His transformation in us, and enjoy the reward of humbly submitting to His hand working in us.
Trust Him for the process. Let His image be manifest in you. Then enjoy the fruit of His labor. His work is always good.