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 way in which you perceive yourself is often 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 treated harshly or people say things about your looks, you may start to believe them, whether they are true or not.
People often carry with them so many perceptions about themselves and if the need is for acceptance, the perception of who they are begins to define them.
You may have been a good athlete when you were younger and so you identified your value based off of your ability to perform, what happened when you were unable to perform at the level you once did?
Many over exuberant parents place these types of expectations upon their kids.
If you went through a period of rebellion, you might have spent time in jail or some type of juvenile facility, the bad image that was portrayed can be difficult to shake later in life. Old friends may think your like who you used to be, not who you are now and the allure of maintaining an acceptable image can be a temptation that undermines who God has called you to be.
No matter how much the heart may have changed, people will often believe what they want to believe. If our main concern is whether the outward appearance is acceptable, the temptation to compromise our faith becomes very difficult.
Hearts can change quickly but a change of character is one that is proven 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—“
In my exuberance to please God, I might come across as abrasive or present an attitude of self-righteousness. Do I make an honest effort to be a good listener or do I focus only on sharing my own mind?
If we have a desire to bless others and yet present an unapproachable image, we lose the opportunity to be a light to them. If my intentions are good but my delivery is poor then no measure of good intentions can be received.
If we can’t take honest feedback regarding our personhood, we will struggle to grow mature in Christ. Paul reminded us 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?
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
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 God’s reality.
If our reality does not line up with God’s reality then we are living in sin. When we come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, 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
It can be difficult to grasp the magnitude of God’s 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 the embodiment of God’s law and He is the fulfillment of God’s grace.
Jesus is Preeminent. He is the Head of all things, all peoples, all powers, all authorities….there is no one greater than Him and He will be glorified by His people forever.
If you were to spend time in the criminal justice system and you disagree with a verdict, you could appeal that verdict to a higher court. A judge within that 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’ authority is even greater.
Why is it important that Jesus has preeminence over all?
He deserves it.
Jesus has earned the right to be exalted. 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.”
A New Image
When God’s people are transformed by the power of God they begin to take on the image of the Son. They are no longer seen by God as who they once were, but have been made new in His image. A heart transformation is reflected in not only their countenance but also in their conduct. The Holy Spirit works in His people through His leading in righteousness that they might be conformed into the image of Jesus…..it is the process of sanctification. It is important to be patient with the process that God is doing which is why the church is so important, encouraging and strengthening each other is paramount in a believers life. It requires humility and trust to submit to God’s leading. The flesh is weak and so if a person holds onto their past they might view themselves in how they used to be and the enemy gains a victory. As the world continues to accuse and remind people of their faults, the enemy tries to keep them in their former state of mind in an attempt to render God’s people powerless.
God’s people must begin to see themselves how God sees them. Once the Spirit of God inhabits God’s people they are never the same again; knowing this and living by the Spirit is where wisdom takes hold and the transformation begins.
How do you see yourself today?
When evaluating yourself, do you ask God to reveal to you how He sees you?
Psalm 139:23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.
If we are truly willing to accept God’s perspective, we can humbly ask God to show us; the reality of what we find can be harsh. It’s not easy thinking highly of ourselves only to hear otherwise. If we believe we are more than we are, we might find God placing us in positions to test our belief. I can tell you from experience it’s not pleasant. The Lord wants us to trust Him and live by His strength and provision. If we are reliant upon ourselves, we might discover just how weak we were all along.
Just because we fail a test doesn’t diminish our value in God’s eyes…it simply reminds us that we need Him. When I’ve realized that my image is what Christ makes in me, I can trust the process God is doing and it 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.
For some people, the shame of their past bears a heavy burden; When you search His understanding, God will reveal how special you are to Him, the measure of His love is unfathomable and His mercies are new every morning.
When Jesus gives a good report, that is all anyone will ever need. I know I’m not perfect but I know God is making me more like Him every day. It’s not easy but it’s worth the journey.
Until the end of this journey…God’s people live by grace.