Our family has a dear friend; her name is Doris. Our family loves her and she loves our family; she is very fond of my father who went to be with the Lord many years ago. Every time I meet her, she shows her love for me and my family, but, without exception, after a couple of minutes in her presence, I will notice her staring at me and I know what she is going to say next. She puts her hand to her mouth and says, “Your the spitting image of your father (she uses the Spanish version of this phrase).”
Just out of curiosity, I researched the origin of the phrase “spitting image.” I found out that it was used to refer to someone who is so similar to another, as to appear to have been spat out of his mouth. We find the first known use of ‘spitting image’ – in A. H. Rice’s Mrs. Wiggs, 1901: “He’s jes’ like his pa – the very spittin’ image of him!”
Doris marvels every time we meet on how much I look like my father. She always follows up by saying, ” Every day, you look more and more like your dad!”
I was thinking of Doris the other day and started to wonder if that is what God our Father would want the world to say about Him when they look at us…if that is what he intended for us to reflect when He purposely wrote in Genesis 1:27, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”
When Doris looks at me, she sees the image of my father, but not only the physical likeness. She says that I smile like him, I says words like him and I even act like him in certain circumstances. Oh, what I would give for people to look at me and see my Father in Heaven.
The explanation of the Gen. 1:27 has filled hundreds of commentary volumes, I believe this is due to a great desire of Christians, to learn how to live a life that is an acceptable representation of the image of God. But what does that mean? What does that look like?
1 Cor. 15:49, “Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.”
Here are two characteristics that we must display to be an acceptable representation of His Image. I believe we should be “walking mirrors” of God. When the world looks at us they must see God. I am not referring to a miracle-working individual, but an individual from which the love of God pours unto the lives of people. An individual that puts mercy before guilt, grace before punishment, and love before hate.
I also believe we must be “bold representatives” of God. We should be known for someone who represent God on earth. We must like what He likes, we must do what He likes us to do; we must proclaim with boldness His Word, and defend the truth He has entrusted to us.
The question is “How do we make this happen?” The answer is Jesus. It is known that we become what we behold. Children become like their parents and leaders become like their role models. So, we must start by “beholding” Him. Learn who Jesus is, study what Jesus did, meditate on what Jesus said and you will become like Jesus. Start by looking at Jesus.
Hebrews 11:1-2, 1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
How do we know that we will become more like Him? We have His guarantee. 2 Corinthian 3:18, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”
As much as I am honored that Doris sees my earthly father in me, I wonder if she sees my Heavenly Father in me?
John Donne, the 17th century English poet, summarized it well, “To have no other parent but God, no other element but the breath of God, no other instrument but the purpose of God, this is to be the image of God.”
P.S. Visit our mission trip calendar and find a place in the world, where you can reflect the “Image Of God”.
1 John 5:21, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.”
During a recent lunch with a good friend, I noticed that he was dressed more casual than usual. Normally, he wears a white, long-sleeve shirt and tie to lunch, but today he had an untucked shirt and blue jeans. After noticing this, I asked him, “Are you off today?” “No,” he replied, when I pointed to the jeans and I asked the question. “The office has been under a lot of stress these last couple of weeks; lots of people have been working long hours and the supervisors thought it would be good to allow them to wear “blue jeans.”
I find it amazing how a piece of denim can give us joy, change our attitude and our emotions. I know I am guilty of this. If I could wear jeans and a T-shirt every day, I would be in heaven (metaphorically speaking).
In the same conversation mentioned above, I said to my friend, “I wonder if we have made jeans into an idol?”
In order to answer this question, we need to know what an “idol” is, without confusing it with American Idol, although this, too can be an idol. The Bible tells us what an idol is Colossians 3:5, “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.”
I understand this verse. The idols mentioned here are black & white to me; they are clearly wrong. Sexual immorality, desiring evil on someone, desiring something that does not belong to me…I get it, these things are bad. But, is there more to what an idol is?
Ed Stetzser said, “Anything from my past or present that shapes my identity or fills my thoughts with something other than God, especially on a regular, ongoing, irresistible basis, is an idol.”
Our body may be idol, if I am more concerned about my physical appearance and my health than about my spiritual growth. Money and the desire to be wealthy can be an idol. Another person may be my idol; if I admire that person so much, I try to be like them instead of trying to be more like Him.
OK, lets get back to the jeans as idols question. Let me ask you. Do you wear jeans to be popular, are you more interested in being accepted by other people than being accepted God? Are you more concerned about fitting in your jeans than you are about fitting your life into God’s eternal principles of righteousness?
Here is why I like to wear jeans. They go with just about anything, eliminating the need to spend time matching my clothes. It lowers my laundry bill and they last forever.
Bottom line, “Are jeans an idol?” The answer is “depends.” Here are two good questions to ask, that will help you determine if something is an idol:
1) Do I have to have this?
2) Do I have to have this to be somebody or feel
significant or secure?
When in doubt about something being an idol run it through the filter of this verse:
Mark 4:19, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.
“Many are willing to wear their cross, few are willing to carry their cross” (Ray Sanabria)
Nowadays the cross is a popular clothing accessory that many high profile individuals are wearing around their necks. One of the most famous ones is Madonna. Lindsay Lohan, Hillary Clinton, Faith Hill and James Stewart are some other celebrities that we also see wearing crosses.
Something that has become even more popular than wearing a cross on a gold chain is wearing the cross on your skin. Rank My Tatoos magazine says that of the top 50 tatoo designs in the world, the cross ranks third.
When I see a cross around someones neck many times I ask myself, “Do they know what it means”? I truly believe that many wear crosses without understanding the significance of the symbol. And I wonder if they know the verse where Jesus says, ” And anyone who does not carry his own cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:27 (NIV)
The words “carry his cross” refers to a willingness to bear the pain of persecution that comes from following Jesus. Following Jesus has blessings and it has consequences. Following him will isolate and separate you from those closest to you. Those who do not follow Jesus will reject you.
Notice here the verse is not referring to us carrying Jesus’s cross, like Simon of Cyrene did for Jesus on His way to Calvary, but it’s about carrying our own cross. What does this mean?
In the times of Jesus, a condemned criminal would “carry the cross” (i.e., the horizontal beam of the cross) out to the site of the upright stake where he would be crucified. No one in their right mind would choose this, but Jesus calls true disciples to be willing to choose this path for His namesake.
Jesus taught that the demands of the Kingdom must come first. We must be willing to deny claims of family, culture, job, and anything else, if they interfere with our loyalty to God.
When Simon of Cyrene carried Jesus’ cross on the way to Golgotha, he was forced to carry the cross, they had to seize him and compel him to carry the cross. Jesus does not force us to carry our cross, he simply tells us, “You want to be my disciple, give it up.” Give what up? Everything that gets in the way of you being fully devoted to Him.
I think carrying one’s cross is more like keeping your hands available and ready to carry the cross when called upon for His namesake. Being ready to walk down the road to Golgotha when God calls you. Not having to be forced or compelled to do it, but desiring to carry the cross.
What is keeping you from being able to carry your cross for Jesus? What is taking up the space in your hands that leaves little or no space for Jesus. What things are you carrying right now that keep you from living a life fully committed to Christ? Give it up!
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Gal. 2:20