Since my new book Reflections of His Image: God’s Purpose for Your Life is due out this month, I thought I would take this opportunity to tell you a little about it.
Most of you who are reading this article, I am assuming, are Christians. If you are, then ask yourself this question. (Try to be honest with yourself!) When people look at you, do they see the characteristics of Christ?
The Bible tells us that our purpose, as believers in Christ, is to be conformed into His image so that we can reflect His characteristics in all we do. “For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son.” (Romans 8:29)
Being conformed into Christ’s image really is the goal of the Christian life. In other words, simply being born in the spirit at our new birth is not enough. We need to learn how to walk in the Spirit, how to show forth His Love and how to live His Life. We need to put in our actions what we already possess in our heart. Scripture emphasizes that this is the purpose of our existence as Christians. We are to love with Christ’s Love; share from His wisdom; walk in His power; extend His peace, patience and joy; and be His arms and legs to one another.
In one of David Wilkerson’s recent Times Square Pulpit Series articles,1 he states: “If I am not Christ-like at heart—if I’m not becoming noticeably more like Him—then I have totally missed God’s purpose for my life. It doesn’t matter what I accomplish for His kingdom. If I miss this one purpose, I have lived, preached and yes, striven in vain.”
And he continues, “Now, I help pastor what would be called a mega-church. I conduct minister’s conferences around the world, preaching to thousands at a time. I founded Teen Challenge, a Christian rehabilitation ministry for alcoholics and drug addicts, which now has 500 centers worldwide. I’ve written some twenty books, helped establish a Bible school, set up a home for abandoned mothers and their children. I’ve had honors heaped on me. But if this isn’t my wife’s testimony—if she has a secret pain in her heart, thinking, ‘My husband isn’t the man of God he pre-tends to be’—then everything in my life is vain. All my works—the preaching, the accomplishments, the charitable giving, the many travels—amount to nothing. I am a wither-ing, useless branch that doesn’t bear the ‘fruit of Christ-likeness.’ Jesus will cause others to see the death in me, and I’ll be worth little to His kingdom.”
He finishes by saying: “God’s purpose is fulfilled in me only by what I am becoming in Him. Christ-likeness isn’t about what I do for the Lord, but about how I’m being transformed into His likeness.”
2 Corinthians 3:18 is a Scripture that perfectly describes God’s purpose for us as Christians: “We all... are [being] changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
“You Look Just Alike”
Let me tell you one of my favorite stories and see if it doesn’t bring this Scripture to life. This is a true incident that happened years ago between a dear Christian friend of mine named Melody and her mom, Florence (who was not a believer).
Florence had gone to the same hairdresser for years. Every time she came back from her appointment, she would tell her daughter, “Honey, you have to meet Susie my hairdresser. You both look exactly alike.” Finally, Melody was home for a long enough visit that she consented to making an appointment with Susie. Needless to say, she was very anxious to meet this woman who supposedly “looked exactly like her.”
When Melody walked into the hair salon and was introduced to Susie, she was startled to see no physical resemblance between them at all. Melody was very short, with a dark complexion and dark hair. She was very pretty with rounded features. Susie, on the other hand, was very tall, blonde, skinny and had angular features. There were absolutely no physical similarities between them.
Of course, the mom was very excited to introduce them to each other. All three talked for a few minutes and then the mom made her apologies and left. Melody stood there awkwardly for a moment, and then hesitatingly asked Susie if her mom had also told her that they looked alike. “Of course,” Susie said, “for years she has told me that I look ex-actly like you. I am shocked and surprised to meet you.” “Me too,” said Melody.
While Melody was getting her hair cut, shampooed and set, she and Susie had a chance to share some details about their lives. It turned out they were both Christians and both were truly committed to living for the Lord. Melody’s mom, however, was not a believer. After thinking about it for awhile, it dawned on them that the reason Melody’s unsaved mom thought they looked alike was probably because she saw Jesus’ image in both of them. It was His character, His Life and His Image that the mom evidently saw. Physically, Melody and Susie didn’t resemble each other in the least, but spiritually, they had the very same image.
I love this story because it shows the power we carry around with us when we allow Christ to live His Life out through us. Scripture tells us Christ is to be magnified (reflected, glorified and shine forth) in our bodies and that whatever we do, we are to do for His glory. (1 Corinthians 10:31) 1 Peter 4:11 summarizes this by saying, “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if anyone minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth.” Why? So “that God in all things may be glorified.”
“Glorifying God” simply means reflecting His likeness in all we do. It means unlearning all our old ways of thinking and doing, and allowing Him to show forth, manifest and express His characteristics through us. It means removing every hindrance, every obstacle and every blockage in our life that quenches His Spirit, so that He may be clearly seen through us, just as the Father was perfectly seen through Jesus. As Hebrews 1:3 says, “Jesus, who was “the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person.”
Jesus even goes further and says in John 5:31, “If I bear witness of Myself, my witness is not true.” Wow! If Jesus says this of Himself, oh my goodness, how much more it must be true for us! We are to bear witness of God’s image, not our own.
The Key to Revival
I am totally convinced that genuinely reflecting the Lord in all that we think, say and do is the key to revival. Seeing living examples of Christ is what will bring our sons and daughters, our friends and acquaintances to the Lord. When they see Christ’s real Love, hear His supernatural wisdom and experience His power through us, they’ll know that yes, Jesus is real. He is alive. And He cares! Nothing will bring others to saving knowledge of Christ faster than seeing genuine living examples. And nothing will turn them away quicker than phoniness and hypocrisy. Therefore, glorifying, manifesting and reflecting Christ in everything is our highest attainment in this life. It’s the reason we were called, the purpose of our lives and what will bring others to Christ.
God doesn’t just want us to have a revelation of Christ, He wants us to be a reflection of Him. The question is: How do we become a reflection of Christ? How are we conformed into His image? What must we do? What are the steps?
Some of the chapter titles in the book are: How to Follow the Spirit; How to be cleansed by the Spirit; How to worship in the Spirit; How to abide in the Spirit; and, How to walk in the Spirit. My heart’s passion is to bring all these Godly principles into practical application. How do we get them from our heads down into our walk?
That’s what this new little book is all about. (As you can see by the cover, it’s also the companion book to Private Worship: The Key to Joy.) It will be available October 16, 2006.