Having spent the better part of last year going through our series on “Reflecting God’s Image,” the lesson we’ve learned is that as Christians we have been created for God and His pur-poses. And only when we align ourselves with those purposes, will we ever be fulfilled and able to glorify Him.
As believers, God’s basic purpose for our lives is “to be con-formed into His image” (Romans 8:29) so that we might reflect His character, and thus, bear “fruit.” John 15:16 says, “I have chosen you and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain...”
The way we gauge whether or not we have apprehended God’s purpose for our lives (whether or not we are bearing “fruit”), is to ask ourselves the following questions: When peo-ple look at us, do they see the characteristics of Christ? Or, do they see our own self centered ways? Are we sensitive to the Spirit when He prompts us to confess and repent of our sin and self? Or, have we quenched His Spirit in our hearts by making “fleshly” and “emotional” choices? Are we quick to forgive others and respond in love during difficult situations? Or does our bitterness and anger permeate our actions? If we are not showing forth Christ’s character—His image and thus, bearing “fruit”—something is wrong and we have missed the reason God called us.
Romans 8:29 tells us that we have been chosen by God to reflect and mirror His image. “For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son...”
To mirror something means to perfectly reflect a person or a thing; to declare it; to manifest it and to exhibit its behavior or characteristics. It means to express its features or set forth the same image. How often we say, “I see Jesus in you. I see Him in your eyes. I see Him in the kind and thoughtful things you do.” What we really are saying is that by doing Godly actions that person is reflecting Christ’s character. (Isaiah 42:12, Psalm 45:17)
David Wilkerson, in one of his recent newsletters, comments that “God’s glory is a revelation of His nature.”1 By doing Godly actions, a Christian is simply showing forth the Lord’s attributes—His Love, compassion, mercy, etc. Therefore, reflecting Him properly is of the utmost importance to the Lord. A good example of this is Moses in Numbers 20:7-12. He misrepresented the Lord’s character when he struck the rock for water rather than simply speaking to the rock as the Lord had instructed him to do. Moses, by his anger, gave a false impression of God’s character and as a result, God did not allow him to enter the Promised Land. This shows how important “correctly showing forth God’s image” is to the Lord. Three times God mentions this incident in Scripture. Three times He re-proves Moses for not sanctifying Him in the eyes of Israel. (Numbers 20:12: 27:14; Deuteronomy 32:51)
Without question, how we represent the Lord to others is of the utmost importance.
How do you reflect Him with your spouse? With your children? With your friends? Co-workers? Family? Are you the first to get angry and condemn them, like Moses did with the rock? Or, do you show them God’s compassion and gentleness? Remember, the Lord wasn’t a softy; He wasn’t a pushover. When needed, He knew just how to take a strong stand in Love. He knew that perfect balance between long-suffering Love and tough Love, between grace and righteousness and between mercy and judgement. (1 Timothy 1:5)
When we correctly show forth the Lord’s character, He is glorified in us. (John 15:8) We are to be mirrors of His presence. If we do this, Psalm 30:12 tells us that our glory will sing praise to Him. And Christ will be lifted up.
Christ Jesus was a living illustration of the invisible God. By constantly glorifying His Father, He honored Him and gave the world reason to love Him themselves. We are to do the same. We are to embody the actual Life of Jesus in our lives. The Gospel can never be understood by precept alone. It must have a corresponding example! Our lives need to be a living illustration of Him. No other illustration is as effectual as the souls and the spirits of “spiritual” Christians. It is impossible that the gospel should take effect or be understood without an illustration. If our witness as Christians contradicts what the gospel says, our testimony will be destroyed. And, tragically, we have seen this happen over and over again.
The Chief Objective of Man
The Westminster Catechism tells us that the chief and highest end of man is to glorify God. David Wilkerson says, “We are to mirror His Love to the world through our own lives of sacrifice and devotion.”
Paul confirms this, “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of God.” (2 Corin-thians 3:18)
Cleansing, worshiping and abiding are the means by which we are changed more and more into His image, but glorifying Him—reflecting that image to others—is what will bring others to Christ.
Cleansing, worshiping and abiding are things we do on the inside, whereas glorifying God is something that happens on the outside. 1 Corinthians 11:7 validates that man should be “the glory and image of God.” We were created not only for fellowship with Him, but also to be conformed into His image so that we might bring forth “fruit.” (Psalms 29:2; 1 Corinthians 10:31) That’s our destiny and our highest purpose as Christians. We are to be the express image of Christ and His person, just as He was the “express image of His Father.” (He-brews 1:3) “Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy Name give glory...” (Psalm 115:1)
Thus, we must allow Him to remove every hindrance in our lives that prevents His image from shining through us and revealing His full worth. Then He can be seen and acknowledged by all. He is glorified when His holiness, His Love and His righteousness can be seen in us. God’s glory simply means His manifested holiness. (Exodus 15:11; Isaiah 6:3)
Glorifying God is something we do not only in public, but also in private through worship. Cleansing, worshiping, and then abiding are where the transformation occurs, but reflecting His image is the result. In other words, after worship comes glory. (2 Chronicles 5:13)
I See My God in You
Cindy Blackamore wrote a beautiful poem about seeing God’s glory in others:
The God we serve is invisible; we know that this is true
But friend, I tell you of a truth
That I see God in you.
Though God may be invisible unto my naked eye
I see His hand is working
And this fact I can’t deny.
The Love that’s written on your heart, the smile on your face
The little things you do for me
The warmth of your embrace.
The kind words you have spoken, the earnest of your prayer Your willingness to serve me
The evidence you care.
The wisdom you have shown me I know
He’s given you
For when I’ve looked into His Word
I found your words were true.
So yes, our God is invisible, but Him I plainly see
For when I look into your eyes
I see my God in thee!”
To be continued next month: “The Link to Revival.” This article has been excerpted in part from Nan’s book, Reflections of His Image.