David Wilkerson once said: “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.”1
Most of you reading this article, I assume, are Christians. If you are (if you have the Spirit of God in your heart), ask your-self these questions. When people look at you, do they really see the characteristics of Christ? Do they hear His wisdom in what you share? Can they see His Love in your actions? And, is His power visible in your life-actions?
God doesn’t want us to just have a revelation of Christ, He wants us to be a reproduction of Christ. Romans 8:29 validates this: “For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son.”
In order to make Christ-likeness a reality in our lives, however, we need the power of His resurrection. Christ, who is our example, humbled Himself (i.e., chose to set Himself aside) and was able to do God’s will because He depended upon God’s Spirit to do the work through Him. As a result of this, God always got the glory. We must do the same! As we set our-selves aside and depend upon the Spirit of God to perform the work—the “fruit” through us—God will get the glory.
Jesus was in the world and yet, the Word tells us, He was not of it. We must do the same. We are to live in the world and yet show by our godly lives that we are not of it. This is our mission and our goal—to make Jesus Christ known to the world by showing forth His Love, His ways and His power. We do this not just by our words, but by our entire person—through our actions, our character and our conduct. We must so represent the Lord that others, just by seeing us, will know what He is like.
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Mat-thew 5:16)
Here’s an interesting analogy: Compare the sun illuminating the heavens and earth to a lamp lighting the inside of your home. The lamp lighting your home does in its own little way what the sun accomplishes for the whole earth. In like manner, each of us in our own small sphere can do what God in Christ did for the entire world.
Read Luke 11:33-35 in this context: “No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light. The light of the body is the eye [the mind]: therefore, when thine eye is single [minded], thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil [corrupted], thy body also is full of darkness. Take heed, therefore, that the light which is in thee be not darkness [quenched]. If thy whole body, there-fore, be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light.”
Unfortunately, much of the Christian Body these days are like lights that are “hidden under a bushel.” These are “car-nal Christians” who have Christ’s Life hidden behind their own. Their lives reflect something completely different than what the Scriptures teach us about Christ and a relationship with Him. This is why so many non-believers see us as hypocrites. It’s imperative for us to recognize our own need for cleansing, worshiping and abiding and the urgency to become a fountain of His genuine Love and Life, not seeking blessings for ourselves, but only for the glory of God. Our future and the future of our children depend upon it.
Blessings that Result From Glorifying Him
In Solomon’s Temple, after the priests worshiped the Lord in the sanctuary, they came out, stood on the steps and began to bless the people. Giving a blessing meant praying for God’s bestowal of good, favor and benefit. (Genesis 12:2; Isaiah 19:24; Zechariah 8:13; Proverbs 10:22) Blessings can come in a variety of ways. But there are two specific ways of blessing that the Bible speaks of:
1) In the Old Testament, sons would seek a blessing from their fathers as an official last will and testament. (Genesis 48:15-22) This is the type of blessing or benediction that was given to the people in the temple court after the worship service.
2) There is another kind of blessing, however, called an “evaluative blessing” which means that those who live according to God’s instructions will experience fulfilment and well-being. Scripture tells us that people who endure trials, and yet still choose to live according to God’s Word, will be blessed. (James 1:12; 5:11; 1 Peter 3:14; 4:14) Clearly, blessings come not only from hearing God’s Word, but also from doing what His Word says. (Revelation 1:3; 14:13)
The Name of the Lord
Numbers 6:23-27 is a very interesting passage in connection with receiving this last type of blessing. These Scriptures tell us that the Name of Christ must always precede the blessing. Listen: “They shall put My Name upon the children of Israel and [then] I will bless them.” This means that those who reveal Christ’s Name by their life-actions are assured of fulfillment, meaning and purpose in their lives.
Now, name in the broad sense means authority, character, title, dignity, rank, majesty, power, excellence. Our name is who we are and who we are identified with. A name is con-nected with sight and perception. Remember Solomon’s Temple was seen as a place where God’s Name resided. 1 Kings 9:3 confirms this: “I will put My Name there forever.”
Our “name” is what distinguishes us from others. New names were bestowed upon men in the Bible to show that something new had entered their life. Abram’s name was changed to Abraham, signifying the beginning of a new man. Sarai was changed to Sara because she was endowed with new powers. And, Saul became Paul. (Acts 13:9) A new name meant a new chapter was happening.
Therefore, when Scripture speaks of being “in His Name,” it means being in His likeness, in His Person and in His character. It’s a way of stating that God dwells here. It’s a demonstration of His presence, in which we manifest His divine Name, His character, His likeness and image. 2 Thessalonians 1:12 tells us that “the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in [us], and [we] in Him.”
Ask in My Name
Consequently, manifesting Christ’s Name must be evident in our lives before a blessing can be received. Here’s the point: Throughout the Gospel of John, He tells us to “ask in My Name.” All of us have read this a hundred times. Thus, in obedience, we simply attach “in His Name” to all our prayers. I believe, however, there’s a much deeper meaning here than just “asking in His Name.” We must literally “be” in His Name. Not just born anew by His Spirit, but actually walking by His Spirit, reflecting His image, His character and His Name. In other words, we are to pray our prayers and our petitions when we are truly glorifying (reflecting) Him. And if we do so, then we will receive His blessings and our prayers will be heard. Therefore, one of the reasons our prayers are often unanswered is because we are not genuinely in His Name (in His likeness) nor in His character when we ask.
The bottom line is that just because we “possess” His Name does not mean we are “in” His Name. These two concepts have totally different meanings.
The Lord wants His Name to be exalted not just with our words, but also with our lives. (Isaiah 12:4; Psalm 91) His Name is of the utmost importance to Him. Thus, we must strive to make it be remembered in all generations. (Psalm 45:17) We do this simply by glorifying Him in all we think, say and do. Salvation, then, is then summed up in Jesus’ Name. (Acts 8:12) We are simply to reveal the essence of His person. Psalm 96:2-3 and verse 8 explain it well: “Sing unto the Lord, bless His Name; shew forth His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the heathen, His wonders among all people...Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His Name.” (1 John 3:23; Deuteronomy 12:5,11,21; 14:23; 16:2,6; 2 Samuel 7:13)
Do you personally give glory to His Name?
“I will praise Thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify Thy Name for evermore. (Psalm 86:12)
Only as we choose to be cleansed by the Spirit, follow the leading of the Spirit, worship in the Spirit, abide in the Spirit and, then, walk by the Spirit, will we ever be able to glorify and reveal His Name in all that we do. (Verses 12-18)
Being reflections of His image, therefore, is the purpose of our lives!
This is the last article in our series Reflections of His Image; The Purpose of our Lives. It has been excerpted in part from our book Reflections of His Image: God’s Purpose for Your Life.
Next month we will begin a new series entitled, The Kingdom, Power and Glory. We have received so many exciting comments about the first edition of Kingdom, Power and Glory that Chuck and I have co-authored a revised and expanded version. It really is a totally new book. We are so excited to see what the Lord is going to do because we both feel it is the most important book we have ever written. It will be available by the end of April.