In the beginning, God who became the Father said to God who became Jesus Christ, “Let us make man in our image” (Gen. 1:26). And it was so, that man was put in the process of becoming like God. And God intends that we become like Him “Spiritually,” in “Character” so we may be born into His own eternal Family, His Kingdom. God plans for us to become like Him totally.
Now we have to accept that while we look like God in our physical
image, our physical entity, we are not spiritually like God. We are
not eternal, and our thoughts and our ways are not naturally
God’s thoughts and ways. They have to become like that.
“Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his
thoughts: and let him return unto the Eternal and he will have
mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my
ways, saith the Eternal. For as the heavens are higher than the
earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than
your thoughts” (Isa. 55:7-9).
If we are going to become like God, we have to forsake the way that
is human, and the way of Satan, implemented through human nature,
that is selfish, lustful and greedy.
Ephesians 4:15 tells us we are to become like Christ, because He is
like God the Father. We are to become perfect as He is. But we
first have to know what and who God is. We have to have that right
fixed image in our minds or it can’t help us. But man’s
image of God is very imperfect. Pagans pictured God via their dead
idols as a bird, or fish, or snake, or ox, etc. And professing
Christians have been given a mental image of a weak-appearing
“Christ.” Satan has created false images in all of our
minds in the past.
Let’s say that you have a “blue Monday,” a bad
day, and things aren’t going well. Do we think that “
God is out to get me”? If so, your image of God is altered
daily by the circumstances in your life and that is not the right
image of God. If we are ever going to mature spiritually, our image
of God has to be growing and developing and maturing. We just
can’t, with the circumstances in our lives, capriciously
alter our image of what God is or is not. That’s not the
fixed image of God.
God is the most stable fixed quantity in the whole of the
universe. That’s something that we have to know. God just is.
He says, “I change not” (Mal. 3:6). We don’t
’ change God by what we think God is. We change our minds,
but that doesn’t alter God.
Once a lay member of another church wanted to know why I keep
Saturday instead of Sunday. And I told him: It’s the day God
created in the beginning to be kept. It’s also the day that
Christ kept, and I don’t feel I have the right to change
that. And this person said, “Yeah, but what’s wrong
with Sunday?” And I said, “ Nothing’s wrong with
Sunday,except it’s not the Sabbath, that’s all.”
His image of God was totally different. To him it didn’t and
couldn’t make any difference which day one should keep. But
it makes a difference to God. He commanded obedience to His
instructions and has not changed!
We humans continually try to alter the true image of God to
conform to our justification, our self, our own desires, what we
think are our needs. It’s what we want to believe is God,
but it’s not God. And because we have not seen the right
image of God, we don’t know and have faith we can rely upon
Him and what He will do for us. We cannot call upon a God whom we
do not really know, whose true image is not solidly fixed in our
minds, and then have the assurance about His response.
Ancient Israel, coming out of Egypt, had a tremendous elation,
excitement and encouragement. For the first time, as far as that
generation was concerned, there was freedom. But they came
upon severe problems. Because their image of God was little more
than their image of a man, Moses, they complained about the bitter
water at Marah, and about not having flesh to eat with their
manna. When they went to spy out the land, they didn’t see
that God would give them victory over the giants. Their image of
God was very poor. They had not grown to know God. This should tell
us something about ourselves, or at least it should.
Even after they crossed the Jordan River with Joshua into the
Promised Land, and after God gave them Jericho, their success
didn’t last very long. Too often our right images of God
never reach very far, only until the next problem. Then we draw a
wrong conclusion, or we doubt again, or we wonder.
We know that Christians are to become like Christ. But do we know
what Christ is really like? Do we have a true image
“fixed” in our minds? We know Christ had the right
image of His Father because He knew what His Father expected. He
knew why He was here upon this earth and He pursued that diligently
to the depths of His being, and to the end of His life.
Paul expressed his great wish, “That ye might walk worth
of the Lord (Eternal) unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every
good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (That
is, into the overall image and perspective of God) (Col. 1:10-17).
This gives us quite an image of Christ, of what He was and what
He is now, right there at the right hand of His Father, the One
whom we too are to become like. “And he is the head of the
body, the church (is that our image of Christ?): who is the
beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he
might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father, that in him
should all fullness dwell. (Just like the Father)”
Unfortunately it’s a very human tendency, whether knowingly
or unknowingly, to create God in our image than to become even
more like His image. That’s not what God wants. Remember it
is absolutely impossible to become like anyone, and particularly
God, if we don’t know what He is, who He is, what He stands
for, or what He believes.
Now this should give us a purpose for prayer, because
that’s the way to develop a right relationship with God: and
a purpose for studying His Word, which gives us the facts about
God. The Holy Spirit then increases our understanding, wisdom, and
ability to do what God expects.
Faith and good works are impossible otherwise. Is it possible
that a lot of times we get the idea that prayer, Bible study, and
fasting--all those things are theoretically great, but we
don’t really see the need for them? They are an absolute
need, or we’ll never have the right image of God! It takes
God’s mind and God’s spirit. There’s just no way
Sometimes it’s very hard to accept the true image of God.
But this is what Jesus Christ tells us. “As the living
Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth
me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down
form heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead; he
that eateth of this bread shall live forever” (John 6:57-58.)
Then in verse 60: “Many therefore of his disciples, when
they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear
(understand) it?” We run across things like that. It
isn’t that we don’t perceive the word, it’s
just that in our own human minds, because we have a wrong image
of God, we think, ‘Oh no, that can’t be,’
or ‘I just don’t get that,’ or ‘I
don’t believe that.’
Read John 6:62-63. Would you believe then? Would the image
of God or Christ you hold then correspond to the reality? “
It is the spirit that quickeneth: the flesh profiteth nothing; the
words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
” If we are trying to discern God just humanly, with our own
human reasoning, we will never get it.
Do our prayers sometimes seem to fall on deaf ears? Read
Isaiah 59:1-2. The only reason God wouldn’t hear us is if
we have an erroneous image and we are worshipping that false image
rather that the true God, and are living in sin.
Let’s not allow our image of God to be warped by our own
weakness, our own infirmities, our own inability to fully serve
Him and conform to the image that God has established, the image
of Christ. Let’s recognize our weakness and say, ‘Yes,
I have a problem there.’
We can’t alter God. He doesn’t change. We have to
have in mind and conform to His image, not the image in which
we make Him.