Ever have computer problems? Anyone thinking knows that machines are not made in God’s image, so it’s no wonder they sometimes fail to act as they are supposed to. However, since people are made by God in His image, then we need to act the way Jesus behaved while on earth. Therefore, how do we need to change our behavior so that when others see us, they see more of Jesus than they do a worldly person? We need to continually strive to become more Christ-like in our thoughts and actions so that we are a witness of Him to others. That is one side of the story. The other side of the story is that God loves us, warts and all; He accepts us even when we are unloving and unacceptable to others. That’s simply the way God’s kind of love is; it’s called agape love. That’s what we want to concentrate on today.
Romans 5:8 says: But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. When we were at our very worst, God allowed His own Son to suffer the worst death imaginable so that we could become a child of God! That, my friend, is true love. When we can really get that fact into our hearts and spirits, not just our minds, it goes a long way towards releasing us from that superficial concentration on our physical appearance or inabilities and helps us become more accepting of ourselves. We see the attitudes we have that need to change, but we work on those and don’t beat ourselves up because of them. We gain a positive image of ourselves because we ARE made in the image of God. We also realize that the Holy Spirit lives in us and is working to give us the desire to change wrong thoughts and actions. It’s not all up to us; it’s simply following His guidance, which makes change much easier.
Let’s also get this thought deep within ourselves: Christ in you, the hope of glory, taken from Colossians 1:27. To them [the saints/believers in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord] God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. If Christ, though the Holy Spirit, lives within me, then consider seriously what I have to look forward to in heaven. And that applies equally to you also! And not only there but here on earth besides. Christ, through His Spirit, lives within us! What a tremendous idea, if we can only grasp it. That means that when we see a fellow Christ-follower, we don’t look at them so much on the outside, but we see what our Lord wants to make of them, just like we hope others look at us, seeing what He wants to make of us.
We see then that living the Christian life is balancing between us doing those things we need to do and relying on the Holy Spirit living within us to do what He needs to do. We come to a resting place where we can stop continually trying so hard to be perfect and relax in our Father’s hands, knowing that He will perfect what needs to be done within us. Philippians 1:6 tells us He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. This means that when we believed in Jesus Christ as our Savior, God loved us enough not only to save us but also to work in us until we’re more like the image of our Lord, and He will keep on doing that until we are in heaven with our Father.
When we realize that, we can do that balancing act of doing those things we need to do and relying on the Holy Spirit to do within what we cannot do. Therefore, our spirits have peace because Hebrews 4:9-11 states: There remains, then, a Sabbath — rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their [the Jews in the wilderness] example of disobedience. There is an eternal rest waiting for us in heaven, but we also rest here on earth in allowing God to make us into the people He has called us to be. We’re no longer fighting a hard battle we’ll never win against a bad temper or inferiority or whatever other problems we face. We have confidence that our lives belong to a loving God who has a much better future for us than we can ever imagine. Now let’s rest in His goodness.