Friday, December 7, 2012

Christ is the Image




Scripture

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
(Colossians 1:15 NASB)
and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him—
(Colossians 3:10 NASB)
a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.
(Colossians 3:11 NASB)

 

Observation


The beauty of this season of the year is that we celebrate God coming to be with us, in the flesh. Jesus Christ IS the image of the invisible God. He reveals to us what God is like in all things. If we are in Christ, then we are being renewed according to him. In other words, the image is being renewed in us so that we look like him. It doesn't matter who we are, we can all be renewed into his image and then serve as a reflection of him to the world around us. This is the call of the deeper walk with Jesus Christ -- we are called to transformation into his image. Therefore as we walk this earth people are to see Jesus in us and experience Christ, and hence God here on earth.

 

Application


Yesterday we spent the day driving around east Ohio and making stops at different churches along the way. I am troubled by some of what I see happening in our culture, society, and the church. Over near the Ohio river and in a back little holler there stands a beautiful church building that once upon a time was filled with worshipers. Today the building stands, but there remains only a handful of worshipers who can barely afford to keep the doors open. The community is depressed. The coal mines and steel mills have closed down. The latest census shows that there are 418 people left in this town and nearly every one lives below the poverty level. Drug and alcohol abuse is rampant in this depressed part of the country. There are two churches in town and both are suffering serious decline. People are not going to church, the entire community has become "unchurched." In an effort to reach out to children the church held a week-long Vacation Bible School, and every evening only one child attended.

What people need is Christ! They need the living incarnated Jesus Christ that can transform their lives. He is the solution to the problems which ail this part of the country. But the problem we face today is that people say I want Jesus, but I don't want the church. Therefore the church has to ask herself, how do we become Jesus to the communities around us? That is when things get personal, because then we have to ask ourselves whether we have been playing church, or have we been focused on the spiritual transformation which is to occur in each and every single one of our lives? If an entire church were made up of individuals who were a reflection of Jesus to the world, what would happen? Could we effectively minister to a community that has lost all hope? Isn't that what Jesus did when he entered this world! Jesus was born and brought hope to a needy and dying world. We are living in that needy and dying world today and they need to see Jesus. We must pray that God helps us to be a clear reflection of Jesus, of THE image, to the world. Only in this way can they experience the transforming power of God in their lives.

My heart is broken today for the communities which have lost all hope. It is an overwhelming thought and a daunting task. I also realize that responsibility begins with me, personally, and my personal walk with Jesus. Therefore I must seriously ask myself whether I am a reflection of THE image to the world around me.

 

Prayer


Jesus, I pray for this community and so many others -- may they see you and find their hope in you. Amen.

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