Image (def) - representation of the external form of a person or thing in art. Image is everything in the world and the desire to be "seen" a certain way is always a temptation for all of us. To ensure people's perceptions are good some will go to any length to keep up a certain "look" or image. We as Christians fall into this trap of worrying about the external and forgetting about the internal. You may say " My internal is good, so I'm gonna work on my external with the "right" attitude." Really? That "less than" reasoning is a one-way trip to altering your internal life purpose to the point of compromise. Paul wrote this to the church in Galatia in Galatians 6:12 All who want to make a good showing in the flesh try to compel you to be circumcised, simply so that they will not be persecuted for the cross of Christ.13 For those who are circumcised do not even keep the Law themselves, but they want to have you circumcised so that they may boast in your flesh. 14 But far be it from me to boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. 16 And all who will follow this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God. 17 From now on let no one cause trouble for me, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.
The very definition of Image is the opposite of what Paul was teaching. Oh, we aren't having to deal with a church society that is pushing circumcision, but the desire to couple anything with Jesus is dangerous. Some might call it a slippery slope. Pride is at the center of the whole thing and that pride is a dangerous addition to our Christian walk. James writes in James 4: 6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Just think of those words and the power of them where James says "God is opposed to the proud." Common sense says that pride is a "clear and present danger" for believers seeking to serve Jesus in every area of their life. I have to temper my pride in my children and my grandchildren. To step on the slope of pride and boasting can come in many forms. We can "humbly" say "oh thank you and praise the Lord" and those words can mean nothing if our heart is not right. Those words can be a disguise for lying about how we really feel. So, God is at work at the source, our heart. I can even have a poor attitude about writing this blog and miss that I am so proud of the words I put together, to the point of losing the pure truth and effectiveness God intends for it.
Pride is a "monster", and this monster is strong and fed in the world we live in. That is why we need to get in our prayer closet and spend time with God in His Word and in prayer to set our hearts right. Paul was very cognisant of this reality and He wrote about this very thing in 2 Corinthians 10: 7 You are looking at things as they are outwardly. If anyone is confident in himself that he is Christ’s, have him consider this again within himself, that just as he is Christ’s, so too are we.8 For if I boast somewhat more about our authority, which the Lord gave for building you up and not for destroying you, I will not be put to shame,9 for I do not want to seem as if I would terrify you by my letters.10 For they say, “His letters are weighty and strong, but his personal presence is unimpressive and his speech contemptible.”11 Have such a person consider this, that what we are in word by letters when absent, such persons we are also in deed when present. I am in no way saying my letters are as weighty as Paul's, but I must make sure my heart is right when referring to and writing about God's Word. Once again, pride is a monster!!
Within this Image Monster we see many problems and the main problem to me is that the outward decorating of our image weakens what may be seen from the inside...the heart.
The conclusion is we should protect our inward, personal walk with Jesus at all costs. At all costs would include a deep study of God's Word (pure truth), a growing prayer life that involves getting alone with God with no distractions, and a heart that is willing to be changed. Why? Because change WILL come in that type of setting. The question is "are you willing?" The Lord spoke through Isaiah in this way in Isaiah 30:15 15 For this is what the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has said: “In repentance and rest you will be saved, In quietness and trust is your strength.” But you were not willing,
The next step is mine and yours. If we are willing God will do great things through us from the "inside out!" When Jesus was making a very important decision that required perfection here is how He handled it. Luke 6:12 12 Now it was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer with God. Apparently, His prayer was answered and he chose the perfect men as apostles for the task at hand and God was glorified. Jesus prayed all night long. So, He did not choose these men on an image, but on their hearts and individual personalities. Remember, that some of them were fishermen!! God has a great plan for your life and perhaps He is calling you at the deepest part of who you are, and you just need to say yes, and He will take you to the next level in serving Him. True humility will spark a proper response to this call and you will be a significant person of value in His service.
The Pilgrimage Continues...