Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness;” . . . God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Genesis 1:26-27
I don’t know about any of you but when I look in the mirror, the reflection I see sometimes surprises me. Where did those wrinkles and gray hairs come from? When did my body shape become what it is today? When did all these (and other) changes take place?
But rather than focusing on the physical changes reflected in my mirror, I want to hold up a spiritual mirror and see the reflection there. How have I changed spiritually over the years? Do I resemble Jesus more and more?
“The expectation of Jesus is that if you follow Him you will be changed and conformed into His image.” John Ortberg
The Bible is full of verses relating to changing spiritually so that we look more and more like Jesus.
God spoke of this change long before Jesus came to earth. He told the people of Israel, “For I am the Lord who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your God; thus you shall be holy, for I am holy.” (Leviticus 11:45) Being holy is a part of being changed to be more like Jesus.
In Romans 8:29, Paul writes, “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;” Change and conformity/ transformation are God’s plan for us. If it is God’s plan, why would I not want it/do it?
In Romans 12:2, he continues, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Peter tells us, “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’” (1 Peter 1:16)
How are we changed and conformed to the image of Jesus?
First by renewing our minds. Paul’s letter to Titus tells us that this is the work of the Holy Spirit. “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,´ (Titus 3:5) Am I willing to let the Holy Spirit do the work of change in my life?
Second by having the right focus. Colossians 3:1 tells us to “keeping seeking the things above.” What do I need to eliminate in my life that keeps my focus from being on God – television shows, music, books, websites?
Third when we understand our position with God. “But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.” (Romans 6:17-18) As slaves to righteousness, we grow to be like Jesus Who is our Righteousness.
Fourth by putting off our old self and putting on our new self. “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22-24)
Fifth when we ask God to help us and allow Him to do so. “May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ.” (2 Thessalonians 3:5)
As Christians, we can read all of these verses and know what God expects and still not be changed and conformed to His image. When we live life not wanting to or refusing to change, we miss out on what God has for us.
My prayer for us is that we will be willing to hold up the spiritual mirror and look at our reflection. The reflection may be beautiful some days and on others, it may need a lot of work. Just as the physical changes reflected in the mirror did not occur overnight, the spiritual changes take time as well. The best part is that we have a Savior Who wants us to be like Him and He walks alongside us as we seek to be like Him.
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:14-19