23. How do I put on the image of God?
Ephesians 4:17-24. “With the Lord’s authority I say this: live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity. But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God — truly righteous and holy.” (NLT – my italics) or “created after the likeness of God” (ESV)
Continuing the thoughts of my last devotional time, looking at taking off my old nature and putting on my new nature. Another thought from this passage is that my new nature is “created to be like God.” We know from the creation account that Adam and Eve were created in God’s image. I wish I knew exactly what Genesis 1:26-27 meant by that. Are we like God in the way we are relational beings, able to love and connect with each other? Are we like Him in our range of emotions? In our creative abilities? In our desire for purposeful life? After human beings first sinned, did that change how subsequent babies were created? Was our image of God corrupted after the Fall, leaving us unable to be righteous? And now, as believers, is our new nature a quantitative or qualitative change in our natures? In other words, is God changing our inborn image-of-God qualities to be more pure, more loving, more patient, etc., than we would be without His work? Or is He giving us totally new qualities from what we had before new life in Christ began? Or perhaps a combination of both??
Once again, I end up with more questions than answers. What I do know from Ephesians is that I have been created “anew in Christ Jesus, so [I] can do the good things he planned for [me] long ago” (2:10). Without this new birth, I would be unable to accomplish the good things He prepared for me to do. And I also get a hint from James 3:9 that human beings are still “made in the image of God.” That affects how I view others; since they are made in the image of God, I owe all people respect and compassion.
Father, no matter how You have put Your stamp of identity on human beings, I want to see myself and others in the same way You view us. Please, Holy Spirit, change how I think and feel and act so that I can look more and more like Jesus to those with whom I come in contact. Amen.