October 6, 2018

Being Made New in God's Image

My main goal in life is being made new in God's image. The only way to become the man God has created me to be is to be made new in His image. This happens by recognizing and celebrating God's holiness, which leads me to yearn for His holiness reflected in my life. It's a life-long goal! And though it is the greatest of all privileges and goals to become the man God wants me to be, it's pursuit is fraught with avoidance and excuse.

The whole idea of a holy life seems so unreal. It seems like an outdated religious ideal, made for those who have dreams of an impossible perfection or who want to appear better than they really are. We've all seen the disgraced ministers and priests in the news. It seems sometimes that we're just asking for trouble when we claim to be like Jesus! Besides, no one wants to be a marginalized prude. And on and on goes the reasons for resisting holiness. But the call of the Lord to holiness also goes on and on, as well. 

Jesus calls us to resist the usual reasons and questions we have about holiness and make up our minds to reverence and live in awe of God's holy name. In the prayer He taught us, Jesus says, "When you pray, say, 'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.'" To hallow God's name goes beyond being respectful or showing reference for it. Hallowing God's name means we are transformed as we do it. It means we are being made new in God's image. In the process of hallowing His name, we become hallowed by the transforming grace of God. Sinful resistance, of course, is there, and it is strong at times. But God's grace is stronger!

I've been reading and lately from Barry Callen's book, The Prayer of Holiness - Hungry People. In it Callen says that sin is "insisting on doing my things my way for my own pleasure by myself." (p. 46)  That pretty well sums it up for me. Living in sin defies God and leads to my self destruction. It's the opposite of what God intends for me. I am created by God to live in loving relationship with Him, with my spouse and with others. If I focus on myself and my pleasure, instead of looking to Jesus and honoring God in my life, then I destroy any hope of having a future worth living. It's as simple as that! 

Life is not about me; it's about God's only Son, Jesus Christ. He's the One who sits at the right hand of the Father and comes to live with us and in us by the power of the Holy Spirit. God is with us right where we are. I drop to my knees in amazement and adoration of the holy One, then rise to my feet fully embraced by that same One who has chosen to walk with me through life. I am being made new in God's image. Hallelujah! Amen!

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