Section 3: Humanity
Week 4: The Image of God within Us Has Been Distorted
Day 4: The Closer We Follow Jesus, the Better We Reflect God’s Image
We were created to reflect God’s image. When we realize Christ perfectly reflected God’s image in his life, we realize that we can fulfill our purpose by following him. That’s why the New Testament is full of calls for believers to imitate Christ. It’s not just that Christ is a good example for us to follow; he is THE example because he is the very image of God himself. So following Christ is not merely a suggestion; it’s absolutely essential if we are to fulfill the purpose for which we were created.
The Call To Imitate Christ Challenges Our View of the Christian Life
Sounds simple enough, right? In one sense it is. But that simple truth has the potential to seriously mess up the view many of us have of the Christian life.
For a lot of us, it’s tempting to view our faith in terms of tasks we need to check off on a to-do list:
✓ Go to church on Sunday
✓ Take notes during the sermon
✓ Read my bible for 15 minutes in the morning
✓ Pray through my prayer list before I go to bed
That image is appealing because it feels good to tick things off our to-do lists. It makes us feel like we’ve accomplished something. And if we can fill our to-do list with tasks that don’t actually require much effort, so much the better. We get the best of both worlds: we feel like we’ve accomplished something without really having had to do any hard work.
We often want the Christian life to be like that—made up of a few tasks that we can get through quickly and that don’t cost us much. But that’s not an accurate picture of the life we’re called to live because it’s not representative of the kind of life Christ lived.
To Reflect God’s Image, We Need to Demonstrate the Same Sacrificial Attitude
Yesterday we explained that Christ’s death on the cross reflected God’s own sacrificial attitude. Now here’s the scary part. Paul says we’re supposed to have the same attitude (Phil. 2:5). Why? If we’re going to reflect God’s image the way we’re supposed to, we have no choice but to imitate Christ. And that includes a willingness to sacrifice our own interests for the benefit of others.
Christ’s willingness to sacrifice himself is a reflection of God’s own nature. In humbly sacrificing himself for our benefit, Christ reflected God’s image to the world. We’re supposed to have the same attitude because we too are called to reflect God’s image.
Sacrifice is at the heart of who God is, so it’s necessarily at the heart of who we are to become. That means our to-do lists won’t cut it. We need to go deeper.
What do you see as the most important “tasks” in your life? How would you rate your willingness to sacrifice for others?
List 2–3 ways you could be more sacrificial towards other people in your life.