Gold and goals were the focus of attention in the opening post. And Ephesians 5:1 (let your mouse hover over the reference to read the verse) was the first reference in our End Zone Object Lesson. The little guy in this picture provides a great image for us as we think about what it means to imitate our Father.
But Paul said more about this idea of imitating God. As a matter of fact, He is not the only New Testament writer to address the subject! So let’s take some more steps to connect goals, gold, and an End Zone Object Lesson.
God’s Goal – Better Than Gold
Pastor’s, teachers, and other public speakers develop and/or use phrases that are often repeated. Here’s one I use often:
It’s true; God loves you as you are. But it’s also true He loves you too much to leave you that way!
I have said that as an evangelist speaking to people who do not know our Father. But I have also said that to Christians who need a reminder of the ongoing, life-long, transforming work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. And that reminder is needed because the temptation to be complacent is always with us.
Paul wrote in Colossians 1:15 that Jesus is the image of the invisible God. This idea was not new. Jesus addressed it personally in John 14:9. He was such a perfect image of God the Father that to see Him was to see the Father.
The power of that statement was not lost on the Apostle John. He recorded it in his Gospel but he also addressed the subject in his letters to Christians of his day (I John 3:2). John knew he wasn’t completely like Jesus. I don’t fully resemble Jesus Christ today. Neither do you. But that isn’t a problem for our Father even though some around us seem quick to point out the places where Christ-likeness is lacking.
Is there any doubt that God’s goal is shaping us into the very image of Christ? But, just in case you aren’t convinced, let me add Romans 8:29 & 2 Corinthians 3:18 to the list. Part of the Holy Spirit’s ‘job description’ is to transform believers into the image of Christ. Short version: we are works in process! Just remember Philippians 1:6. Being the image of Christ is guaranteed!
Comparison, Conclusions & Application
This image of Christ thing is a big deal. It should now be easy to see that this is a life-long, life-consuming process. As such, it must touch on every area of our lives. But where do we start? And how should we couple and apply this truth with other things we have been given in Scripture?
A helpful comparison is the two greatest commandments. In Matthew 22:40 Jesus said all the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commands. That’s huge. The Greatest Commandment shows us what we are to be. The Second Commandment shows us what are supposed to do. And everything else we are given in Scripture falls under those two over-arching statements.
Similarly, imitating Christ touches all areas of our lives. It falls under the two greatest commandments. We love God enough to desire to imitate Him. We love others enough to take actions for them as representatives (ambassadors, see 2 Corinthians 5:20) of our loving Father. So that gives new weight to:
- Love one another
- Serve one another
- Forgive one another
- Encourage one another…and many more!
The inescapable conclusion is the commands of Scripture are those things that will help make us more like Christ. Did you ever think of them that way? Too many people think of God’s commands as prohibitions on fun. That’s sad. But we are now very near seeing the goal in the gold and explaining the End Zone Object Lesson.
Soli Deo Gloria!