We serve a great and loving God, who despite man’s rebellion and sin has chosen to make Himself known to man through His Son Jesus, who willingly gave His life for our freedom. Since the Fall of Man in the Garden of Eden, when man chose to live a self-conscious life rather than a God-conscious life, God has done everything He possibly could to restore us back to Himself, back to His own image the one He created us with. In Christ we have the promise not only of the forgiveness of our sins but also the promise of full restoration to the presence and glory of God, to both know God and to live our lives in the very image and likeness of God, to be like God, just as it was in the beginning. God is today restoring His glorious Holy Spirit to mankind, to all those who would accept the call of God to believe in Jesus, and put our faith and trust in him for our very lives. It is only by the Spirit of God that man is able to live his life in the image and likeness of God.
In writing to the Corinthian church the Apostle Pauls says in 2Cor 3:18; “But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”
What Paul is saying is that we now have a new identity in Christ! Many today are seeking a new life, a better life, a new way of living be it through finding a new career path, moving to a different city or even country, starting life afresh.
I remember when my wife and I moved from Zimbabwe to Australia it felt like we were starting a whole new life, a new beginning, the opportunity to explore new horizons, to have new experiences, meet new people. Life was exciting being in a new country which we loved. After a couple of years we became Australian citizens and our new identity was complete, we were now Australians living in a whole new world. We no longer saw ourselves as Zimbabweans but rather we saw ourselves as Australians, we now had new identities with the passports to prove it. Our journey had begun with the submission of our application with the Australian High Commission in Zimbabwe; we were able to meet all their requirements for permanent residency in Australia and soon found ourselves with Visa’s and travelling to our new country, our new identity.
Our story has a happy ending, however, for many the quest for a new life, a new beginning, and a chance to start afresh is beyond them and they find themselves trapped in a life which they wish they could change but are unable to.
The same may be said of us spiritually, we may have a desire to change the person we are on the inside but find ourselves powerless to do so. We may seek to have new friends, change the way we think and the attitudes we carry, but all to no avail.
We try a different hair style.
Change the clothes we wear but it seems we are powerless to bring about permanent change to our nature and character.
We try to clean ourselves up so we may look good, but we fail to clean all the blemishes. We are who we are with no apparent way of escape.
When Adam and Eve chose to walk away from God they lost their true identity and their citizenship, instead they found themselves trapped in a world vastly different from the one they had been created in and accustomed to. Not only had the world around them changed, but they too had changed, they now viewed life on their own without God, without His counsel, their nature and character was no longer in keeping with the image and likeness of God, in fact they were no longer able to draw on their image from God, but rather their new image was to be drawn from man. Adam and Eve now had a new image based on self which was flawed. The Holy Spirit of God, who gave them their true identity, was no longer within man they were on their own.
Since the Garden of Eden man has had an identity crisis, not knowing who he really is. It is not uncommon to hear stories about people going off somewhere to try and find themselves, to find who they really are. Perhaps you have heard of some yourself?
Identity theft has become big business around the world, many stories are told of people who have had their lives turned upside down because someone has stolen their legal identity, through credit card fraud or some other equally devastating medium. Lives are ruined financially and emotionally leaving the victim feeling powerless and desperate. This is what happened in the Garden of Eden; mankind was robbed of its true identity and left with a tarnished, inferior one.
But all is not lost! Christ has caught the thief and taken back that which rightfully belongs to you and me; our true identity!
(Col 1:13-15) For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. And He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation.
The Apostle Paul speaks of a mirror in which we see the glory of the Lord. What is Paul trying to say here? I believe he is saying to the Christians “If you want to see your true self, look to the Lord. The image you see of God in all His glory is the image of who you are in Christ.” This is who you are, a reflection of the image and glory of God! Hallelujah, that’s who I am, one created by God, filled with His life and reflecting His glorious image and likeness. We may be a work in progress, but none the less we are a people created to reflect the image of God on this earth.
Christ is the key that unlocks our true identity for He is the image of God, (2Cor4:4), who fills us with His Holy Spirit that we might once again be conformed to the image of the Father. When we find Christ our search to find out who we are is over, we will know the truth and be able to walk in it.
Who do you see in the morning when you look in the mirror? Do you see yourself or do you see the glory of God reflecting back at you in the image of God? Do you see yourself in your new identity? I believe this is an area which causes many Christians to stumble over, as many still see themselves when they look in the mirror. They see their failures, their weaknesses, inabilities, and lack. They gauge their lives by their limitations, what they are able to do, how much knowledge they possess, how they can become a better person, their eyes are still very much focused on self and living a self-conscious life to please God. If this is who you see in the mirror then you will continue to live a life in which you wish you could change but remain powerless to do so.
It all comes down to one key question? Who do you see in the mirror? Do you see yourself or do you see Christ in you, with His Life flowing through you and empowering you to walk in your new image, in the image and likeness of God. Do you see His strength, wisdom and provision flowing through your life? Do you see His power and glory being reflected through you? Your response will be a reflection of how you see yourself and how you live your life.
Every soldier going into battle puts on his uniform and takes his weapon.
A fire fighter going in to put out a fire will first put on his uniform and boots and take his fire fighting equipment with him. A commercial fisherman will ensure his boat is sea worthy and fully equipped with all the fishing equipment he needs before he ventures out into the open seas. Should being a Christian be any different? Should we not be equipped as well for life?
The Apostle Paul tells us in Colossians 3:9-10 “Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him.”
Paul tells us to put on the new man in Christ. I believe the first step in doing this is to see the correct image when you look in the mirror each day, we must see Christ in us, flowing His Life, love, power, strength and wisdom through us, for only then may we face the challenges of the day in the strength and power of Almighty God, only then can we begin to walk in our new identity.
Learning to walk in our new identity can be challenging since it may go against the natural reasoning process we have lived with all of our lives. To no longer walk in our own strength or wisdom but to rely on the Holy Spirit to guide us in all the issues of life may be daunting for some. It is like learning to walk all over again.
A baby must first crawl before it can walk, and walk before it can run. We too are like babies in Christ when we first experience our new identity in Christ, we must first learn to crawl and then walk in the ways of the Holy Spirit before we can run.
I have found in my own life a few keys that helped me to learn to walk in the Spirit, and be a true reflection of the image of God in my life.
The first key is found in Romans 8v1-2.
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.”
I am forgiven my entire past, what I was has no bearing on who I am today in Christ. How I used to see myself in the mirror is in the past, dead and buried. Today I have a new future, all I have before me is Christ in all His fullness wanting to release His life through me! That is who I now see when I look in the mirror.
The second key is found in Hebrews 12v2.
“Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
We are admonished to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, not some of the time but all of the time, He is the One who has begun a new work in my life and He is the One who will complete it. I now live my life with my eyes firmly fixed on Jesus and not the world around me, the world will always disappoint us but Christ will always be there for us, guiding and empowering us through all of life. When friends and family desert us, when life throws a curved ball at us, He is there ready to impart His wisdom and love in every situation.
The third key is found in Psalm 95v8-9
Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as in the day of Massah in the wilderness; “When your fathers tested Me they tried Me, though they had seen My work.”
What the Lord comes searching for every day in our lives is an open heart, one which seeks Him continually and one which allows Him to speak into our lives at all times. Maintain an open heart before God continually and allow the Holy Spirit to have His way.
These three keys combined will help to unlock your new identity in Christ and assist you in learning to walk in the Spirit.
The following outlines what it means to be restored to the image of God.
I am now the image and likeness of God, and one with His divine nature and promises in Christ.
God is not a separate entity within me, but in Christ we are now one in spirit.
If Christ is full of abundant life so am I.
If Christ lacks nothing, neither do I lack any good thing.
I do not see who I was, I see who I am in Christ.
I am no longer conscious of my faults, but only conscious of Christ in me and His glory and power working throug me.
I now live out of the divine flow in my life.
I am now conscious only of Gods ability within me and not my own.
I am now living a Christ-centred life, basing my life on His truth and wisdom for my life.
I now live out f the reality of Christ within me.
How I see myself is crucial to my Christian walk, the outcome of which will influence and impact on my entire being in life. The following list outlines how I should now see myself in Christ.
I now see myself as:
An anointed one.
Having Gods wisdom.
Exercising power and authority, taking dominion over all the works of Satan.
Walking in divine knowledge.
Living a Christ-conscious life; conscious only of His ability flowing through me.
Having the life of God flowing through me now.
Lacking nothing, but being fully supplied.
Filled with the Holy Spirit and His life energy pulsating through me.
Prospering in all I do, succeeding in everything I put my hands to.
Flowing with the Fathers creativity.
Having no condemnation of past sin.
An extension and expression of the Fathers heart.
Walking in unselfish love.
Walking in a spirit of forgiveness.
One who can do all things through Christ Jesus.
I have come to the conclusion in my own life, that knowing Jesus and walking in the identity which He has restored to us is the most exciting life one may ever live. The world has nothing to offer in comparison to the life we experience in Christ. Knowing God and walking with Him every day is the most fulfilling thing I have ever done with my life. I would strongly encourage anyone who does not yet know their true identity to earnestly seek it until they find it. It is like hidden treasure, you have to search for it, but once you find it, it will bring great freedom and joy. Remember what you see is what you get as you look in the mirror each day. Take back that which has been stolen from you, Jesus has made a way for you, seek it, embrace it and you will never be the same again. Take a good look in the mirror and let Christ become your reflection in life.