December 16, 2013

Image Bearers

We got up at 4:30 am and were in Chicago by noon, then Charlotte, NC by mid-afternoon. The airports were busy, even too much for a people-watcher like me. However, I couldn’t miss the leather jacket on the fellow in front of me at an immigration line. I could not see his face, but by the picture on the back, I didn’t want to.
My first thought was that we are all created to image God. Like some mirrors, some give very good reflections. Others are more like those mirrors in the fun house sending back grotesque and distorted images. Some are covered with grime and the image is almost impossible to see. As I was thinking these things, my husband said, “That fellow is sending quite the message.”

While it is usually not a good idea to judge a book by its cover, people do judge us by our outward appearance. We are also evaluated by how we behave, our habits and preferences, and the way we talk. In all of this, I know that God wants me to be an adequate expression of Him.

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Giving God glory isn’t something done for God. He cannot be any more glorious than He already is. How I can do it is by proclaiming His glory, and for that, He invites me to point out and praise all that He has done. All creation does it. Consider the stars and even Venus shining in the evening sky. . .

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. (Psalm 19:1)

I don’t have a “heavenly” body, but He also wants me to also glorify Him with the one I do have. He says, “For you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:20) This means living a holy life that honors Him in all that I do.

This includes my speech too, for God says that “the one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!” (Psalm 50:23) Besides honoring God by verbal thanksgiving, this also opens my life to seeing more of what God is doing. That is, when I glorify Him, He shows me more of His glory.

Besides that, when I honor Him, He shows others more of His glory also. “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

The man in the leather jacket wore images of evil things and emblems of a debauched lifestyle. I hope that he will someday discover the noble calling for which he was created, get rid of that awful jacket, and reflect the glory of the God who created him.

Last night, after posting this, I laid in bed thinking this is not right. I am just as poor an image-bearer when I put down another person as if I know everything about him by his jacket. Shame on me.

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