The door to the New Year is almost fully open. If the Lord allows us to step through it, we will be given more seconds, minutes, perhaps days, to be more and more conformed into the image of His Son in 2019. What does that image look like, how does this flesh and blood image live? What are its thoughts and words? Immersion and instruction in the Scriptures through the guidance and indwelling of the Holy Spirit reveals to the child of God many descriptions of this image and causes us to desire to bear that image, for the Glory of God:
Galatians 5 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance;
1 Corinthians 13 – Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
Romans 12 – Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
These are the Scriptures that may come to mind more readily than others. But we must search the Scriptures to find other golden nuggets of the image of God that we are to emulate. And in all of our searching in His Word, remember this, just as we are to be conformed to the image of His Son, so it must be done from a desire to be God-centered – for God’s glory, not for our glory. I heard two descriptions of men recently, “God-centered” and “Me-centered”. These two biblical descriptions made me think. Which one am I? I quickly came to the conclusion that, I, more than not, tend to be a Me-centered person. I may start out in a situation wanting to be God-centered, but then quickly slide into being Me-centered – because “I matter the most”, says the little Mary-god sitting on her throne. But God’s truth is sharper than any two-edged sword and cuts to the bone and marrow of our soul. So, when God’s word showed me my “Me-centeredness”, I felt that sword. But it was and is a cleansing wound.
As we go forward into 2019, may we desire to be God-centered, and in doing so, becoming more and more conformed to the image of His Son. May we learn from His Word and Holy Spirit what it means to live God-centered. Here is one final Scripture God gave me today that seems to wrap up all this:
And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he: And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.
And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God.