Ideas are abstract. Images are concrete. Ideas tend to lack feeling. Powerful emotions accompany images.
As we face a new year the image you have of who you will be (physically, emotionally, financially, vocationally, etc…) plays a dominant role in you actually becoming. What image do you have of yourself? I think its okay to share this… I have a sister who is now in heaven. While she was still alive it became evident, in particular toward the latter part of her life that she struggled with her self-image. One time in the course of talking about it she was asked to identify a perspective of herself. The image she offered was one of a small, obscure, fragile plant. In many respects, in spite of all the support around her, she was never really able to get beyond that view of herself. I know for certain that that image for my sis was laden with feelings. When she thought of it, it made her feel a particular way. Unfortunately those feelings had to do with vulnerability and weakness. I'll never forget that because I loved her and wanted to help her change. If she could have ever begun to change her image of herself it would have made a huge difference in her life. (By the way - being vulnerable and weak are sometimes very good things images to have. But that's for a different discussion I think.)
So, one of the most important images we have is the one we have of ourselves. But an even more important image is the image we have of God. A.W. Tozer said, “A right conception of God is to practical Christian living, what the foundation is to the temple; where it is inadequate or out of plumb the whole structure must sooner or later collapse.” (Of course leave it to C.S. Lewis to top Tozer cuz he said the most important perspective of all is not the one we have of ourselves or have of God but the one God has of us!)
All right… so what is the image you have of yourselves? How bout of God? Images are important. They evoke feelings. Now consider the image that Jesus left us with… the cross. It’s likely the all-time most powerful image in human history. I think He knows something about images. *
* Oh and what was Jesus' perspective of God? How bout what He said as recorded by Matthew, "With God everything is possible."
(For more and much better thought along these lines check out Dallas Willard’s article called ‘Transformation of the Mind” at http://www.dwillard.org)
The problem with religion is that sooner or later it's defined by who's following the rules and who's not... kind of like the public swimming pool with fences, wristbands and lifegaurds watching your every move. A relationship with Jesus is more like the diving board at the public pool. When you're on one all you do is dive and invite others to do the same. There are places for structure. But when we subordinate 'the relationship' to rules everyone loses. If rules could saves us we wouldn't need a Savior. (my paraphrase of Galatians 3)
I'm married (Johnna) and have three children (Quincy, Shay and Evan). I've done some school (K-12th, College, Post-Graduate work... I think 2nd grade was my favorite). I'm currently planting a church (actually it's God planting the church. I just get to be the lead follower) in Overland Park, KS called Mission. Check it out at missionchurchonline.com.
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