CONCLUSIONS: PART 5
“These convictions I have lived by”
When I think of the things I have lived by, I think of my worldview and perspectives. More specifically, I try to think of the convictions, which have shaped my perspective of the vital things: God, myself, and the world (the people) around me. A conviction takes belief to a different level. Conviction is a belief that is so firmly set, that it drives everything else. I think there are two key convictions I have which drive my perspective of and actions toward God, myself, and other people.
First, I am convicted by the way and life of Jesus Christ. I’ll address the container on this off the bat, before I explain things; I am terrible at this. When I say I am convicted by the way of Jesus, I have to begin by saying I am less concerned with looking like Jesus instead of looking like a person who knows he NEEDS Jesus. As I try to look like Jesus, I realize there is a grace found in how far short I come in doing this.
That being said, I am a follower of Jesus, and I want my life to look more and more like the rabbi I have placed my entire life under. This is a life that I have found is very difficult, sacrificial, loving, and offensive. I am convicted by looking like Jesus and following the commands he gave to anyone who would call themselves disciples or followers. Those things have been very hard to manage. I have too often been a rich young ruler who, counting the true costs of following Jesus fully, have walked away from those moments unwilling to step into the real call of a follower Jesus. It really is very difficult.
I love the things I have in my life, and the conviction to emulate the way of Jesus Christ requires of me to lay a lot of things aside (in fact, to lay EVERYTHING aside as indicated by Luke 9:23). It will be a sacrifice demanded in many circumstances of my life, and I am not always as willing to lay aside my comforts, my dependencies, or the things, if I’m honest, I have come to love MORE than I love Jesus. I am convicted by living the way of Jesus, but each day I fall dreadfully short in the sacrificial demand with which that comes.
When I think of the love that is found in the true way of Jesus I realize how unloving I can really be. We are so fearful that people will see us as we really are. I want to live a life where I am not afraid of letting people see me as I really am. Because truth of the matter is I'm NOT like Jesus...I don't look like Jesus...but I DO need him.
Without Jesus, I am absolutely lost and in the dark. Alone, I am a man prone to being lost. I have huge potential for being lost, but honestly I would rather people consistently see my potential lostness...my potential for being alone and broken...I would rather people see all of this instead of a pretty and shiny self-righteousness which I have a whole wardrobe full of to draw upon. I would rather people see my brokenness and potential for straying because if all I ever show them is my righteous and confident garb they're going to be shocked when they find out I really am a ragamuffin, beat up, broken and bedraggled.
The second large conviction I live my life by is the understanding of the imago dei (the image of God). I am convinced that every human being is created in the image of God. I am not convinced that every human being is a child of God, but every human being is made in God’s image.
The doctrine of imago Dei cannot be removed from the gospel, but it often is. The understanding of our image and likeness of God is such good news, and we too often remove that part of the story when we present the gospel. We often begin with the Fall and move into our need for redemption.
All of this leads one to see that we resemble the God who has created us. Something about us is reminiscent of God. It is an overconfident claim to make, and even Isaiah realizes that when he says, “To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare with Him?” But to the Priestly writer of Genesis, we can understand that the image is within each and every human being.
From the very beginning of Scripture, we are introduced to a God who calls all of his creation “good”, but when he creates man, he calls it “very good”. Genesis is quite poetic in telling us how God breathed life into human beings and made them in his own image. Creation shows us how things ought to be. When we have a fascination with beauty, a hunger for relationships, a natural bent toward goodness and justice, or just a longing for connection with an incredible God, these are all things, which point to our origin. They point to the divine image in which we are created.
We are made in the imago dei. Every human being is made in the image of God. This means a great many things. Specifically, it does mean we are all connected. As God is 3 in 1, we are all connected in a great way. There is a solidarity to the image of God we are all connected within.
Think of this!
This means every interaction, no matter how passing or intentional, has an impact. Every smile, hug, and conversation has an impact. Every relationship, no matter how intimate or shallow, has an impact. You may never see a person again, but in that second your smile could impact the rest of their hour or day. It means even your small acquaintance has an impact.
Think of how crazy it is that you, a human being, have the capacity to impact another human being.
What impact will you have?