VIDEO The Image of God

[You] have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him. Colossians 3:10

Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar ordered a giant statue of gold to be built: ninety feet tall and nine feet wide. It might have represented the king himself or it might have represented Nebuchadnezzar’s patron god, Nabu. Since kings of the day ascribed divine status to themselves, the image—whether of a king or the king’s god—represented the divine on earth (Daniel 3:1).

We find a similar scenario in the Genesis creation story: God created man in His own image (Genesis 1:26-27). The same word for image—tzelem—is used both for God’s image (a spiritual image) and the image in Babylon (a physical image). What was the purpose of God creating mankind in His image? Mankind was to represent God throughout God’s Kingdom, or creation. As Paul writes in Ephesians 4:24, Christians are a new creation and are “to be like God—truly righteous and holy” (NLT).

Though originally marred by sin, we have been recreated (born again) to reflect God’s righteousness and holiness. When others see us, they are to see the character of our God.

Man is a creature, because he is made by God. But he is a unique creature because he is made like God. Edmund P. Clowney

Breaking Bad Habits – Colossians 3:1-15 – Skip Heitzig

Fix Up Time

Be made new in the attitude of your minds. Ephesians 4:23

It was time to give the inside of our home a fresh, new look. But just as I’d begun prepping a room for painting, our state government announced it would be halting the sale of many home improvement items due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As soon as I heard the announcement, I rushed to the store and purchased the essential materials. You simply can’t remodel without the proper supplies.

Paul had a bit of a remodeling project in mind when he wrote Ephesians 4. But the changes he was talking about went far beyond superficial alterations. Even though trusting Jesus as Savior makes us a new creation, there’s still some ongoing work the Spirit needs to do. And it takes time and work for Him to accomplish “true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24).

The presence of the Spirit makes needed changes on the inside that can help us reflect Jesus in our words and actions. He helps us replace lying with speaking “truthfully” (v. 25). He guides us to avoid sin in regard to anger (v. 26). And He directs us to speak words that are “helpful for building others up” (v. 29). These Spirit-controlled actions are part of the internal change that’s manifested in things like kindness, compassion, and forgiveness (v. 32). The Spirit works in us to enable us to imitate Jesus Himself and reflect the heart of our heavenly Father (v. 24; 5:1).

By:  Dave Branon

Reflect & Pray

In what areas do you need the Holy Spirit to make real, heart-based improvement in you through His leading and strength? How will you get started?

Loving God, thank You for making me a new creation in Christ. Help my actions, through Your guidance, to reflect the change You’ve made in me.

Learn more about the Trinity.

Run With Endurance

Hebrews 12:1-3

Athletic contests were popular in New Testament times, so it makes sense that the writer of Hebrews likened the Christian life to a race. Following Christ isn’t a short sprint but a marathon with many obstacles, hardships, and unexpected turns.

To encourage us on the course we’re running, God has given us a “great cloud of witnesses” (Heb. 12:1). These are saints from the past who faithfully walked with Him through all the trials and challenges of life (Heb. 11:4-38). Their examples inspire us to trust the Lord and obey Him no matter how difficult and confusing the hurdles in our path may be.

We are also urged us to “rid ourselves of every obstacle and the sin which so easily entangles us” (Heb. 12:1). If we’re going to be sustained throughout the race, we must honestly examine our life for anything that might prevent us from knowing the Lord and following Him. It could be habitual sin, an idol, worldly distractions, or false teaching that we’ve accepted as true.

And, of course, we need to fix our eyes on Jesus, the ultimate example of faithful endurance: He suffered for us on the cross so that we could be with Him forever.

Stand Ye Still

“Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem…to morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you.” (2 Chronicles 20:17)

The Ammonites and Moabites and Edomites had organized “a great multitude” seeking to destroy Judah under King Jehoshaphat. But the king and his people came together to “seek the LORD” in prayer for deliverance, and God answered. “The Spirit of the LORD” spoke through Jahaziel, assuring them that “the battle is not yours, but God’s” (see 2 Chronicles 20:2, 4, 14-15).

Then the Lord sent what may have seemed a strange instruction. “Stand ye still,” He said. Just watch God do it! And He did. All their enemies were constrained by the Lord to fight and destroy each other, without the Israelites having to fight at all. Similarly, at the Red Sea when everything looked hopeless, “Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD” (Exodus 14:13). So, they did, and all Pharaoh’s armies were overthrown in the midst of the sea.

In Isaiah’s day, when Israel was tempted to call on pagan Egypt for help against pagan Assyria, God said concerning Israel’s armies, “Their strength is to sit still” (Isaiah 30:7). As the ship was being buffeted in the storm, and the sailors in panic were about to flee in the lifeboat, Paul said, “Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved” (Acts 27:31). So, they stayed, and God spared every man.

There are times for action, of course, but the principle is this. When we have done all we can, and the situation seems hopeless, this is the time to sit still and trust God to work it out in His own good way. “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Got any rivers you think are uncrossable? God specializes in things thought impossible! HMM

Freedom-Psalm 105

For He remembered His holy promise to Abraham His servant. He brought His people out with rejoicing His chosen ones with shouts of joy. He gave them the lands of the nations, and they inherited what other peoples had worked for. [All this happened] so that they might keep His statutes and obey His laws. Hallelujah! (vv. 42-45).

This shrinking world of ours has given me a new appreciation for this passage from Psalm 105. America has never fallen into enemy hands, nor has any other nation stormed the streets of our cities and carried our people into captivity. Still, I read newspaper accounts and see telecasts of this kind of tyranny in the world today.

When the Lord remembered his “holy promise” to Abraham, he “brought His people out” from the bondage of Egypt to the security of the Holy Land “that they might keep His statutes and obey His laws” (v. 45). The bottom line of deliverance is freedom to obey him and praise his holy name.

How ironic that “captives” are often freer than many Americans who practice shallow and casual Christianity. Tatiana Goricheva, author of Talking about God Is Dangerous: Diary of a Russian Dissident, is an emigrant who claims, “My life only began when God found me.” Even in atheistic Russia her faith was growing strong and vibrant before her arrival in this country. Upon viewing a Western TV evangelist for the first time, however, she observed, “What this man said on the screen was likely to drive more people out of the church than the clumsy chatter of our paid atheists. Dressed up in a posh way … he was a boring, bad actor with mechanical and studied gestures . . . For the first time I understand how dangerous it is to talk about God. Each word must be a sacrifice—filled to the brim with authenticity. Otherwise it is better to keep silent.” God demands our praise, but it must be genuine!

Personal Prayer

O Lord, may every word I write and every song I sing be a sacrifice of praise to your holy name!

Always a Reason to Rejoice

Honor His holy name; let the hearts of those who seek Yahweh rejoice.—Psalm 105:3

The second fruit of the Spirit listed by Paul is joy (Gl 5:22). It is no mere accident that “joy” follows the first, love. Joy is a byproduct of love. If you concentrate on getting joy, it will elude you. But if you concentrate on getting love, then joy will seek you out—you will be automatically joyful.

The nine qualities of the fruit of the Spirit are not natural attributes, but supernatural ones. You cannot manufacture them—they just appear in our lives as we allow the Holy Spirit to have His way within us. I know many Christians who find it difficult to embrace the fact that the fruit of the Spirit is joy. They not only don’t expect joy—they don’t want it. One grim Christian said to me once: “At the heart of our faith is a cross. This means we ought to be spending our time weeping, not laughing.”

Well, it is true that there is a cross at the heart of the Christian faith and that following Christ involves some rigorous self-denials, but it does not alter—and cannot alter—the fact that the fruit of the Spirit is joy. We cannot deny that there is a good deal of suffering in Christianity, but beneath the suffering is a joy that will, if we allow it, burst upward through everything. I am bound to say that if there is no joy, there is no Christianity, for Christianity is inherent joy. The empty tomb takes away our empty gloom. We have an Easter morning in our faith, and that means there is always a reason to rejoice.


Father, I am so thankful that Your Holy Spirit applies redemption right to the roots of my being. Thus I can be glad even when I am sad. Thank You, dear Father. Amen.

Further Study

Lk 10:17-22; 15:4-6; Heb 12:2

How did Christ relate joy to the Cross?

What brings joy to His heart?

The Paradoxical Infant

1 Timothy 3:16

Billions of births have happened in the long course of human history. One, however, was unlike all others—the birth of the Man who was, and is, God. Concerning this birth the Apostle Paul uses the Greek word, musterion, meaning “a mystery.” “Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great: He appeared in a body” (1 Timothy 3:16). But the word means more than just a mystery; translated, it means a mystery that is solved, a secret that is open to those who believe in Jesus Christ.

There are many profound paradoxes having to do with the birth of Jesus, four of them about which we may think with profit.

So Young and Yet So Old. Our Lord did not begin in “the city of David.” His existence did not originate in a manger. Had we been present to watch Mary deliver her firstborn we might reasonably have assumed that we were witnessing the genesis of Jesus. But that assumption would have been wrong. The fact is that Jesus never had an origin, and the Bible states this clearly both in the Old and the New Testaments. The prophet Micah (5:2) declares, “But you, Bethlehem… out of you will come for me one… whose origins are from old, from ancient times.”

So Poor and Yet So Rich. The New Testament makes no attempt to disguise the fact that Jesus was poor. He belonged to a peasant family. He elected to associate Himself with the “have-nots” rather than the “haves.” It is not through His riches that we become rich, but by His poverty.

So Small and Yet so Great. It takes the breath away to think that the Lord of 30-trillion galaxies and constellations became the size of a tiny infant in order to enter the human race. But tiny as He was, “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form” (Colossians 2:9). The Infinite became the infinitesimal while remaining the Infinite!

So Mute and Yet So Articulate. Here is an infant that is unable to say a single word. And yet John the evangelist says that “the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us” (John 1:14). The divine being who named the myriad stars is incapable of articulating even the name of His mother.

Now, however, the words of Jesus have been translated into every human tongue. They have been studied in every age since they were uttered. They have meant more to humanity than all the words ever spoken by all the rest of humanity put together.

These four paradoxes leap out of the Incarnation: so young and so old, so poor and so rich, so small and yet so great, so silent and yet so articulate.

Arnold Brown, Occupied Manger, Unoccupied Tomb