What Image Do You Portray To Others?
“What Image Do You Portray To Others?”
Image is important to everyone to some degree or another. Public figures (politicians, actors, musicians, athletes, etc.) rise or fall in popularity, in part, according to their image. Image is the mental picture that another has of you. Image is, in part, why you feel comfortable around some complete strangers and uncomfortable around others.
What Image Do You Have Of Christ?
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, lived on this earth and left an image. Can you describe the image you have of Christ? Unless you do not look to the Bible as the inspired, inerrant, word of God, you certainly view Christ as Holy, Just, Perfect, Righteous, etc., in every area of His life.
Do You Portray Christ’s Image To The Word?
As a Christian, you’re image matters! Jesus compares you to a light, a lamp, and a city set on a hill (Matt. 5:14-16). Therefore, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). How bright is your light shining?
Are you an imitator of Christ? Paul wrote, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1). An imitator tries to replicate the original. As it applies to Christians, we must try to replicate/duplicate Christ Jesus in our own lives! Therefore, the image that we ought to portray is actually Christ’s image (Col. 1:27). Are you portraying Christ’s image?
The only way to replicate Christ’s image is to give yourself entirely over to Him. Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Is this your attitude?
The Problem Of Worldliness
The greatest threat to leaving a Christ-like image is worldliness (the desire to be like the world). Sometimes it may appear innocent, beautiful, humorous, or even glamorous, but, it is still worldliness! Paul wrote, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Rom. 12:2). James wrote, “Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (Jas. 4:4).
Worldliness creeps in to so many areas of our lives (clothing, language, attitude, etc.), destroying our Christ-like image! However, the cure for worldliness is whole-hearted devotion to God. Just one verse prior to the exhortation to “not be conformed to this world” is this admonition: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service” (Rom. 12:1). In order to prevent worldliness, (1) Determine to give your life to the Lord. You must present you entire being as a living sacrifice to Him – no longer living for yourself and for worldly things (i.e. physical wealth, pleasure, etc.). (2) Determine not to be conformed to the world. Make this determination within yourself, “In every decision, I will avoid conformity to the world and will live for God.” (3) Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Rather than taking the form of the world, allow yourself to be transformed into the image of Christ by renewing your mind. No longer put your focus on worldly matters, rather, put your treasure in heaven and all of your focus will be there also (Matt. 6:19-21).
Are you portraying a worldly image or a Christ-like image?
An Image Can Be Changed
This point comes either as a piece of great news, or as a warning. If you have failed to portray the image of Christ to others, you have the opportunity to “Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you” (Acts 8:22). You can change your worldly image into a Christ-like image by evaluating every area of your life and determining to imitate Christ therein.
However, if you have been diligent to portray the image of Christ to others, then, you must listen to these words: “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12). You must never think that you can forsake this area. You must push forward and remember: There’s still some area you can improve in! Christ was perfect (Heb. 4:15). Therefore, if you are not perfect, you still have room to improve! In fact, this will be a life-long effort!
Limitation Of Image
The image you portray is an important part of Christian living. However, image is not the only part! You must not forsake your heart, the part that you do not directly portray to others.
It is possible to portray a godly image to others; yet, be full of sin! This is the sin of hypocrisy (play-acting). Jesus consistently condemned hypocrisy. On one occasion, Jesus said, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments” (Matt. 23:2-5).
Portray a Christ-like image to the world! However, be certain that such an image is genuine, else, it is in vain! In fact, allow your first steps toward a Christ-like image to be purification of your heart. “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Matt. 15:19). You will be judged on these matters (2 Cor. 5:10).
- Eric Krieg -
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.