What is your “image” of God? Children think about this…
Dear GOD, I bet it is very hard for You to love all of everybody in the whole world. There are only four people in our family and I can never do it. – Nan
Dear GOD, In school they told us what You do. Who does it when You are on vacation? – Jane
Dear GOD, Are you really invisible or is that just a trick? – Lucy
Good questions, aren’t they? However, as we get older, the questions change…
God, why is the world filled up with so much pain and suffering?
My own life is a mess. I have ruined everything. Is there hope for me? What do You think about me?
God, I’m hurting. I’m in trouble… do You care?
Do You like me? Love me? Or are You out to “get” me for what I’ve done?
God, are You there? Are You listening?
God, where are You? Who are You ?
You have answers to these questions framed in your mind. They might be tentative or firm, but taken together, your responses draw a mental image of God. Who you think God is–even if you deny His existence–radically affects you. Our inner portraits of God shape our lives, guide our choices, and determine our destiny. We need to get it right.
In the Old Testament, God prohibited the use of carved, “graven” images in worship (Exodus 20:2-6). Even when we are armed with the very best intentions and conceptions of who God is, our human attempts to “picture” God will always fall short. Commingled with our own ideas and opinions of what God should be, our projections of God become manageable deities… little gods who are less than real and far more amenable to our choices and desires (Romans 1:20-23). To make matters worse, God is a Spirit, invisible, and unseen. Who He IS cannot be captured with a graphic or a sculpture.
More is needed. Much more. Here comes the Christmas Revolution…
In Colossians 1:15, the apostle Paul declares that the baby born in Bethlehem is “the image of the invisible God.” God does not leave us to our imagination. He wants you to know Him and who He is. Who is God? What is He like? What does He think? What does He want me to know about Him? What does He want me to know about me? Jesus is the answer.
Coming into our realm of time and space, infinite existence and consciousness was captured in human form. Theologians will never adequately explain the incarnation, having argued about it for centuries. But the truth is simple: when God wanted you to know Him, He didn’t send a snapshot (how do you take a picture of an invisible subject?). He sent a perfect and complete representation of Himself. Jesus, as the image of God, does not live in your mind, but He exists apart from your thoughts, and He lives… and He speaks… and He acts.
Jesus is not a picture on a canvas, but a perfect reflection of the Person of God. Babies can entertain themselves for hours in front of a mirror, marveling at the movements of the image which perfectly match their own. When you look at Jesus, you are not seeing a static, lifeless caricature of God, but every movement and expression of God Himself–as if you were watching Him in a mirror.
So it behooves you and me to let God reveal Himself to us His way and on His terms, doesn’t it?
What a revolutionary notion! It’s part of the Christmas Revolution.