In the beginning of creation, the Lord spoke out saying, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth” (Genesis 1:26.) Adam and Eve were made to walk with the Lord in the garden. They were an object of the Father and Son’s creation; for their delight. They were made perfect and had no sin; they knew no sin, yet. The Lord creating us in his image, I believe, was setting apart a foundational example of what we are to reach for in this life. We have been given this divine unchanged direction because we need to have His image to be saved. Learning, growing, and maturing in the ways of Jesus Christ cause us to partake of the heavenly personage.
What do the scriptures declare? In 1 Corinthians 15:49, “And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” Our Father is preparing us for an attitude and way of life that is pleasing in His sight so we can live in His Kingdom. Also, 1 John 3:2, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” Paul tells us in Romans 8:29, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
I would like to pause for a moment to explain my belief on predestination. The Lord sets His children out on a course in life, or predestined for salvation. The ship leaves the safe harbor at the beginning of our life, with the set course. It then depends upon the storms of life: trials, temptations, decisions, commitments and endurance that affect any change in our course. We want to reach the goal called eternal life through Christ our Lord.
Our Lord has provided workers, servants, brothers and sisters to help guide and influence our lives. Ephesians 4:10-13, “He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things. And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers. For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.”
Once again we are given a measuring tool called the stature of Christ, this unmoving example of truth. Many of us were given loving parents that were wonderful examples and correcting guides that helped set our course in life and our way of thinking and feeling. However there are those that weren’t as fortunate. Our Father in Heaven has provided that loving example and pattern that can be missing to guide and fulfill our way of life.
Let us look at the personality of Jesus as he walked the earth.
He came to serve others. He washed the disciple’s feet, an example of loving service to one another. He healed people, because He didn’t want them suffering, and to show the Father’s loving power. He taught us to trust our Father to take care of our needs; consider the lilies of the field. He forgives one another, not condemning. For example, the woman who was caught and accused in sin was to be stoned, but she was forgiven by Christ. Jesus is always pointing to our Father in Heaven. He is a voice of warning against falling into the trap and bondage of sin. These are all good qualities, rising above the natural ways of mankind’s tendencies. I’m sure that our reader can find or think of many more qualities than what I have mentioned.
We are to follow His example. We are to respect that which is holy. Think of those that were cast out of the temple for selling sacrifices and changing money. It is also important to be aware of the needs of others. Use compassion like the Good Samaritan’s example; help those in need. We also need to watch our words. Show the positive in your heart; “for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” Matthew 12:34. What is truly in your heart?
Matthew 11:29, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” To whom are we truly yoked to in this life?
Jesus left His home of glory with the Father to serve mankind. Philippians 2:7, “But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.” Have we left the comforts and earthly treasures of this life to serve others?
Philippians 2:8, “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Are we willing to sacrifice a worldly life of pleasures to serve our Lord?
2 Corinthians 5:21, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
3 Nephi 5:92, “Old things are done away, and all things have become new; therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Perfection requires our enduring devotion to a virtuous lifestyle. This takes a willing, humbled person portraying the same qualities found in our Savior. Ultimately, we can only be perfected through accepting the sacrifice and intercession of Christ our Lord.
So the question arises, can the Lord work with us? Are we willing to be worked with?
Alma 3:36-39, “I say unto you, Can ye look up to God at that day with a pure heart and clean hands? I say unto you, Can you look up, having the image of God engraven upon your countenances? I say unto you, Can ye think of being saved when you have yielded yourselves to become subjects to the devil? I say unto you, Ye will know at that day, that ye cannot be saved: for there can no man be saved except his garments are washed white.”
James 1:23-24, “For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass. For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.”
Many of us look into the mirror to imagine what we want others to see. Are we taking a truthful look at ourselves? We all have a log in the road on our path that we must remove. This log is one that can reappear along the way if we are not careful, diligent or watchful. Man’s tendency is to be worldly; to mix in with the world’s fanfare. We need the Lord’s spirit to reveal His direction and personality. 1st Corinthians 2: 9-14; “But as it is written, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.”
For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
Mosiah 1:119-120, “For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been, from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever. But if he yieldeth to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man, and becometh a saint, through the atonement of Christ, the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.”
Many cannot admit their wrongs, which breeds pridefulness. We should be expressing humility in order to please our Lord. We are not following His commandments when our goal is to hold onto our resources and possessions; not sharing with others; especially the one that gave it to us, the Lord. This world teaches us to be offended at everything and building that wall of anger; not forgiving, casting others off with condemnation. The social media tells many they aren’t at fault, but to blame everyone else. Lashing out and speaking disrespectfully of other people is all too common, especially of our dignitaries. This just fuels the plan and laughter of the evil one, and the misery of others. We live in a world with a different view that is very prideful, often looking to please ourselves through many ways. Today our technology is set up for us to communicate faceless. In many ways we are making our words and comments bolder and harsher than we do when we are actually speaking face to face. Due to the worldwide virus pandemic, we all are now using technology to communicate more. We need to be careful as to what we say, and how we say it.
Hebrews 12:15, “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” Roots can grow deep and wide, making them harder to pull out.
Romans 9:21, “Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonor?”
Isaiah 64:8, “But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hands.”
Jeremiah 18:6, “O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.”
Can we submit our will and life to the one that holds the key to eternal life? How about true joy, peace, and blessing beyond measure? If we look back over our life, can we view the character of Jesus Christ walking in our ways? Are we trying to shape the future with our Godly goals? I’m always encouraged, challenged and lifted by the spirit, when I’m reminded of the benefits of what our Father promises His children.
Mosiah 1:88-90, “And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; And if they hold out faithful to the end, they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never ending happiness.”
Alma 5:39-41, “And now I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive, and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times. Asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive. And see that ye have faith, hope, and charity, and then ye will always abound in good works.”
Ephesians 4:32, “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
Galatians 6:2, “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
All of these examples are easy to give; advice is cheap. The hard part is when we try to put them into practice. Christ like character and virtue are not to be repented of, but to be prized highly beyond price for they are the building blocks of a Godly life. They help bring into view the focus and Image of Christ into our person. When Jesus comes again, He will be looking for those that bear His image and have been prepared to meet Him.
May the Father bless you and keep you!