Our Image of God

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If our heart’s desire is fixed on the things of the world, it becomes idolatrous and soul-corrupting. But if we draw our life from loving communion with the caring Being who formed us for Himself, our souls become noble as they grow in conformity to His character.

There is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things, and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him (1 Corinthians 8:6).

We do not exist for ourselves—we exist for the Father and through the Son. The world tells us that we derive our existence from it and that we should live for ourselves, but the Word teaches us that all we are and have comes from the Father who formed us for His pleasure and purposes.

Ultimate reality is not the cosmos or a mysterious force, but an infinite and loving Person. The implications of this, if we think about it, are astounding and pervasive. The infinite-personal Lord of all is an unbounded loving community of three timeless and perfect Persons. In the superabundance of His joy and life, He is at once solitude and society, the one and the many, supernal being as communion. The magnificent God who abounds in personal plenitude has no needs, yet He invites us to participate in the intense and interpenetrating life of the three eternally subsistent Selves.

Jesus prayed on our behalf “that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us... I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me” (John 17:21, 23). The impenetrable mystery of us being in the divine Us, and the divine Us being in us transcends our imagination, but if it is true, all else pales in comparison.

Devotional spirituality revels in the glorious attributes of God and aspires to lay hold of God’s aspiration for us. It prepares our souls for the “mystic sweet communion” of living entirely in God and in one another as the three Persons of God eternally live and rejoice in One another. It instills in us a passion for Christ’s indwelling life and inspires us to swim in the river of torrential love that flows from His throne of grace.

In 1677, Henry Scougal observed in his little book The Life of God in the Soul of Man that “The worth and excellency of a soul is to be measured by the object of its love.” Our souls become emaciated when their pleasure is affixed to position, possessions, and power, because these things are destined to corrupt and perish. But as we gradually (and often painfully) transfer our affections from the created and finite world to the uncreated and infinite Maker of the world, our souls become great and glorious. As we take the risk of seeking God’s pleasure above our own, we discover the ironic byproduct of a greater satisfaction and contentment than if we sought these things as ends in themselves. As we learn to fix our eyes on Jesus, not for His benefits but for Himself, we find that we have all things in Him.

Scripture teaches us that we steadily become conformed to what we most love and admire. Hosea declared that the people of Israel “became as detestable as that which they loved” (Hosea 9:10). But when we turn the focus of our love away from the idols of this world system to the beauty of Christ, we discover the liberty of the Spirit of the Lord. We become like our focus; in the process of beholding the glory of the Lord, we are being “transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18). We gradually come to resemble what we worship. If our heart’s desire is fixed on something in this world, it becomes idolatrous and soul-corrupting. But if we draw our life from loving communion with the caring, radiant, majestic, and unfathomable Being who formed us for Himself, our souls become noble as they grow in conformity to His character.

Taken from Ken Boa’s Handbook to Spiritual Growth

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