Ephesians 4:13 – “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:”
DO YOU LOOK LIKE DADDY?
Ask almost any Christian what Christianity is, and many will not be sure exactly what to say. You might hear, “It’s when you follow all the Bible rules until the Rapture or until your death.” “It’s believing in Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection so that you can get to go to heaven.” “It’s when you go to church every Sunday.” “It’s when you always feel bad about and repent of your sin.” “It’s when you are nice to everybody like Jesus would have been if He was still physically on the earth.” All of those are a part of living like a Christian to an extent, but lately I’ve found a new way to look at Christianity. After leaving a phenomenal sermon after visiting a church, I learned that being a Christian is a process to make us look like Abba! We’re supposed to look like Abba! (Abba is Aramaic for Daddy. Aramaic is the language the Jesus sometimes used in the bible.)
Think of it this way. The Holy Bible is like the mirror. It shows you what you look like and what you might want to fix.
I Corinthians 13:12 – “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”
I’m sure that before leaving the house for the day to go to work, to run errands, to go to school, or to wherever, everyone at least glanced at the mirror. You looked, and you might have winced at it depending on how hard you slept the night before. Your hair might be all over your head. It might be flat on one side, if you have hair like mine. You might have what we call “matter” in the crevices of your eyes. You might have dried up saliva on your cheek and chin. Your skin might be blotchy on the side of your face that you slept on. Your eyes might be puffy. Your teeth might be yellowish. You might even have line indentations on your face from sleeping too hard on your sleeve or a book. You might even have woken up to a new pimple on your forehead. If you have any type of self-respect and good hygiene, you will wash your face, brush your teeth, comb or brush your hair, and if you’re a woman, you might put on some make-up for the blotchy skin, the zit, and the puffy eyes. If it wasn’t for that mirror, you’d probably go off to work looking a hot mess – just an easy target for teasing or for staring. Thank God for that mirror!
The Holy Bible is much the same way. It’s like a Holy Mirror. It shows you what is UGLY in you. However, the outside is not nearly as important as the inside. It shows you that the lust in your heart is wrong and needs to be flossed out. It shows you that envy needs to be washed off. It shows you that the unforgiveness needs to be brushed away. But guess what though? The reflection in the Bible is not the same as the reflection of you in your bathroom mirror. This reflection is actually the image of Jesus and God that you’re trying to get right!
Genesis 1:27 – “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”
In the beginning, Adam was made in the likeness and image of God. He looked like Daddy. He looked like Abba. That was what he was made to look like all along. He didn’t have the Bible back then, but as long as he obeyed the word of God, he’d be looking like God. However, he let an outsider tell him and his wife Eve that they needed some “plastic surgery” – so to speak. He told Eve that they needed a tummy tuck. So Eve, forgetting who she was because she discarded the word of God, went under the knife. And because of this, she no longer looked like Daddy! She produced children whose children produced children whose children produced children. There was the occasional child that was willing to look at God to see how his face should look like, but many wanted and continued to get “plastic surgery”. They got rhinoplasty of revenge. Liposuction of lust. Botox injection of backbiting. Tummy tuck of tattling. Porcelain veneers of prejudice. Breast augmentation of bribery. Througout the centuries, these people who were supposed to look like God went under the knife because of the suggestions and wiles of the devil and his servants. They did not look like God anymore.
God did some things to remind us of what we are supposed to look like. God came down in the form of His Son Jesus Christ, and God collected the image of what He looked like in the scriptures and stories of the Bible because He knew we’d forgotten in the past and that we’d forget today. When we saw Jesus, we had a standard. We knew what “hairstyle” we should now wear. We knew what “lipstick” to wear. The Bible shows us that Jesus didn’t get revenge on people. Jesus didn’t withhold forgiveness from people. Jesus didn’t backbite, steal, lie, party, get drunk, get high, fornicate, manipulate people, embezzle from the church, and molest children! He did what His Daddy did. He looked like His Daddy. And both of them want us to look like Daddy too. So sometimes we have to go to the surgery table to undo our “plastic surgeries”. We have to go to the sculpting table to get some “reconstructive surgery.”
Isaiah 51:1 – “Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the LORD: Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn…”
Think of men who make sculptures out of ice, marble, wood – whichever you prefer. I like to think of marble. Maybe some of you have seen the statue of David in Florence in the Gallery of the Accademia. People travel from all over the world just to see this marble carving of a man. It is huge and breathtaking, and you notice it as soon as you walk through the doors. The block of marble was rejected by other sculptors because of the many veins that ran through the marble, and that meant that the stone could fracture easily making the work of the sculpture almost impossible. Compare us to that statue of David. At first, that statue was just a big, gigantic rectangle of a block that was shipped to the sculptor’s table. That marble block didn’t know what it would be; it just knew that it had to sit there and wait patiently. It would take a very long time to get all of that excess stuff off of the David that was waiting on the inside. But it was coming! Even when everyone else rejected it, Michelangelo knew he could work wonders with this stone!
So hypothetically speaking, you’re that block of marble. You are sitting on this table surface with the master and his sculpting tools surrounding you. You know that this is going to hurt real bad because you have a lot of extra marble on you! The less you have on you, the less it’ll hurt. Babies and toddlers don’t have much work that needs to be done on them because they haven’t sinned yet. The longer you live in sin, the longer the process will take. However, The Sculptor knows what’s under there. He knows your beautiful potential; YOU just have to be patient. You might want to leave half-way through the process, but that’ll result in you being a monster. You have to wait. And it hurts as you feel these tools bashing into you. You see pieces of the life you’ve always known dropping to the ground all around you. But because you trust The Sculptor, you wait on that table. You’ve seen his work done on others, and they are in museums all over the place. Spectators are marvelling at the other marble blocks he’s worked on.
II Corinthians 3:18 – “But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”
Imagine The Sculptor thinking, “I know just what I’ll do with this one! I can see it now. She’ll be a beauty! She’ll be set on display before thousands. But I’ll get the glory out of this because I made her. She has all this extra on her though. This may take awhile. She’s got a lot of lust on the left. That’s okay, I’ll just get my hammer and chip that off. There! Oh, what’s this over here? I see some lying on the bottom corner. No biggie. I’ll just break that off. Wow! Every day, she looks more and more like me! She’ll be a MASTERPIECE! When I get done chipping away at all this filth, people all over will be sending in marble blocks to me to get sculpted. They won’t even recognize her when I get through. Yea, it’ll take awhile, but it’ll be worth it because I believe in her. I want these things to look like I made them. I want them to be made in my likeness, in my image When people see them, I want people to be like, ‘I know so-and-so made this! This is so characteristic of his work. So thorough and beautiful. And they’re all priceless!’ Let’s see…I see some violence over here. That sure doesn’t look like me! Pass me that pick over there, I’ve got to get this off quick!”
Now the hard part about us humans is that we can get up and move as we please. Marble can’t go anywhere, but we can; and God doesn’t sedate humans and then do the work on them. We have to choose to sit on the table and get done. God is trying to make you look like Jesus and Him. He works on you every day. When it hurts (like when you don’t want to let go of a particular sin), you might be tempted to leave the workshop. But when you come back, you can bet He’s going to work on that sin. You might have a particular sin you want to keep doing. You might want to shack up with your boyfriend before marriage. Well, when you come to Jesus with a commitment, God is GOING to get on that with His hammer. But you can’t be offended and run off. You can’t say, “I’m working on this one, God, by myself. I’ll give up the weed today, but my boyfriend is something I’ll have to get weaned off of.” Nope. God is going to get His hammer and knock that block off! He wants you looking like Him! Christianity is about being conformed and transformed more and more to be like our heavenly Father.
Now imagine if Michelangelo had let David keep a big monstrous nose because the statue knew that “rhinoplasty” would hurt. What if the statue David said, “Okay, Mr. Sculptor Man, you asking for a little too much here. I’ve sat on this table for months and years. Surely you can let me keep this big, ugly nose! I’ve given you the idolatry, the hatred, the covetousness, AND the gossiping!” If the sculptor had said, “Okay,” THE WHOLE STATUE WOULD HAVE BEEN RUINED! The statue had to be totally finished. If you die before your time, you might not get finished in this lifetime, but when you wake up in heaven, you’ll get your new, glorified body. But as far as your time on earth is concerned, you must get finished or you’ll be the type of Christian that people call fake. Look at how ugly this unfinished statue is!
THE TOUGHEST OF RECONSTRUCTIVE SURGERIES
Zechariah 13:9 – “And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.”
I know that when I came to Christ over three years ago, there was one wrong I had a hard time letting go of. I let go of alcohol, weed, cursing, partying (to an extent), and many other things, but this one sin I held on to. I felt that I was “good enough.” But “good enough” don’t look like God and Jesus. I was just a monster that was on the verge of being made a beautiful masterpiece. I was going to settle for being good enough, but every time I looked in the Holy Mirror, I would see this huge “zit” on my forehead! The Mirror showed me that I was almost finished. My hair looked good, my teeth were clean, my outfit was cute, but I had this one sin I could not let go of. I knew that if I let go of it, I would risk a lot of rejection. And when I let go of it, I did get a lot of people mad at me and lost some “friends”. But I don’t regret it because I’m a masterpiece now! He refined me. I was a precious metal in his eyes, but he had to get off the dross of the silver to let me shine to bring Him the glory!
Malachi 3:3 – “And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.”
Now I’m not saying that I’m perfect or complete because it takes almost a whole lifetime to get complete because you might pick up more sins along the way (and you might “return to your vomit” on some old, discarded sins). But as far as the sins I knew of at the time were concerned, I had let them all go. And it was such a huge relief! It’s a great feeling when you go to church and know the pastor ain’t “talking about you.” It’s a great feeling when you can go to church and don’t feel like a hypocrite when you stand up and clap in agreeance with the pastor. It’s a great feeling when you don’t have to avoid certain passages of the Bible because it has an ugly mirror reflection. It’s a great feeling when you can give your offering and not have to worry about it “counting” because you know you have forgiven your trespassers. It’s a great feeling when you can tell a friend about living right because you know they can’t throw that one sin in your face.
Isaiah 48:10 – “Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.”
I’m sure you know people who have a “precious sin” they can’t let go of. Some of the hardest sins to let go of have something to do with sexuality. Some of these people will avoid church, avoid bible passages, and avoid people who will reflect this unholy image of them. They will even get mad at people and might even throw something at the mirror to break the reflection so that they won’t have to see it. But the thing about that is that you still look like that, you just choose not to see it. If I don’t look in the mirror today, I still know my hair is sticking up on my head. I still know my teeth need brushing. I’ll admit it hurts, but you have to be real.
There are people who want to get divorced for silly reasons — some call them “irreconcilable differences”. It’s one thing if you know your husband is a homosexual, has molested your child or has continually cheated on you; but “she gained weight” is not at all what I would consider irreconcilable. These people will avoid like the plague such bible verses that say they will be adulterers and adulteresses if they get remarried. I’m not judging anyone, I’m just holding up the mirror to your face, and those who don’t like it will accuse Christians of being judgmental and condemning. No, sweetheart, I’m just handing your my compact mirror because you got something on your face! I used to get a little upset when pastors in church would say things about Christians getting divorced and remarried because both my parents did, but then I realized that if I was getting mad at them, I was getting mad at God for handing them that reflection to show to me. It wasn’t like they drummed up some personal scriptures! “Turn to the Gospel according to Reverend Billy Sampson chapter 13 verse 6. Let’s read! It says, ‘Tell those Christians that they wrong for getting divorced cuz Rev. Sampson said so.'” No! Those pastors get those divorced and remarried verses from the Holy Bible, some of which were JESUS’ words.” Not Paul or Moses or Peter, but Jesus Himself said it. So if I got mad at the pastor for saying it, I was actually mad at Jesus for raising the mirror up in front of people and showing them ugly things that might make them sad. It’s awkward when you’re sitting beside someone who has divorced and remarried, and the pastor mentions it, but Christianity is not about making you feel good about yourself or your sins; it’s about making you like my Jesus! Besides, God will forgive you of any disobedience that you confess to Him.
Matthew 5:32 – “But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.”
Before I got to that point of discarding ugly aspects of my spirit, there was a simple question I had to ask myself. I had to ask myself, “Self, what is that one sin are you willing to go to hell for?” OUCH! One pastor has a sermon titled, “What In Hell Do You Want?” Try answering that question OUT LOUD to yourself. When you do that, you can look in that mirror and pop that symbolic zit with the quickness because disobedience is sin. And delayed obedience IS disobedience. I tried to bargain with God and say, “Okay, I’ll let this sin go when I graduate. It’ll be easier on me that way.” Nope. He wanted that sin chopped off then and there! I won’t lie; I did delay it because I had to psych myself up for what people would say, but eventually I did what I had to do, and I actually wish I had done it sooner. Because I ain’t going to hell for nobody. Let it be known on the record that I said that I ain’t going to hell for nobody! I don’t care if I have 6,000,000,000 people mad at me, I’m going with Jesus when it’s all said and done.
So here’s a few questions for you. If you have a hard time giving a direct, honest answer, you might have a huge “zit” on your forehead you need to get rid of.
1. What is that one sin you would hold on to if God told you it had to go?
2. What aspects of your personality and character would others say make you NOT look like Jesus to them?
3. Are you willing to wait on the sculptor’s table as long as it takes to look like a masterpiece?
4. What would you do if 90% of your friends and family members and your significant said that they would leave you for letting go of something that God told you didn’t look like Him?
5. Are willing to be a Christian masterpiece, or will you settle for being a Christian monstrosity?