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Reflecting the Image of Christ
by Toni Babcock
4/03/2013 / Womens Interest
Does reflecting the image of Jesus solve all the intrapersonal challenges we face as Christian women? Not necessarily. Projecting Christ-likeness is no guarantee we will become social magnets, or treated with respect in the world. But what I'd like to address is how to avoid needless and destructive behaviors that mar the image of Christ in our lives.
Most of us are concerned about the image we project from the outside as women, but often forget that what we project from the inside has a more profound effect than the outfit we are wearing, or our careful application of makeup. We assume people are going to already appreciate who we are on the inside. After all, God looks on the heart so people should too, right? When the fact of the matter is, people are not God. They only see what we outwardly project. We can't expect them to "get" who we are on the inside while we repeat the same self-sabotaging patterns we've developed over time. People frame opinions based on how we act and on what we appear to believe about ourselves. If we continually present ourselves in a weak or negative light, we will be discredited in the minds of many.
Consider the following checklist of do's and don'ts as you strive to reflect the image of Christ:
1. Become aware of words and actions that tear down your faith instead of build up your faith. Are you a daughter of King Jesus through faith? Then preserve the honor of Christ and His kingdom by respecting your inheritance and your birthright in Him. Others will take note and respect you too.
2. Practice discretion at all times. Ask the Lord to help you set a watch on your tongue. One pastor put it this way: "Don't be a truth terrorist." Not everyone needs to know everything about you. Be prayerful and maintain your personal boundaries. If self-revelation is a problem for you, try to figure out why you feel the need to be so "transparent." Is there a secret score you are trying to settle with someone, or an agenda you need to repent of? If so, deal with it in a godly way.
3. Do not neglect the Word of God. God's word is "a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path," (Psalm 119:105 KJV).
4. Do not forget to praise God and be thankful.
5. If you find yourself always complaining about your impossible circumstances to the Lord, remember who you are complaining to. Martha thought it was too late for Jesus to solve her big problem and the Lord had to remind her what He had already told her. Then he raised her brother Lazarus from the dead! (Refer to John chapter eleven.)
6. If you are challenged with depression and anxiety issues, trust Jesus in the dark if you have to. "Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? Let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God," (Isaiah 50:10 KJV). It may take time, but God promises to make "darkness light before us," and "crooked things straight," (Isaiah 42:16 KJV). In fact, the light and the dark are both the same to God, so there is no reason not to trust Him (Psalm 139:11-12 KJV). God doesn't indulge us with excuses for not believing in Him, neither should we.
7. Always choose the fear and favor of God over the fear and favor of man. The Bible reminds us "Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised," (Proverbs 31:30 KJV)
8. Recognize your purpose and position in Christ. The more you apprehend who you are in Christ, the more your confidence in Christ will grow. "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit," (Romans 8:1 KJV).
9. Learn to give and receive God's love freely. This may take time if you have been deeply wounded in the past, but don't give up. Improve your odds of success by keeping your heart clean through the Word, and covering your wounds with love. It will keep any contagion from spreading around.
10. Avoid the pitfalls of emotionalism. This does not mean we should never be led to feel, but we should never be led solely by our feelings. People who are ruled by emotions instead of the truth entangle themselves into all sorts of confusion and trouble.
Destructive patterns form over a lifetime, but they are not insurmountable. No one can say they are damaged beyond repair or spiritual usefulness once they believe the gospel of Christ. We were formed to reflect the image of Christ and to live in His service. God has something important for us to do in his kingdom, and he wants us to figure out what it is and allow Jesus to shine.
Toni Babcock is author of The Stone Writer, Christian Fiction for Young Readers and Teens.
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