[forthright] A Fading Image

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Fri, 6 Nov 2009 06:21:47 -0800 (PST)
Forthright Magazine 
http://www.forthright.net 
Straight to the Cross

A story of friends. A study of salvation. 'Discovering
the Kingdom of God,' by Tim Hall.
http://forthrightpress.com/#KingdomOfGod


COLUMN: HEAVENLY CONNECTIONS

A Fading Image
 by Tim Hall

He lives about twelve miles from my home and has now
made national news. Jim Stevens wasn't seeking fame,
but he couldn't help but report the strange scene he
has recently witnessed.

Each morning when he goes out to his truck, an image
that resembles popular depictions of Jesus can be seen
on the driver's side window. As the sun burns off the
morning dew, the image fades. A photo in our local
newspaper backs up Stevens' claim.

Seeing religious images is nothing new.

A building in Clearwater, Florida housing a financial
institution boasts a glass exterior. Someone spotted an
image in the glass that, they claimed, resembled the
mother of Jesus. Others saw the resemblance and word
spread. To date, millions have made the pilgrimage to
view the scene. (Others, however, see only
discoloration in the glass, not the virgin.)

Such sightings seem hard to reconcile with God's clear
instructions to Moses in Exodus 20:4. In forbidding
idolatry, God stated, 

<blockquote>"You shall not make for yourself a carved image - any 
likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that 
is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under 
the earth" (NKJV).</blockquote>

God has always discouraged focusing on external
material images.

He does, however, urge us to focus on spiritual images.
Paul wrote about this idea in Romans 8:29: "For whom he
foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the
image of his son, that he might be the firstborn among
many brethren."

Our challenge is to look more like Jesus (spiritually)
with each passing day. In another passage the apostle
again stressed the goal: "And as we have borne the
image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image
of the heavenly man" (1 Corinthians 15:49).

Many of us accepted that challenge and were baptized
into Christ. Initially the fire burned within us, and
we were glad to show our Lord’s image to others. 

As time went by, however, that image seemed to fade.
Though we continue to stress the external actions of
faith, we fall into the same error as Christians at
Ephesus long ago: "Nevertheless I have this against
you, that you have left your first love" (Revelation
2:4).

Onlookers may see a Christian who is diligent about
worship and service. But do they see the image of
Jesus? Or has that image faded?

Christians have long struggled with the balance between
love for Christ and external rituals. Paul's prayer in
Galatians 4:19 still applies: "My little children, for
whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in
you."

Don't let Jesus' image fade from your life!

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