Made in the image of God
Now comes the wonderful part. We are made in Jesus’ image. Part of that is experienced as we grow up in the Lord and begin to be fruitful. The fruit of the Holy Spirit as found in Galatians 5:22 is developed out of our lives through the life flowing through the vine as talked about in John 15.
The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, long suffering, kindness, gentleness, trustworthiness, and self control. [Galatians 5:22]
“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. [John 15:5 NLT]
This is the character of the Word manifested out of us, from our spirit into our soul, as we allow the Lord to work within us. That fruit is there from the time we are saved and filled with the Holy Spirit. But it takes quite while for it to become visible to outsiders in our lives.
It’s a process of growth
It doesn’t just happen. We need to participate in the process. We need to give God control and ask Him to do what’s necessary to enable us to be fruitful. It’s all about the put off/put on process talked about in Ephesians, Colossians, and throughout Paul’s writings. I can’t say I understand it completely, but at the very least we have to want it. We have to reject the old self—the way we were when we were saved and before the birth from above.
Put off the old self which is continuously corrupted by deceitful lusts, be renewed in your mind, and put on the new self created by God in righteousness and holiness [Ephesians 4:22–24]
The image is of changing clothing. But it is something you do—it is a task Paul tells you to do. God will not do it for you. It’s part of repentance, but it goes much further than that. This is a rejection of what you were before.
Romans 6:1–11 goes so far as telling us to acknowledge that the old self is dead—died with Jesus on the cross. But again, you (we) have to accept that as reality.
For the death that He died for all of us, He died to sin; but the life that resulted He lives to God. So consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Jesus our Messiah. [Romans 6:10–11]
This is a major part of the Gospel. We are literally and truly set free from the power of sin. We no longer have to sin. We are no longer under its power. We can now refuse to sin and the Holy Spirit will back it up. We have a freedom that was impossible before we were born from above.
We begin to see what made in His image means
What else is integral to the image of God? Creativity. This is the source of our uniqueness. There is no one like you—not even close. Obviously this goes far beyond fingerprints, retinal patterns, appearance, and personality. Each of us is a unique gathering of strengths, weaknesses, gifts, talents, limitations, abilities, and handicaps.
We all have our challenges. Added to all of this is the shaping God gives us with our family, community, and country. We don’t choose any of this until it’s too late. By then we are already made into the person God designed.
God had his challenges also. He could not understand the limitations of man until Jesus became one. An omniscient all-powerful being might know everything and be able to do anything, but He could not understand experientially what it was like to be limited by the flesh.
What wisdom He has! He gave it all up and came to us as a cooing, crying, burping baby—barely conscious. This is the amazing message of Christmas. God gave it all up and became one of us.
When we couple creativity with curiosity we begin to see the glory of His being. We are like him in this. So it is natural for us to want to know what He is like, what makes Him happy, what makes Him sad, angry, and so on.
Imagine how happy it makes God that we want to know Him on this level. The more we mature, the more we are driven to know the thoughts and intentions of His heart. The more we know God the more we want to know. The more we understand His character the more we rejoice in His presence—especially when He is speaking to us.
This is why He made us. This was His plan from the beginning. Are not we blessed?