Understand, therefore, that the LORD your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands. But he does not hesitate to punish and destroy those who reject him. Therefore, you must obey all these commands, decrees, and regulations I am giving you today. Deuteronomy 7:9-11 (NLT)
Re-image yourself? Just what am I talking about? If you are reading this devotional, then you are definitely a person in need of re-imaging yourself. So let’s look at this word. Looking in a thesaurus, the following definition comes forth for the word ‘image:’ “a personal facade one presents to the world.” For the purposes of this devotional, it is a perfect definition for what I wish to explore. In like manner, the prefix ‘re’ is defined as “back” or “again.” Put together, the definition for the whole phrase becomes that our personal image (facade) that we project into our interpersonal relationships needs to be reset, moved back to a former self or to a former wholesome image (a real or perhaps more ideal image).
Where am I going with this? How we present ourselves (interact) in interpersonal relationships, especially with our spouse, leads to the fracturing of those relationships, especially our marriage relationships. Arguments, distrust, lying, violence, abandonment, etc. are just a few examples of the images I am talking about. When such or similar things happen in our marriages, the relationship, the closeness, the trust, the intimacy with our spouse suffers. Most of us by this time understand that we cannot change our spouse; we can only change ourselves. This requires us to pursue a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior because He (Jesus and the Holy Spirit) can guide us along the correct path toward reconciliation. For some, this means a renewing of our prior relationship. For others, this is a new and wonderful experience of accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Pause a moment and study these two versions of part of the fifth chapter of 2 Corinthians.
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17-18a (NLT)
Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you. 2 Corinthians 5:17-20 (MSG)
So what is the message I wish to pass on to each of you? It is the message of hope, of ‘reconciliation.’ Whether you have your salvation now or are a ‘new creation’ in Christ, each of us needs to re-image ourselves in Christ’s eyes and present ourselves in His image. When we remake ourselves in Christ’s image, our spouse sees us in a new light, a different and more beautiful image. The issues that existed when our marriage relationship fell apart have melted away as these are not images we see in Jesus Christ and those faulty images don’t need to be part of our new image for we are a new creation in Christ.
From the first scripture, we see that our God is faithful to us and keeps His covenant to us for a thousand generations, lavishing His unfailing love upon us because we love Him and keep His commandments. Such is not the case when we turn away from Him. God calls each of us to obedience such as honoring our covenant marriage vows. That means that as we seek reconciliation with our spouse, we must re-image ourselves in Christ’s image.
In the passage from 2 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul tells us that when we accept Christ into our lives (or recommit to Christ), we become a new person. In otherwise, we re-image ourselves to become more Christ-like. I like how The Message speaks of our re-imaging “…that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins.” Notice that God has “called us to settle our relationships with each other.” That is our spouse or loved ones. Then God gives us a “fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins.” What an awesome charge from Christ and what an awesome promise!
So fellow standers (old or new), we each need to re-image ourselves in the image of Jesus Christ. Then our spouse will view us in a much more favorable light and the reconciliation of our marriage relationship can begin to heal.
This is the message of Christmas… reconciliation with our God and His Son, Jesus Christ. Salvation comes only through Jesus Christ. Embrace the Good News of Jesus Christ this Christmas. Re-image yourself!
Standing firm until parted by death,
Ben in Texas