Our Top 5 Posts of February
Sat Mar 08, 2014
Resurgence Roundup, 3/7/14
Fri Mar 07, 2014
How to Replant a Church, Part 5: Rally Your Troops
Thu Mar 06, 2014
by Bubba Jennings
The 4 Pillars of Pastoral Work
Thu Mar 06, 2014
by Dave Bruskas
10 Ideas For Keeping Lent
Wed Mar 05, 2014
by Winfield Bevins
Why Your Self-Image Won't Make You Happy
We are all concerned about our images.
Hipsters work hard to look like they don’t care about image. Professionals work equally hard to look like they do care about image. We all project our values through the way we present ourselves. In writing this post, I am tempted to make writing decisions that reflect an intellectual image, instead of writing in a way that will best serve you.
The Temptation and the Lie
We all face the temptation to project false images of ourselves because we find the real image inadequate. This is easily done with social media. Our online image is often different from our offline image. With our Facebook status, we can project how we want others to see us, not who we truly are. Blog posts can be shrouded in airs of intellectualism, edginess, or humility. If we are honest, our real image is nowhere near as attractive as we want it to be.
We want to be more beautiful, more successful, more creative, more virtuous, more popular, and more intelligent than we actually are. We all have an image problem. The problem, however, is not that we lack beauty, success, creativity, virtue, popularity, or intelligence. The problem is that we believe the lie that says that obtaining those images will actually make us happy. Believing the lie, we fight rigorously to obtain (or retain) our images of choice...
The problem is that we believe the lie that says that obtaining those images will actually make us happy.
We fight with whatever it takes—money, time, sacrifice, overworking, and the occasional white lie. In doing so, we believe a lie. We express faith in what is false. We rely on the unreliable. Only after we realize our tendency to build our identity on things that are untrue and unreliable can we begin to sink our identity into what is truly reliable. If none of the images above truly satisfy, what kind of image should we be striving for?
The Image of God
Christianity is about image. It affirms that we were created in God’s image (Gen. 1:26–28), disfigured in our fall with Adam (Rom. 5:12–21), and are in desperate need of renewal. This image constitutes our essential dignity as human beings. It is an imprint of the Creator’s divine nature, which includes our ability to rule and relate.
Only by looking to Jesus can our disfigured image be restored and our contemptuous disregard forgiven.
Apart from the redeeming work of God to restore our image, we rule and relate in very distorted ways. We rule over instead of for one another, and we relate out of a distorted sense of what will truly make us happy. As a result, we treat God and others with contempt and disregard. The good news is that God wants to restore our image in Christ (2 Cor. 3:18; Col. 3:10). He promises a restored image in Jesus, who is the image of the invisible God (Col. 1:15). He holds up the image of Jesus as most glorious, and through the gospel, opens our eyes to his never-ending beauty (2 Cor. 4:6).
Only by looking to Jesus can our disfigured image be restored and our contemptuous disregard forgiven. When we look away from ourselves and into the face of Christ, we behold “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6). This gospel knowledge corrects our vision again and again so that we not only behold but also become the image of the glory of God in Christ.
This post is excerpted from Jonathan Dodson's new Re:lit book, Gospel-Centered Discipleship. For the rest of the conversation about the definition of discipleship, what it is and it applies to the gospel, pick up your copy today.