The cost of discipleship: Understanding God’s design for us.
Read Genesis 1:16-31
“Let us make man in Our image, according to Our Likeness.”
What does it mean to be a disciple of Christ? For what purpose did Christ save us? These questions go to the heart of what it means to be a Christian. While many approach Christianity as the way to discover self-fulfillment and personal affirmation, when we read the Scriptures, we find that God has a far greater purpose for our life than merely being our “emotional support deity.” If our reason for coming to church is simply to be emotionally uplifted and affirmed, we miss God’s true intent for us. While it is true that Christ loves and accepts us in our sin, it should never be inferred that this is his only and ultimate purpose. Our salvation from sin is merely the first step towards moving us towards his ultimate design. We find that purpose stated for us from the very beginning when God establishes his intention for us. God’s design for us is that we would reflect and be conformed to the image of God. Contrary to the view that we are merely the evolutionary product of lower life forms, in Scripture, we find that we were created independently and utterly distinct from all other creative beings from the outset. We were created by the hand of God to be intrinsically different from all of creation, for only in humanity did God imprint his image. In comparison, other aspects of creation were meant to reveal God’s glory and disclose his character in limited and fragmented ways (See Romans 1). Humanity was created to reflect God’s being in his totality. This elevates humanity to a position not given even to the most powerful angels. No other being in the entire universe was given this status. In an age where we become defined by race, social class, and a host of many other artificial constructs, we fail to recognize that our dignity and worth are not defined by the perspective of society but by our relationship with God. By creating us in his image, God made humanity the apex of his creative work.
This brings us to what it means to be a disciple of Christ. To understand what it means to be a disciple of Christ, comes to grips that our salvation is not just from sin but to a completely different life. God desires to radically change us to conform to his image. While sin inherently marred our ability to reflect God’s image, Christ came to free us from the blight of sin so that he might fully restore us to reflect the character and person of God in our life. In Romans 8:29, we discover this purpose, “For those who He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son.” God did not save us merely to have peace and joy in life. These are indeed a bi-product of our salvation. His purpose in our salvation is to radically shift our lives to become more and more like Christ, and we reflect him in our attitudes and actions. That is both our purpose for life and our destiny in our salvation. To understand the radical demands of Christ for his disciples, we must begin by understanding this divine purpose. To make it our goal to be conformed to and reflective of his image is reorienting our complete focus in life. This begins by asking God to enable you to reflect his image and then search the scriptures to discover who he is so that you might display him.