Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, all the earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female. (Genesis 1:26-27 HCSB)
When God created mankind, He created us in His image. He did this with the intent of His creation to be in His likeness (James 3:9b). His will for His people are to live in a manner that is praiseworthy and devoted in worship to Him. Man’s image was to be the glory of God, and a woman, created as man’s helpmate, was intended to be the glory of man (1 Corinthians 11:7), and both, in this image and in worship, are to honor the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 8:23). With this, man has a responsibility to live in a manner that is worthy of His creation. With your belief in Jesus Christ as Savior, He restores you to the place where God intended for you to be—as a person who is under grace and as a new creation in Him (John 1:13; 2 Corinthians 5:17). In the same way you were created in his image, it is His will for you to live in this manner as a new creation. Christ’s sacrifice for you should compel you to put off your old nature of sin and put on the new nature and character of Christ (Romans 6:6-7, 11-12). Your image in Jesus Christ is all about the change taking place in your spiritual character (Ephesians 4:24; 1 Peter 1:16).
A believer who is fully engaged in his or her relationship with Jesus Christ is going to be a dynamically effective witness for Jesus Christ. It is the perception of the believer’s interaction with others that provides the impact of the gospel of Jesus Christ; therefore, a believer’s image is what people see (and need to see—whether you are interacting with non-believers as a testimony or with believers as a person of support and encouragement). It is this image that is the complete makeup of a believer who wants to be more than just salt and light—a bright, seasoned witness for Jesus!
The believer’s image is extremely important in three different areas:
1.) It builds and develops the person’s relationship with God
2.) It builds and develops the person’s self-worth and self esteem
3.) It builds and develops confidence to interact with others in multiple scenarios and circumstances
I will use the word “IMAGE” as an acrostic word comprising what a believer in Jesus Christ needs to do with a consistent fervor to grow in Christ and be a dynamic testimony before others.
There are five elements that we will study that make up the word IMAGE in this endeavor. In order to develop and maintain your IMAGE before others:
I – Investigate the Word of God
The development of a believer must begin with the appropriate time and effort devoted to bible reading. Even as you are developing a routine for bible reading each day, the proper development of the image of the believer must have progression in this process—the progression must continue in the achievement of levels to where you are no longer just reading the bible, but you are investigating what scripture has to say to you.
Your success as an investigator includes:
- Reading the bible daily
- Reading at a predetermined time as part of a regular schedule
- Using external biblical resources to complement your study (for example, using a Greek and Hebrew reference, concordance and/or study bible with commentary)
Investigate (v.) – to observe or study by close examination and systematic inquiry (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
M – Meditate on the Word of God
(Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10)
Christian meditation is a form of prayer in which a structured attempt is made to become aware of and reflect upon the revelations of God. Christian meditation is the process of deliberately focusing on specific thoughts (such as a bible passage) and reflecting on their meaning in the context of the love of God. 
Meditation is reflection, consistent prayer and practice that promote greater understanding and wisdom in the application of God’s Word.
A – Act (Application of God’s Word)
The act portion of your IMAGE involves taking action upon what you have learned in your investigation and mediation of God’s Word. Taking action or applying God’s Word involves four key lifestyle elements of your faith in Jesus Christ:
- Repentance upon acknowledgment of sin to restore immediate fellowship with Jesus Christ (Matthew 3:8; Acts 3:19)
- Compliance with God’s will in your life (John 7:17)
- A desire to improve and please God (Colossians 3:15)
- Greater consistency in Christlike behaviors (Psalm 119:101-106; Romans 12:1-2)
We act upon God’s Word and His will because we are His specially chosen people, and we desire to maintain a special relationship with Him (Ephesians 2:10; Psalm 37:23-24, 73:23-24)
G – Grow
Growing in Jesus Christ is the natural progression of a healthy, vibrant relationship with Him (Ephesians 3:17-19, 4:11-15)
Growth is measured in the following:
- Continuing achievement of maturity in Christ
- Hearing and knowing when God is speaking to you
- Increased sensitivity to matters of the Holy Spirit
- Greater focus and determination
E – Endure
Bearing all things that occur in the faith with an understanding of the big picture–the love of Christ is exhibited for all to see and that Jesus Christ is glorified (Romans 5:1-5; 1 Corinthians 13:7; James 1:2-4).
Jesus wants you to not only persevere but to remain steadfast in your faith and retain boldness in your faith (in words and in your demeanor before others). It is your steadfastness that makes the boldest statements of Jesus Christ’s presence in your life.
Keep your attention on Jesus Christ as risen from the dead and descended from David. This is according to my gospel. I suffer for it to the point of being bound like a criminal, but God’s message is not bound. This is why I endure all things for the elect: so that they also may obtain salvation, which is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. This saying is trustworthy:
For if we have died with Him,
we will also live with Him;
if we endure, we will also reign with Him. (2 Timothy 2:8-12a HCSB)
1 Christian Meditation for Beginners by Thomas Zanzig, Marilyn Kielbasa 2000, ISBN 0-88489-361-8 page 7
2 An introduction to Christian spirituality by F. Antonisamy, 2000 ISBN 81-7109-425-5, pages 76-77
Copyright © Melvin Gaines