Thursday: Images of Influence
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There are numerous images that Jesus uses to describe Himself and His church.

Image © Janet Hyun from GoodSalt.com

Image © Janet Hyun from GoodSalt.com

One is “light.” He is “the light of the world”(John 8:12). He is also the “true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world” (John 1:9, NKJV). He encourages us to “walk while you have the light” and “believe in the light” (John 12:35-36, NKJV).

Compare Matthew 5:13-15 with Philippians 2:14-16. What is our Lord’s goal for His people in this world? What does that mean in practical terms? How can we be what we are called to be?

The goal of all revival and reformation is to allow the light of Christ’s love, grace, and truth to shine through our lives. Light shines in contrast to darkness. Jesus has called His people to live a lifestyle distinctly different from that which is lived in the world in order to demonstrate the superiority of His way of life. He calls us to be compassionate, caring, and concerned in a world of selfishness, greed, and egotism . He calls us to uphold high standards in entertainment in a society intoxicated with pleasure (Col. 3:1-2). He calls us to healthful living at a time when millions are dying too young from self-inflicted degenerative diseases (John 10:10). In the midst of an immodest, sex-centered, thrill-jaded generation, Jesus calls us to something different. He calls us to modesty, propriety, and moral purity (1 Pet. 3:3-4).

The Old Testament prophet Isaiah gave a clarion call to Israel for reformation about seven hundred years before Christ. His words speak with relevance to a church waiting for the return of our Lord. “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the LORD. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts’” (Isa. 55:8-9, NKJV). God’s ideal for His church and for us as individuals is higher than we can imagine. All of heaven longs to reveal His character of love through His people.

Look at the standards that mark your lifestyle. In what ways (if any) do they reveal that you are a follower of Jesus and that your life is set on something other than this fading world?

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Thursday: Images of Influence — 10 Comments

  1. Today's lesson pointed out the word 'LIGHT' and it means a lot to me, personally. At times I compromise with darkness and never shine out to those around me. I usually hide the light practically in different situations in my life. Having read today's lesson, I unveiled many areas in which I have been hiding my light. Dear LORD, please help me as of this lesson so I will continue to shine for YOU wherever I may be. Amen.

    Like(37)
  2. I just realized that Jesus has set very high standards that I myself need to live up to. I guess we as Christians are called to be perfect-like in every aspects of our lives be it education, discipline, morality; I will try to make the change from now on.
    This lesson was meant for me.

    Like(14)
    • Well said. I'm concerned when Christians instead of willingly present themselves as living sacrifices daily, they become contented by saying how hard it is to be committed. Jesus not only set the standards, He gave us the tools to achieve and the promise that if we follow His lead we will be victorious.

      Like(3)
  3. New thoughts
    I think the reason for the councle is man cannot direct his own step. hence "buy of me gold tried in the fire," " Let this mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus" and "exchange your thoughts for God thoughts" .
    As a people we believe only what we want to believe, though according to scripture we have the most deadly mind problem of the seven churches , and even as it is pointed out to us we let it pass as if God is not speaking to us, or the councles don't apply to us. while not knowing that to have the mind, thoughts and Image of God , we must embed in our lives the whole agenda and credenda of the entire gospel of the kingdom.
    "Yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price." Though the water is free, the wine and the milk are sold, but there is no set price on it, nor is the exchange made with money. Something must be given in trade to make the transaction. What must it be? The answer is found in the seventh verse, as follows: "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: And let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon."
    We must forsake our ways and our thoughts, and in exchange, take God's thoughts and follow His ways. Isa. 55:8: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord." Not until after this transaction is made can one please, serve, or understand God, nor can he enter heaven. When this transaction is made, the thoughts, ways, desires, actions, and the whole human being is changed. How do we get God's thoughts, mind and image? Only in one way may they be attained. God's thoughts and ways are found in His Word (the Bible). The man who will follow the complete instructions by the Spirit of God is in a heavenly atmosphere, and walks with God as Enoch of old.
    It is impossible for human wisdom to improve on God's work. Just so, it is impossible for us to neglect one of God's words and yet maintain spiritual life, God's Word must be kept in the human heart, pure and adulterated, if we must live by it.
    The world is filled with so-called apostles and sects of every kind, It is time for God's people to fall on their knees before their Creator, and study the Scriptures for themselves, that they may know what is truth. Why should one accept the decision of another? By so doing we are robbed of an experience of our own. If so, may we not ask the question, What is the future outlook of the world? No one is saved because he may admit the evidence of the truth, or because he may belong to the right church, or creed. It is only by an experience of his own, based upon evidences of truth, received into the heart, that can renew the mind, and regenerate the soul, so that he can walk in newness of life. It is utterly impossible to enter into the kingdom of Christ without a personal touch of divine glory. Jesus said: "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3:3.) The following Scriptures bear the same evidence. "For he is not a Jew which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God." (Rom. 2:28, 29.)
    "In turning from God's word to feed on the writings of uninspired men, the mind becomes dwarfed and cheapened.... The understanding adapts itself to the comprehension of the things with which it is familiar, and in this devotion to finite things it is weakened, its power is contracted, and after a time it becomes unable to expand. let us aim for thoughts,mind and image of God.

    Like(6)
    • Lennox how can you discern they are speak according to the scriptures if you don't least start reading them? I have sat down with a book that from title and contents and introduction looks enlightening only to get into the 1st chapter I find I need to avoid that author. Yes reference your Bible.
      ..Read your Bible in multiple versions, read other religious things, giving the mind extra exercise by compairing the authinticity to the Bible, watching religious tv, and dvd, going to religious music festivals, put sermons in your ipod, putting the whole Bible in your mp4 player, you can get a mp4 player with 8giga bytes diectly from Hong Kong for $15 dollars. Ask the Holy Spirit to bring you other creative things to keep your mind eternal.

      Like(1)
  4. This helps us know that our act or deeds are clearly seen by everyone, therefore we can preach by our deeds even better than using any other medium.

    Like(5)
  5. God is Love and Grace and He wraps these gifts around us. I am so thankful for that Love and Grace that works in my life every day. I pray that my focus will remain on Jesus so that He will be my central theme and object. His goodness and care can melt my heart and help me desire to make good choices. I will want His will and way, and I will become more like Him the more I look to Him each day. Turning on the light makes darkness automatically leave, and His presence will make the darkness and dark habits and deeds leave my heart and life.

    Like(3)
  6. [Moderator note: please use first and last names when commenting on this site. Thanks!]

    We are living in the toe nails of the Statue, the Devil has planned and schemed every way to decieve and bring down the striving"christian". We need to return to the old time christians who were different and stood out " a royal people a holy nation that ye are called out of her". May the lesson study and personal prayers help us all to strive to that point by being more mindful of what we allow to enter into our minds, sight and hearing so that we can become perfect just like Christ was and follow the examples and characters of prophets who did not see death.

    Like(8)
  7. Some people think that they don't need to shed the light of Jesus for all to see his love. And they think that their lifestyle doesn't matter. So they end up being envious and mean! They hide their light under a bush and let Satan take control over their lives! So we need to ask God for help so that we don't end up like them. And let's shed some light for them! And may God touch your heart. Thank you! :)

    Like(5)
  8. This lesson appealed to me directly.it reminded me about the need to be honest to yourself in all matters of faith. The light cannot be hidden, the truth is that its either there is light or no.

    Like(0)

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