In the Likeness of God

Read: 2 Corinthians 4:1-12

For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord. (v. 5)

When a child is born, someone inevitably will say, “He’s the spitting image of his dad.” In terms of physical appearance the boy is a lookalike. But as a child grows, someone might remark: “He’s a hard worker like his mom” or “She is gentle, just like her dad.”

The Bible says Christians are “to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Rom. 8:29). God wants us to look and act exactly like Jesus, who was exactly like his Father (Heb. 1:3). Being created in God’s image (Gen. 1:26), each of us also shares certain attributes with God. We can act rationally and love wisely. We create and invent stuff. We can have compassion, mercy, grace, fellowship, and friendship. When we marry or hug or show empathy or create community, we demonstrate who God is and what he is like. In today’s passage, Paul reminds us that we also have choices. Our moral compass prompts us to recoil from evil. Sin impairs and severely damages all this, but God’s Spirit conforms us to Christ’s image so we increasingly resemble Jesus in thought, word, and deed.

Spiritual formation means being shaped by God toward wholeness. It requires acknowledging that we often create God in our image, not the other way around. The opportunity for growth happens when our un-Christlike behavior shows up, and that’s when we realize we’re not as mature as we thought and hoped, and we can surrender to the Spirit’s way. —Karen Bables

As you pray, share your desire to be like Jesus.

About the Author

Karen Bables is the retired Spiritual Director of Christ Memorial Church in Holland, Michigan.

This entry is part 4 of 14 in the series Introduction to Spiritual Formation