Leaving an Imprint, Part One and Two Gwen Smith
Leaving an Imprint, Part One Gwen Smith Today’s Truth So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27) Friend to Friend Let’s rewind humanity’s story way back to the beginning. “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.’ ... So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Gen. 1:26–27). My brain doesn’t know what to do with this. I don’t know how to process this mystery. His image displayed in my life. How can that be? How can there be such a compelling connection between God’s heart and my humanity? Especially when I know me. I know that on my best, most holy day, I don’t come close to being imago Dei, the image of God. Even so, the Bible says that I am made in God’s image (v. 27), and that Jesus is the “radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature” (Heb. 1:3 ). As followers of Jesus, you and I get to share in the glory of God and reflect His nature as well. The apostle Paul wrote it this way: And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18 ) When I think about what it means to leave God’s imprint on the world, I’m reminded of the signet ring my mother used to wear. When I was a little girl, I loved looking at my mom’s hands. Her fingers were elegant, long, and slender. On her left hand she wore a simple gold wedding band that was eight millimeters thick. No diamond, just the band. And on her right hand, she wore a gold signet ring she got when she was eighteen. I always wanted a wedding ring and a signet ring just like hers. The signet ring had a monogram of her surname: A for Adams, not E for Eisaman (her married name). The ring seemed to be a bridge of sorts that connected who she was to who she is. I loved that. Loved that my mom’s hands wore two symbols that rep- resented the spectrum of her identity. She grew up an Adams and will always be an Adams. She married an Eisaman and became an Eisaman. Her signet ring left me with an impression that echoed the importance of her identity. I did some research and learned about the following parallels between signet rings and what it means to be God’s imprint: • Signet rings were used for a purpose: to authenticate a letter or message. Christ followers are used to bring God glory as we authenticate the hope of Christ to the world. Jesus said, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples” (John 15:8). • Signet rings were used to leave an imprint, a distinct impression that validated that the message being delivered was genuine. Jesus kicked it up a few notches for His followers by telling us that our love for one another authenticates our faith. He was talking to His disciples when He said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34–35). Do you see? You and I are signets for the King of Kings. We are to bear evidence of the message of His hope—no matter what compromising assignment our bosses give us, no matter what carrot of temptation is dangled before us, no matter what argument that person tries to bait us into, no matter whatlions’ dens we might be thrown into. We’re called to “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander” (1 Pet. 3:15–16). To fulfill our purpose as image bearers, we need to be an imprint. Let’s Pray Lord Jesus, Thank You for making me in Your image, for always remembering me and for engraving my name on the palms of Your hands. Would You help me to be Your image bearer today? In Jesus’ Name, Amen. Now It’s Your Turn Read Daniel 6. Did you see it? How did the king seal the stone that was placed over the mouth of the den? (Hint: verse 17)
Leaving an Imprint, Part Two Gwen Smith Today’s Truth For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. (James 2:26) Friend to Friend In part one of this message we looked at our valuable purpose as image bearers of God to be an imprint of Christ to the world around us. We also examined the Biblical truth that validates this discussion. Today we will consider what is required of us to be an imprint, and we’ll discuss our call to “rep the house” as well by taking action. What does that mean? Read on. Ever since our kids were little, Brad and I have taught them that the Lord is the head of our home, and every Smith needs to rep the house well. The rules are simple: Love God. Love others. Use your manners. Use kind words. Wear clean underwear. Say please. Say thank you. Say you’re sorry. Be a helper. Get the door for people. Work hard. Go out of your way to make other people feel special. And our kids know that Brad and I are always around to give them a “Good job, kid!” We expect them to rep the house. We reward them when they do and hold them accountable when they don’t. The Bible tells us that all of humanity is made in the image of God. If we profess Christ, however, we are not only fashioned in His image, we are commissioned to be His representatives to the world. It says that the way we live makes a difference and should make an impact on His behalf. To leave an imprint of Christ, we can’t just believe in Jesus, we also need to behave like Jesus. Live like Jesus. Love like Jesus. Serve like Jesus. James challenged us this way… What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? … For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. (James 2:14-20, 26) I simply cannot be an imprint of Christ to the world if I don’t do things on His behalf to bless and serve others. You can’t either. I leave His imprint when I get beyond myself by caring for the needs of others. I leave His imprint when I forgive quickly instead of holding that grudge. I leave His imprint when I serve my family without grumbling and without expecting anything in return. As children of the holy, loving King of Kings, you and I need to recognize our value in the big picture of God’s kingdom—“the eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him” (2 Chron. 16:9). And we need to rep the house ... trusting that He will strengthen us to be the imprints that authenticate and validate the reality of His grace. Let’s Pray Dear Lord, Help me to not just believe in You - but to behave like You. Teach me to better reflect You, Lord. Show me practical ways to “rep the house” so that those around me might wonder about the hope I have in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. Now It’s Your Turn What is one practical way you can rep the house today? Pray that God will open your eyes to the opportunities He presents.