What is image? It is the motivation to make sure we appear as we want others to think about us. The exterior of who we are becomes more important than the interior of who we are in Christ. We are concerned, consumed and in some cases obsessed over how we look, what we wear, what we drive, what school we attend, and where we work and live.
However, maintaining an image can be and is exhausting because it is never quite satisfied. Jobs have to be a little more prestigious, cars a little more luxurious, homes a little more opulent and status a little more admirable. The curse of portraying an image is subtle, because it can be confused with godly ambition, which is good. The difference is the first is about striving for self, while the latter is about dying to self. Godly ambition does its best and trusts the Lord.
Image control suffers from a sense of superiority, prompted by pride. Jesus describes a religious leader afflicted by his condescending attitude and lofty self-image, “The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, robbers, evildoers, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get” (See Luke 18:11-12). Humility lifts up Jesus, not self.
If we are not halted by humility we become like Narcissus peering into a prideful pool, loving an image that is a figment of our imagination. Instead, as Spirit-filled followers of Jesus, we see ourselves as precious but peculiar people who are pilgrims just passing through, not encumbered by the weights of worldly expectations, but on our way to heaven. As we journey for Jesus we want our simple life to point others to our Savior.
So, who is in control of your image? Have you surrendered your self-image to Christ? Let go of the shallow sense of worth from the world and embrace your eternal value in the Lord. God has already defined you as holy and acceptable to Him in Christ Jesus, as you are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Our prayer: Father by your Spirit continually remind us that we have been created in your image according to your likeness. Let us find satisfaction and joy in becoming who you have created us and called us to be Amen.