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Meeting with God in Ohio

This weekend I’m speaking to a group of women in Ohio where we’ve gathered to seek God about what it means to be a “True Woman.” We’re going to the Word to discover the answer to questions like: What is my identity as a woman and how am I to live that out?

When I say a TRUE woman, it might help if we define what we’re talking about:

True: “Conforming to REALITY” 

So when I say a TRUE Woman, I’m really talking about a woman who is living out what she was created for; she is conforming to the reality of her created identity. So, in order to know what that reality and identity is . . . I suggest we look at what the Creator had in mind when He put everything into motion:

[box]Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 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)[/box]

What word do you notice listed three times in these two verses?

Whenever God mentions something only once it is important, but when He repeats Himself, we really need to sit up and take notice because this is significant!

Three times, God stresses the word, “image.” 

Nothing else in creation is given this designation of being created in God’s IMAGE. You as a woman, me . . . we are created in His likeness, His image . . . we’re created to IMAGE GOD—to bear His reflection.

Your deepest and truest identity as a woman is to be God’s image bearer. 

Image: a physical likeness or representation of a person or thing, appearance of an object, as is produced by reflection . . . 

We’ve been created in God’s IMAGE, to reflect what He is like to others, to “look like” Him.

Have you ever been told, “You look just like your mother or father?” You may have physical traits that resemble one of them. Or perhaps you have a personality that reminds people of one of your parents. In a similar way, we are to remind people of God’s character. As an “image bearer” of God, people should be able to look at us and recognize our “identity” as belonging to Him.

If you are reflecting God’s image to others  . . . they should be able to look at you and identify God’s likeness in you. 

The problem is, we can’t adequately “reflect God’s image” to others because, although He created us in His image, sin has marred our ability to reflect a holy God.

Because of what happened in a certain garden, we are all born into a depraved condition. We can’t fix ourselves, we need help. We are all sinners, marred and unable to clearly reflect God’s image:

As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. (Romans 3:10–11)

We need our true identity to be restored, because we are all born spiritually dead, enslaved to sin from birth:

[box]But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned . . . (Romans 5:8–12)[/box]

Are you still spiritually dead?

Have you received new life from Christ?

Have you been set free from your spiritual prison of sin?

When God confronted Adam in his sin, He challenged him to admit his heart condition. When God asked Adam “Where are you?” He wasn’t asking for a geographic location, but was allowing Adam to confess his sin.

Have you confessed your sinful condition to God and come to Him for your marred condition to be restored?

True Freedom only occurs when we are restored to our true identity as image bearers of God: 

[box]But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 3:22–23)[/box]

Once we receive God’s gift of new life and are reconciled to God, we are able to reflect His character to others.

The New Testament describes how this happens:

[box]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 Cor. 3:18)[/box]

How are we transformed into His image?

By beholding God’s glory.

What does this look like in our daily lives?

As we see God’s glory through reading His Word. We see Him by studying Jesus’ reaction to needy people, complaining people, sinful people, and by watching Jesus in the gospels, we come to know and love Him more. As we love Him more, as we spend greater time with Him, asking Him for grace to be conformed to His image, little by little He begins changing us. It is an amazing work of God.

If you struggle with insecurity and identity confusion, I hope you’ll click here to check out this post.

If you find yourself reeling from feelings of rejection, I hope you’ll click here to check out this post.

If you desire to be conformed to Christ’s image, but are discouraged by the seduction of the same old sin patterns, I hope you’ll click here to check out this post.

I hope you’ll take a moment to pause and pray for me and the women who’ve gathered to seek God this weekend. We need to hear from Him and desire for Him to continue His transforming work that others will see our true identity: image bearers of God!

4 Comments

  • Laurel Hurst

    Last night our daughter’s choir sang a work by Eleanor Daley, setting this poem:

    HAD I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
    Enwrought with golden and silver light,
    The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
    Of night and light and the half light,
    I would spread the cloths under your feet:
    But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
    I have spread my dreams under your feet;
    Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

    W.B. Yeats (1865–1939)
    “He Wishes For the Cloths of Heaven”
    from the Collected Works of W.B. Yeats

    This piece reminded me of the power of soft warriors. My husband is a “faith funded missionary.” He is very effective in outreach, and has proven to be good soil since he has led dozens of people to the Lord and has discipled countless others. Yet, in the area of funding the ministry, our family has suffered all 17 years of his service. Treading lightly on his dreams, year after year, is incredibly difficult.

    On the way to the concert, I had made yet another snide remark about the insufficiency of his current paycheck. My behavior certainly broke the request expressed in this poem, and the Lord rebuked me in a lovely and meaningful way last night.

  • Vivian Etherington

    I have been praying for you and those women this weekend! One thing I prayed was that the Holy Spirit would anoint you and speak through you! May there be much fruit for the Kingdom from your time there!

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello Laurel ~

    Thank you, dear friend for sharing this beautiful poem with us and for your honest confession. I am asking the Father to bring you comfort and assurance tonight. May you be assured of His grace to forgive and His power to provide for your every need. Your husband sounds as though he has lived all out for the sake of reaching those in need with the gospel. I know it is difficult to live sacrificially, I pray that you will be encouraged by the knowledge of your true and eternal reward:

    “Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest. Already he who reaps is receiving wages and is gathering fruit for life eternal; so that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.” (John 4:35–36)

    Pausing to pray for you now ~

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Thank you, dear friend! It was a precious weekend filled with tangible evidences of God’s grace. I so appreciate your intercession ~