The Visible  Image of the Invisible God

The Visible  Image of the Invisible God
 

It's hard to trust someone if you don't know them. Many times we hear people say, "Just trust God." It sounds simple, but without knowing Him, it's difficult to trust. God wants us to know and trust Him and is committed to revealing Himself to us. 

Base scriptures: 
John 1:1-5 (NKJV) --  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”

When we don’t know God, we live compromised lives.

Our inability to know God, to connect and experience Him, leaves some people questioning His existence. Others know that He lives in them, yet they struggle to experience Him as a reality in their everyday lives.

It's important to know that God is committed to revealing Himself to us and making His influence felt. 3 John 1:2 says, “I wish above all things that you prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers." This verse tells us that the degree to which our soul prospers, the extent to which we know Him, defines the scope of our prosperity, health and blessing. If you’re in pursuit of blessing, pursue God.

All too often we find ourselves perplexed at the decisions people make, or the way in which they handle situations and even the attitudes they hold.

The truth is that we really don’t understand people because we don’t know them. The result is that we try to understand them through their actions, so we adopt an attitude of assumption. The problem with assuming is that we may be right; but there is a very strong likelihood that we’re wrong. The result is that we go through life with established beliefs about others that are all too often incorrect. Yet, we do the same thing with God. Because we don’t know Him, we read into our situations and use these to make assumptions about who God is. It translates into understandings that are inaccurate, and beliefs that are frequently incorrect. For example, when circumstances don’t work out the way we think they should, we assume that God is mad with us and is punishing us. These assumptions establish an inaccurate understanding of God’s heart toward us and lead to beliefs that deprive us of His blessings.

The key drivers to people’s lives are invisible and inaccessible to us. The only way in which I gain access to them is when someone reveals them to me through their words.

We recognize people from their address, or their vocation. We recognize them from their accomplishments, achievements, the title they hold at work, or their success on the football field. All of these things define their world; however, the key drivers to people’s lives are invisible and inaccessible to us. The only way in which I gain access to them is when someone reveals them to me through their words. The only way to truly know someone is to gain access to the most sacred part of their lives: their heart. This is where the most intimate part of their being resides, and the only way to understand this is through their words. We recognize people from their world, but we know them from their words. Words allow us privileged access to people’s fears, ambitions, inabilities, dreams, and insecurities. Words allow us to know others because they reveal understanding, and shared understanding introduces us to something called intimacy. To be intimate is to make familiar what is within; it is the courage to take the most sacred part of our being and entrust it to someone else. We do this when we trust that others will value what is sacred to us, in the expectation that intimacy will bring about a shift in the way that they interact with us, thus producing a new sense of closeness, attachment, and connection.

The only way in which we know Him and gain access to His heart is through His words.

And so it is with God. The only way in which we know Him and gain access to His heart is through His words. When the Bible says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,” we are introduced to God’s words. The intention is that these reveal the Father to us and walk us into an understanding of who He is. However, God’s words are different to ours in that they are inherently imbued with power. The Word that was in the beginning was more than just a vehicle through which we were to gain understanding of Him; the Word carried within it the power to be an expression of Him. It speaks to us of Jesus; He was the Word. Not only does this word give us understanding of the Father’s heart, it is the full expression of God. Jesus is the exact likeness of the Father. Hebrews 1:3 tell us that "the Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word." Jesus was the visible image of the invisible God. When Jesus walked the earth, He not only spoke to us of holiness (the need to be whole and complete); He was holy. This is why He wasn’t susceptible to Satan’s temptation; He didn’t need platform or accolades or other’s worship to complete Him; He was whole in Himself. He didn’t just speak of righteousness; He was fully righteous. Jesus said, “I only do the things I see the Father do." He was saying that His life was informed and representative of the Father. The Word of God not only conveys the Father’s ideas to us, but they carry the power that allows us to become the visible image of the truth contained therein.

Jesus was the Word made flesh who walked the earth. He modeled for us what it was to live the Word. He was the logos.

However, the words that He spoke were designed to seed our lives, germinate, and bear fruit; this is the rhema. The logos makes us new when we accept Jesus as Lord; but the rhema gives us life. The logos is important because it provides us with a grid for understanding God’s design. It enables vision and provides context for the Word. But the Word that is revealed to our hearts, the rhema, is designed to make us a visible expression of the invisible God. An example is when we decide to bake a cake. The first thing we do is page through the cookbook and look at the cake pictures. It gives us a vision of what is available; what the end goal should look like. Knowing this, we follow the recipe so that we can bring the vision to life. The picture of the cake is the logos; it creates a vision of the end-goal and a grid for managing our way through the recipe. The recipe is the rhema; this is what transforms substance into reality.

Jesus, the Word, the visible representation of the invisible God, became flesh so that flesh could become the Word.

Jesus modeled for us God’s original design for mankind: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” (Genesis 1:26) God’s purpose in creating man was that we should be Godly; visible expressions of His nature. The Bible says to take on an entirely new way of life – a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into our conduct as God accurately reproduces His character in us. The Word becoming flesh was God taking the things that were most sacred to Him, His inner thoughts and purposes, and making them available to us. God’s Word gives us access to His heart so that we can both understand and know Him. When we know the heart of God, we come face-to-face with our destiny: to be God-like. Ephesians 4:24 says, “Put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” God wants to become our life in the context of our unique personality. We know Him through His Word; but we experience Him as we take His words and act on them. It’s the lifestyle of the just, living by faith, that introduces us to an encounter with the Father. It requires that what we know of the Father become action points for us. When knowing that “by the stripes of Jesus we are healed” leads to our healing, we move from understanding an aspect of the Father’s nature, to encountering Him.

The Seed of the Miraculous
 

Farmers are intentional about what they plant. They only plant seeds for crops that they wish to harvest. If they want apples, they plant apple seeds; if they want corn, they plant seeds for corn. It's the same with us - we must be intentional about planting and seeding the Word of God into our lives. Whatever we plant will yield a harvest. Check out this summary of Pastor 

Base scriptures: 
John 1:1-5 (NKJV) --  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”

The heart houses the key drivers to our life; the most sacred and intimate parts to our being.

Things like our dreams, ambitions, insecurities, beliefs and self-image call the heart home. The only way we gain access to these is when a person shares them with us through their words. God’s Word is His way of sharing His heart with us. God’s words not only introduce us to an understanding as to who He is; but they also carry within them the power to transform us so that we become living expressions of His Word. God’s Word, Jesus, was not only “with God, but was God." Jesus was the exact likeness of God; the visible image of the invisible God.

God’s Word is the vehicle through which the things of heaven are introduced to earth.

In the times of Israel, God’s Word both appointed and anointed the kings who governed under His influence. His Word was the law which defined the constitution; the guidelines that directed people’s actions and introduced them to blessing (Joshua 1:8 - "This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.”). If someone needed direction for his life, a prophet would get a word from the Lord for him. In the ancient world God’s word bound together heaven and earth; in our modern times God’s word keeps them apart.

 

Contemporary America enacts separation of church and state; we educate our children in schools where there is no prayer; redefine marriage through a judicial system that excludes God’s influence; and even promote a society that encourages self-definition rather than identity based on God’s Word. Removing God’s Word from our lives gives us the independence and license we want to live life as we decide, without considering the Father’s design or influence. It is a life approach that is innately dangerous and potentially destructive.

In the Middle Ages, God’s Word was locked up in monasteries and was written in Latin, a language that people could neither speak nor read. It removed the Word from influencing both society and people, and the results were negative and damaging.

Ultimately, this period became known as the Dark Ages. “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness." (John 1:4-5) Any time we exclude the Word from an area of our lives, we exclude the light and that area remains in darkness. When we’re in the darkness, we don’t understand God’s ways and, as a result, we fumble around trying to find answers and direction. During these times, we resort to experimentation in the hopes of discovering solutions. But God “has called us out of darkness into His glorious light” (1 Pet. 2:9); His intention is that we “know the truth because the truth sets us free.” (John 8:32) Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto path.” God’s lamp, the logos, is designed to illuminate or give us understanding about our current situation; and His rhema will transform us so that we become what He intended. It makes us “the light of the world.” God’s Word deposits hope into situations where it doesn’t exist. Romans 4:18 says that Abram “contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations.” When we separate heaven and earth, we lose the capacity to live from the influence of God’s Word, or hope, in situations where all hope is lost. The result is that we never become what God intended. His Word unveils understanding and morphs us into His image.

Like an apple, the logos is important because it gives us understanding; it creates a grid in our lives that contextualizes God and His ways for us.

Holding an apple gives us an understanding of its shape, color, texture, and taste. You may see an apple; but actually, you’re looking at an orchard. Inside every apple are a bunch of seeds; and within each seed is the life to create many more apples. Like an apple, the logos is important because it gives us understanding; it creates a grid in our lives that contextualizes God and His ways for us. The seeds are like the rhema; when planted in the soil of our heart they germinate, and we become the Word.

Every time the Word is evidenced in us and people eat from our lives, they “taste and see that the Lord is good.”

The main reason for an apple is to propagate; to multiply and replenish the earth with the glory of apples. Every time someone bites into an apple, eats an apple pie, enjoys apple sauce on their pork chop or revel in delight at an apple strudel, they are giving glory to the taste and enjoyment of the apple. Every time the Word is evidenced in us and people eat from our lives, they “taste and see that the Lord is good.” It’s not about bestowing accolades on us; it’s about recognizing the effects of the Word and glorifying the results of the Word that are manifest through us.

The Word existed before creation.

The Word existed before creation; before the beginning – “The Word was in the beginning with God. All things were made through the Word, and without the Word nothing was made that was made.” (John 1:2-3) Before time and space there was the Word; and it is the Word that was responsible for all of creation. Similarly, the Word is going to precede the miraculous in our life. If we have no Word, we have no springboard from which to propel ourselves into God’s influence in our situations. John 15:7 says, “If you abide in Me (find our being and God’s grid for our lives in the logos), and My words abide in you (our lives are seeded with His Word through the rhema), you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” The Word is the precursor to our destiny; it is the forerunner that will introduce us to life of a superior nature.

Life is in the seed.

New shoots, saplings, trees and fruit and all waiting to be released from their dormant state inside of the seed; it is the life that is looking for expression. Seeds can remain on the shelf, in their packet, and in the drawer for years; it is only when they are planted in the soil that the life is activated, and it begins to reveal itself. We can know the Word, talk about it, keep the Bible on our bedside table, but until the Word is planted in our heart, the life within that Word is never manifest. Many people want God’s provision, deliverance, guidance or favor; but God hasn’t called us to look for fruit. He’s instructed us to pant seed. Nothing happens without conception; and we will never walk into what we’re believing for until we have conceived it in our heart. We are called to seed our life, not create fruit. Our natural abilities enable us to have some degree of influence in our situations – and this is not bad. However, if we want God’s participation in our life, we need to take His Word and give the life within it expression in our heart. From here, we speak it into our situations because “whoever says to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him.” (Mark 11:23).

Seeding our life and nurturing that seed until it produces fruit is a process.

“For the earth yields crops by itself; first the blade, then the ear, then the full ear in the corn.” (Mark 4:28) We are to continually engage in seeding our life; Christianity is a lifestyle, not a diet. People who recognize that they need to lose weight often buy into dieting. Although this is effective, if we don’t change our lifestyle, when the diet ends, we simply put back all the weight that was lost. Christians want to live as they like without much regard for the Word, but when crisis hits, they quickly run for God’s salvation. We need to be ready in season and out of season, which means that the Word is so established in me that I have within me what it takes to deal with any situation that life throws at me.

A farmer’s greatest asset is his land. This asset is intended to produce for him. It determines his return and defines his future; so farmers are careful in the way that they manage and care for this asset.

How we manage the real estate called our heart, the greatest asset we have, governs our life because our heart “determines the course of our life.” (Proverbs 4:23) If we don’t like our life, we have the power to change it by reseeding our heart; you are the farmer, change the crop. Never neglect the responsibility to work your land because there is no harvest without planting. The soil has the ability to activate the life in the seed; but unless the seed is planted, the life that is within it is nothing more than potential.

The Power of the Sixth Sense
 

People see the need to change parts of their life that are creating problems in their world. However, change doesn’t just happen because we recognize the need for it, or even because we desire it. To change our lives requires both a new paradigm for reference, as well as the power to bring about transformation. 

Base scriptures: 
John 1:1-5 (NKJV) --  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”

God created man “in the image of God,” which entitled him to reign and rule in a domain called earth.

Built into man was the ability to understand and know this realm through his senses. We watch a colorful sunset, smell freshly ground coffee, or understand one another by hearing ideas that are shared through speaking. The understanding, experience and knowledge gained through our senses establishes a natural confidence in us that enables us to live from natural faith. According to Romans 12:3, God has “given to every man the measure of faith.” This gift, or sense, is our ability to understand and anticipate the future. Without faith we are unable to function as people. By faith we anticipate and plan for tomorrow. By faith we jump on a plane to get to a distant destination. By faith we hail an Uber and jump in the back seat, trusting that the driver will get us to the address we gave him. Faith enables us to live life effectively. God’s intention is to use this attribute for our spiritual development and to get us to the place where we bring heaven to earth. Just as we trust the pilot’s word and get on the plane without being able to see our destination, so God wants us to trust Him and His Word.

When we are born again, the Holy Spirit makes our spirit new with the life of Christ.

However, at that point we are a house divided against ourselves because although God’s life is in our spirit, our soul (thoughts, emotions, thinking) are not yet made new. This is what getting a renewed mind is all about; bringing all the attributes of our mind in line with the truth that is resident in our spirit. This is fundamental to our success in life, because “a house divided against itself cannot stand” (Matthew 12:22). God plans on using His Word as an agent of transformation that is fed into our soul through hearing, and as that Word takes root, so new life is birthed, and we begin to change. This change is what is transforming us into His image; introducing us to our destiny: to be god-like; we are “changing form,” being transformed or morphed into God’s image.

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 -- “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 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.”

God is the Master Architect and Designer: He created us and therefore knows how we should function.

To be effective, successful, and prosperous in life, we need to follow the directions of the designer. Any time we veer from His truth, we run into error and the wheels come off our life. Jesus said, “I only do the things I see the Father do.” Jesus knew that to be fruitful in life was to follow the Father’s master pattern. Similarly, we are to use God’s Word as the pattern for our life. God encourages us to “trust in the Lord with all of our heart and lean not to our own understanding. Acknowledge Him in all your ways and He will direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). Through God’s words, we get to understand and know Him. His words not only allow us to comprehend God and His ways, but they contain the power to bring about the life that is in the Word.

Just as life is inside of a seed, so life is inside of God’s words.

His words reveal His design, intention, and will. God’s words reveal His purpose; and when we act on His Word, we are introduced to an encounter with Him. It is in the encounter that His power is released, we are transformed, and circumstances are changed. It is in the encounter that understanding God morphs into knowing God. When Gabriel spoke to Mary in Luke 1, he told her about God’s purpose and how she was to give birth to the Son of God, the Messiah. He told her about the plan and her part in it; and then he waited for her to respond. It was only when Mary acted on the word and said, “So be it unto me according to your will,” that she conceived. In that moment, purpose was fulfilled through an encounter with the Holy Spirit, and God’s power changed both her and her world – she conceived. In every situation we encounter, our first response should be to find God’s Word. It will reveal His will, present us with the opportunity to discover and act on purpose, and, ultimately, step into a life-transforming encounter with Him.

The mouth reveals what is in the heart; but the ear determines what goes into it.

Romans 10:17 says, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” The principle is that our life, or more specifically our heart (the center of our soulish realm), is seeded through the senses. But it goes on to say that faith that is of God is seeded through His Word. God is going to utilize our senses to plant the Word of transformation into our heart – this is the how the process of renewing our mind is initiated. Seeding is the first part of the process; nurturing is the second; and bearing fruit is the final stage. Natural faith comes from understanding, knowledge, and experience; Godly faith comes from understanding (the logos of the Word) which is acted upon by the Spirit of God, and through revelation (the rhema) is planted in our hearts so that the life that is within the Word can be released. Therefore, the soil of our heart is important. It speaks to our ability to accept the Word, nurture it to maturity, and harvest the fruit that is produced. The life is in the seed of the Word; it is responsible for birthing change. However, it is the soil of our heart that activates the life in the seed; we are accountable for preparing this soil and managing it. Unless the seed of the Word is planted in the soil of our heart, we will never realize the life that is within it. It’s like having a bag of grass seed that is genetically modified for harsh conditions. We can speak about its ability to weather the heat and survive with little water, both of which are true; however, we never transform our yard until we open the bag and plant the seed.

Eclipsing the Senses

Many people desire to change, but much of the time, the change is lost prior to being established in their lives. To make a change in any area of life only comes through commitment to that change. The same is true with our relationship with God - it requires commitment rather than being swayed by our sense and emotions. 

Base scriptures: 
Matthew 13:18-23 (NKJV) -- “Therefore hear the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

Commitment will change your life in ways that interest never will.

Commitment introduces us to robust and successful living that transcends mediocrity and the average. Love is a commitment, not a feeling. Living from love will shift an infatuation into a relationship; a state of mutual respect and honor based on growth, understanding, and the conquering of challenges called differences. Commitment makes champions out of sports players and leaders out of followers. In our personal walk with God, commitment makes disciples out of Christians, and overcomers out of born again believers. Nothing of consequence happens in the plan for our lives without commitment.

God created man “in the image of God," but he was made from the dust of the earth.

As spiritual beings having a physical encounter, man is the only being that straddles both the natural and spiritual dimensions. God has equipped man to live effectively in both realms:

1. Our spirit enables us to connect with God and the things of the heavenly realm. It is in our spirit that the life of God dwells when we are born again; and it is through our spirit that we communicate with God.

2. Our senses enable us to understand and know the things of the world around us. These inputs are stored in our central processing unit called our mind. It allows us to comprehend and assimilate related stimuli together giving us quick reference to previous encounters.

Our senses allow us to effectively live in the present, and, when necessary, access previous references from our history. But our senses are not equipped to walk us into our future; for this we need an asset called faith.

According to Romans 12:3, God has “given to every man the measure of faith.” This gift is our ability to understand and anticipate the future with confidence; it enables us to live effectively. Faith offers the opportunity to transcend our senses and reach for a future that will enlarge our life, introducing us to newness and enable success. Setting life goals, entertaining career ambitions, or planning a vacation are all examples of natural faith. We don’t yet have any of these things, but we live in the confident expectation of them coming about and prepare for their eventuality. As we talk about these events and what we expect to transpire, we are calling the things that "be not as though they were." God has created man to be creatures whose lives and existence are shaped and expanded through the attribute of faith.

The moment we are born again, God moves into our lives. And when God takes up residence within us, He comes with His opinions and perspectives.

Suddenly, we find ourselves straddling the divide between what we think about certain matters and God’s thoughts about them. As decisions confront us, so we realize that we have become double-minded creatures, often holding opposing views at the same time. There is an incongruency created because the life of God has made us spiritually new (2 Corinthians 5:17 -- “you are a new creation in Christ, old things have passed away and all things have been made new”), but our mind (thoughts, emotions, thinking) are not yet new; they are characterized by our sensory history. The result is that we become double-minded, unable to walk into the things of God.

When we approach God, we should ask in faith, without doubting.

James 1:6-8 tells us that when we approach God, we should “ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” The problem with being double-minded is that we live in a place of unbelief; we entertain convictions that are contrary to God’s Word. Any time we camp in unbelief, we reside in a place devoid of God’s blessing. We end up “like a wave, tossed and driven by the wind, unstable in all of our ways.” Jesus, with regularity, encouraged people to “only believe” because “all things are possible to him that believeth” (Mark 9:23). Living from unbelief precludes us from receiving from God. In Romans 4 we are told about Abram. He found himself straddling the same divide between what his senses told him and God’s promise that he was to be a father of many nations. It says that Abram “considered not his own body, or the deadness of Sarah’s womb.” In other words, he gave no place to the conclusions of his senses, nor did he “waver at the promises of God through unbelief."

God is never going to rescue us from the sea of ambivalence.

God has entrusted to us the power to run our lives through the decisions we make. We are to decide which voice we are going to listen to and build our lives around. Living the overcoming life that Christ died to give us requires commitment, not interest. Establishing our life in truth and living from belief is all about getting agreement between our spirit and soul; nothing short of commitment is going to get us a renewed mind. Interest toys with truth but lacks the resolve to prevent us living as “a house divided against itself” which “cannot stand” – Matthew 12:22. For example, I’m able to create incredible design work on my computer; however, when the printer is disconnected, what has been created is never given form as a printout. Until I can effectively get my printer and computer in unity, harmoniously communicating and working together, my artwork lives as a design and not as a creation. Until we bring all the attributes of our mind in line with the truth that is resident in our spirit, we don’t achieve the unity necessary to introduce the things of God into our world. Our external world is going to mirror our internal world. Our challenges are not in the circumstances and situations of life; they are inside of us, in our beliefs. When we come to the place where our spirit exerts influence over our mind, we position ourselves to introduce heaven to earth. The primary task set before us is to transform our thinking.

We change our understanding through natural inputs.

Our mind responds to natural stimuli that are fed in through the senses. Hearing God’s Word is a natural stimulus. The Word is the seed that carries within it life, and when the seed is planted in the soil of our heart, the life that is within germinates and begins to grow, bringing about change. The life that is in the seed is what transforms our mind into God’s image. It is the Word that is the agent of transformation, birthing life and delivering change.

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 -- “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 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.”

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