July 16, 2010

Testimony of A Man Part 6

I would like to tell you where the theme of Image Bearing comes from.  It originates in the Biblical account of Creation wherein God declares that He will create man and woman "in His Image" (Genesis 1), and in Psalm 8 wherein the psalmist declares, "Who is man O God, that You would crown him with glory and honor?"  God has made us to be living representations of His glory on this earth.  I bear the Image as only I can - as He created me to, and you bear the Image as only you can - as He created you to.

It took me a very long time to learn that God is interested in more than simply my mental assent that He is God.  I believed that I knew that the ultimate purpose of my life was to glorify God.  But then I learned that glorifying Him meant more than saying "Thank you God!" or "Praise Jesus!" whenever anything happened in my life worthy of such comments (guess how much of life that applies to!).  God made me to glorify Him through the way I think, the way I speak, the way I act, the way I design, the way I am passionate, the way I am compassionate, the way I reflect and resolve, the way I lead and steward, the way I love, touch, play, and sing, etc., etc., etc.

I had thought that I gave Jesus my heart, but then I realized that if God didn't have all of me, there was no way, He could have my heart.  It is not possible to give your heart away and keep yourself to yourself. 

I had become such an insecure, needy, arrogant, competitive, selfish, pompous, and pious individual that I nobody wanted to be around me.  Do you get that?  I couldn't even glorify myself!  Even with some pretty significant accomplishments under my belt.  I was a nice guy, and people were attracted to me at first, but then it became apparent how much I thought of myself, and how little I thought of others that no-one hung around very long.  The very few who did, to my great shame today, I hurt and abandoned.

Then I joined the Marine Corps. 

I didn't learn humility well enough through enlisted Boot camp, so I went to a more strenuous boot camp for officers.  I didn't figure out what being an Image Bearer was all about, but for the first time in my life, I saw people who lived their faith out despite their circumstances.  I saw Godly men honor God as warriors and as saints.  I wished I had the kind of testimony and character they had.

Well, I left the military eight years later and met my wife.  In my pre-marital counseling with my wife, my pastor asked me point blank if I was coming to my marriage ceremony pure.  I said no, and he simply looked at me and said, "Tony, I am so disappointed."

I was angry for several days, but then the Holy Spirit convicted me and finally freed me from my blinding hypocrisy.  I was never as broken as I was at that moment. 
little did I know that this revelation and God beginning to work this idea of Image Bearing in me was about to take me back into the Marines and onto the front lines. 
I need to break for today.  See you tomorrow?

With you for His glory

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