August 18, 2010

Exhaustive Image Control

Written by Wisdom Hunters

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today- August 18, 2010

“If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless. But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.” Philippians 3:4b-7

What is image control? 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, image control is exhausting because it never is quiet 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 image control 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” (Luke 18:11-12). Humility lifts up Jesus, not himself.

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 your Savior Jesus Christ? Let go of the shallow sense of worth from the world and embrace your eternal value in the Lord. Almighty God has already defined you as holy and acceptable to Him in Christ Jesus. Your inner beauty He admires most and celebrates: “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” 1 Peter 3:3-4

How much energy do I exhaust in image control? Do I trust Christ to control my image?

Related Readings: Genesis 37:23-28; Ephesians 1:5-6; Hebrews 11:9-13; 1 Peter 2:9-11

Boyd Bailey is the author of Wisdom Hunters daily devotional and two devotional books, Infusion and Seeking Daily the Heart of God

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