Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Who Do You Look Like?

                Who do you look like? Do you look like your mom, your dad, your aunt, your uncle perhaps? People have told me that I look like my mom, and some have told me I look like my dad. My children look just like me- there is no denying they are mine. We are God’s children, when we accept Jesus into our lives we become His, our Father in heaven, and we are to look just like Him.
                “According to the doings of the land of Egypt, where you dwelt, you shall not do; and according to the doings of the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you, you shall not do; nor shall you walk in their ordinances. You shall observe My judgments and keep My ordinances, to walk in them: I am the Lord your God. You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, which if a man does, he shall live by them; I am the Lord your God.” Leviticus 18:2-4
                We are Christians, which means “Christ-like”. The book of Acts tells us that the church in Antioch was first called Christian because the whole city of Antioch saw Jesus in them. Does the world see Jesus in us? Do we look like Christ or do we look like the world? These are questions I asked myself this morning as I read through the rest of Leviticus. All throughout this book the Lord God calls His children to be separate from those around them, to be holy because He is holy. He has given them commandments to follow and statutes to live by so that they can remain holy unto Him.
                “Behavior that reflects the holy character of God Himself is to be expressed in both social and personal dimensions of life.” (Dictionary of Bible Themes) We have become children of God. For those of us who have children, we see our likeness in each one of them. My son looks like me, and has some of the same characteristics as I do. My daughter, she looks like me as well, and I see in her some of the same qualities and characteristics that I have. We are to look like Christ; we are to be Christ-like, so therefore, we should be reflecting the character of God in all dimensions of our lives. But, sometimes, this is not the case.               
                God tells Moses in Leviticus 18 that the children of Israel should do away with what they did in Egypt, and not take upon themselves the traditions and laws of the land of Canaan. He tells them that they are to be His. God tells His children to “Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am the Lord your God.” (Leviticus 20:7) The Bible tells us that we are in the world, but not of the world. We have to live in this world of sin, death and wickedness, but God wants us to not find ourselves a part of it.
                We are to look like our Father in heaven; we are to be holy because He is holy. What exactly then, are we to do? We are to receive the gift of Holiness that the Lord God gives us and separate ourselves from those things and sometimes people that cause us to fall and stumble in our faith. I have had to separate myself from former friends, those who I used to hang out with during my B.C. days (Before Christ). I have had to let go of and walk away from certain things in my life that led me away from God instead of to the throne of God.
                To be separated unto God means that we are committed to Him, as He is devoted to each one of us. He desires for us to be His special people, all His and only His. But sometimes the world can pull you away and instead of walking in the ways of the Lord, you find yourself walking in the ways of the world. The world does not want us to follow after God; it wants us to feed our desires upon the offerings it gives us. Even those who are your family members, when they are not walking in the Lord will bring try to bring you down. I have found (in my own personal walk) that if I am around someone who curses a lot, I will find myself slipping and saying a curse word too. I have learned to walk away when someone begins to curse, and when asked why I left, I take the opportunity to tell them about Jesus and how He desires me to live. (Not judging them, but teaching them about grace and salvation in Jesus Christ) As people have come to know me, now they hold their tongues, and some even apologize to me for saying a curse word, or something they know goes against what I believe and live.
                Now, we are to be in the world, but not of the world. This does not mean that we separate ourselves from the world, and become recluses living somewhere out in the middle of nowhere. It means that people will see us and know that we are different. We as Christians will not look like the world; we will begin to look like our Father in Heaven, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Our lives should be a perfume, a fragrance that is sweet to the smelling of others. Like when you are walking by someone and you smell their cologne or perfume, and it smells so good that you have to know what it is, so you ask them. Our lives should be the same- people should see the difference in us and want to know what we have that they don’t.
                Anyone who knew me back in my B.C. days will tell you that I am a completely different person. My husband noticed a complete change in me, even though there were still areas of my life that were unchanged and the Lord was working on- there was still an evident change. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new.” If we are in Christ, we will begin to change. The old things of Egypt will begin to fall away. We will begin to become like Christ more and more. This is a process the Bible calls Sanctification.
                It takes time, but it also takes a willing heart. I had to let go of some very dear friends of mine because they were doing things that I no longer wanted to do, because it went against the Lord God. They did not understand at first, but as they saw the changes in me, they began to see the differences and they began to see Jesus in me. When we step out of darkness and into the light of Jesus Christ, things that we once did will begin to fall away. I no longer go to bars and clubs on the weekends, because (for me personally) I know it does not please the Lord. (Note- what others do in their walks is not for us to judge, let each man stand before God for his own walk)
                We each have been called to holiness, to live a life that seeks after God. To do this, we must separate ourselves from the influences of the world and sometimes, the influences of those we love. But wouldn’t we much rather look like our Father in heaven, than the world? The questions I believe we all have to ask ourselves today is “who do I look like?” And then pray and ask the Lord to transform you and mold you into the child He desires you to be. The more we as Christians begin to look like Christ, the more lives we will be able to impact for His kingdom.
                I pray that my words today will lead you to His throne room, where we can sit at His feet and cry out, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God Almighty.” And may we become Holy, because He is Holy. To Jesus Christ be all the glory forever and ever, Amen.