Image of the Invisible God

Posted on December 2, 2014 | 11 comments

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. – Colossians 1:15

The second commandment (see Identity and the Second Commandment) says that we are not to create any images of God, nor are we to serve an idol of our own creation. For any representation that we, as broken image bearers, will create will fall short of the true image and also have inherent flaws.

While our idols and images of wholeness are not necessarily a golden calf, they fall short just the same. Having no images does not just refer to physical objects, but also to the images that we demand wholeness and significance from.

For the church leader, an image may be size of the church. Or having a particular reputation and status within the community. Or an idea of excellence that should be achieved. Striving for these things becomes equated with serving God well and begin to form a foundation for justification.

In all of us, there is the temptation to put body image, dietary lifestyle, relational status, or even kid’s behavior and education on a pedestal. An image of wholeness and what a life well lived should look like. So we serve these things, and many, many others.

Yet, these idols we strive after, all they will do is demand. There is no rest in the quest for body image. If you eat a snickers bar then you will have to work that much harder. There is no freedom in trying to achieve a certain financial independence, for it becomes a precarious position to maintain. More will always be required.

Idols never forgive; they relentlessly take and accuse.

Not so with Christ, the image of the invisible God. Doing comes from being in Christ; doing is not the path to Christ. The True Image does not demand, in him there is rest. He does not accuse, in him there is forgiveness.

Wholeness comes from being covered in Christ. Having an identity rooted in him alone.

Anything else you are looking to in leadership, relationship, ownership, etc. is an idol, fertile ground for the false self.

Where is a place that you are most tempted to find your definition of self? How do you experience the demands of this idol?

I work with pastors and the people they lead to energize discipleship and improve leadership development. I am a certified coach specializing in pastoral leadership, relationships, life transitions, and Christian identity. Services I offer are one-on-one coaching, group/staff coaching,  speaking at organizations/churches, leadership workshops, and church retreats. For more info, click here to contact me.

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  1. It’s just so stinkin’ easy to get caught up with pursuing a false image or idol worship and never realize it, Scott. I’m grateful that you help to pull the scales off our eyes, my friend! Always a pleasure to visit! Oh! And Brian Miller’s art! I love it! Is that the same Brian Miller that also (at least used to) links up at Emily Wierenga’s linkup? I used to linkup with Imperfect Prose but don’t anymore, so I may be remembering wrong or getting him confused with someone else. I hope your Thanksgiving was great, my friend!

  2. “Idols never forgive; they relentlessly take and accuse.” You’d think we’d learn to throw away our idols when they do so little for us. 🙁 Thanks for this reminder to find our identity in Christ alone.

  3. Scott, you take hard (ahem, convicting) topics and share them with such truth– but love at the foundation. You are so right. Idolatry doesn’t have to be stuff or things– but it is anything in which we find our “soul” identity.

    For me, I would probably add Facebook to the list. It is amazing the power that dumb social media site can have over my heart some days.

    Thanks for sharing this very important reminder with our little community.

  4. No rest for the quest…I like that. We all have those idols…whatever they may be. They relentlessly take and accuse…so true! That’s why they need to be smashed and broken…I’m working daily on that! Visiting from Missional Women.

  5. You said ‘Idols never forgive, they relentlessly take and accuse.’ And this follows so flier to a conversation I had with my daughter the other day but instead I told her they blind us. They take the power of seeing truth as we ought because they have gotten in the way. So often,these idols we cling to are the mountains we are struggling to climb and refuse to see. It is so recreating to be found in His mercy when,and here we get a glimpse of the promise of seeing clearly when we cast our eyes upon Christ. 1 John 3:2
    Very thought provoking post, thanks!

  6. Thoughtful article, thanks. It is a reminder to me that health, wealth or lack of it, relationships are all a part of my daily walk with Him. I like what you say about having our identity rooted in Him. May this be so as I walk each day in faith going forward with Him as my guide and motivator to bring glory to Him

  7. “Doing comes from being in Christ; doing is not the path to Christ. The True Image does not demand, in him there is rest. He does not accuse, in him there is forgiveness.” Such truth here in this article. Thank you for sharing at The Weekend Brew!

  8. Great post and so so true!

  9. Your work always seems to make sense in a roundabout way. Always left with something to think about 🙂

  10. Idols are subtle, sneaky, deceptive, draining, demanding things. I continue to be amazed at how easily it can be to slip into subtle idol worship. We need to stay on guard!

  11. Thank you for posting to Motivation Monday!

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