Image of the Invisible God

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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