“If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.” (John 14:23)
In 1957 a group of monks was relocating a clay Buddha from their temple to make way for a new highway. When the crane lifted the idol, it cracked. Seeing a bright glint in the crack, the head monk ran for hammer and chisel, and soon a solid-gold Buddha was revealed, today worth perhaps three hundred million dollars. It seems that several hundred years ago the Burmese army was poised to strike Siam, now Thailand, so the monks disguised their precious treasure with clay. The monks were slaughtered and with them their secret, a golden treasure hidden in a clay masquerade.
And so with many Christians: a golden treasure covered in layers of common clay, our fallen, cracked humanity hiding the reality within. Through believers God wants to put His glorious character on display, but we are hiding our true character beneath all-too-human attitudes and actions. It doesn’t have to be this way. The Master Sculptor intends to chisel away the clay and let the golden treasure stand revealed.
We’ve been studying God’s law to learn His standard for the way we are supposed to live. As damaged vessels, we aren’t capable of living up to God’s standard. Our quest today will be to discover God’s resources for living in obedience to His standard.
God’s plan for cracking off the clay to leave Jesus on display is His provision of the Holy Spirit, but it seems most Christians are disinterested in, afraid of, or ignorant of the Spirit’s role. Hopefully you understand that the living Spirit of God is your inside companion who wants to remake you in the image of Jesus.
When you accepted Jesus as your Savior and Lord, He sent the Holy Spirit to live inside you. “He is the Spirit of truth. … He remains with you and will be in you,” Jesus promised in John 14:17. In some mysterious way all three members of the Trinity live within. Jesus explained, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him” (v. 23). But the Spirit is the point person of the Trinity, the executive who carries out God’s purposes. It is the Spirit who works in us to transform our mind and character into the image of Christ. It is He who teaches us God’s ways and enables us to live in obedience to the standards He set forth in His Word.
To be transformed for deeper relationship with God, you were created to be God-compatible. The Holy Spirit played a role in creation, hovering over the formless waste (see Gen. 1:2). And the Spirit created each of us. Job professed: “The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life” (Job 33:4). He created us in God’s image (see Gen. 1:27).
Porpoises, pandas, monkeys, and ants are marvelous creatures. Porpoises communicate with signals, maybe even a language. But no dictionaries yet! Pandas are toolmakers, breaking off sticks to probe for food. But no automobiles yet! Monkeys are smart and mischievous; they do bad things. But none have been seen to blush! Ants build complex cities, but no one has ever discovered a temple or a church in one of them.
Other characteristics come closer to what Scripture means by being created in God’s image. Unlike the animals, you are born with a moral consciousness and a spirit, so you are designed to be God-compatible. You were made to fit in a relationship with the Almighty. Love doesn’t grow much between two who are incompatible, so God made you in some respects like him so that you would be able to share in the love relationship of Father, Son, and Spirit.
Our God-compatibility is the bedrock of all hope for anything more than animal contentedness: you are specifically designed for intimate companionship with the infinite One. So there’s hope that you can have a meaningful relationship with him. Wow, what a privilege! What might being God-compatible mean to you and your life today?