Here's how we can be sure that we know God in the right way: Keep his commandments. If someone claims, "I know him well!" but doesn't keep his commandments, he's obviously a liar. His life doesn't match his words. But the one who keeps God's word is the person in whom we see God's mature love. This is the only way to be sure we're in God. Anyone who claims to be intimate with God ought to live the same kind of life Jesus lived.
(I John 2:2-6 The Message)
Pretty plain, isn't it? If we claim to know him well, we will keep his commands. No arguing the fact - our life needs to match our words. We all have probably heard the saying, "Do as I say, not as I do". No wonder we are confused about this "life matching words" concept!
If the image we behold the most is contrary to what we aspire to be, how can we truly follow the pattern? As an artist creates a new work of art, he tries to follow the pattern of the model. Unless he is into abstract art, the image of what he is trying to create comes reasonably close to what it is he beholds. The model serves as a "pattern" to follow. Yet, if you have ever tried to draw something that reasonably resembles the model, you know just how hard it is to have what you are putting on display match the original!
This concept is not dissimilar to the Christian walk. We have a model - Christ Jesus. We see him displayed for us in others who know him well. We also have a good impression of him in what has been recorded of him throughout scripture. Yep...you guessed it...we don't match the image of the model! Our "display" of our "model" is kinda abstract!
We all display God in some "abstract" manner to begin with. We are "generally" following the form, but we don't "specifically" match the image of the one we have as our model. The more we follow his commands, the more the image changes. The lines become more apparent - closer resembling his lines.
In time, the "immature" display of God's "lines" in our lives is replaced with a "mature" display of who and what he is. We cannot rush this process any more than we can become instantly excellent at drawing overnight. We are reminded - it is in the day by day steps of obedience we become more and more mature in his love (the lines of who he is becoming more apparent in us).
Just as the artist has to practice his skill, so we have the same opportunity in displaying Christ in our lives. It is in the daily choices to obey his commands we are "perfecting" the image of Christ in us. We truly don't "practice" obedience without it affecting us deeply. The more we practice - the more obedience becomes a true "art form" within! The "lines" become more defined and the image of our model becomes more apparent. We call this maturity. God calls this awesome!