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I'm seeing it now

How well do you know me? How well do you know the guy or gal who lives next door? How well do you really know your coworkers? Chances are we 'know' each other in some manner, but do we really 'know' each other? Occasionally as I am watching some news story on the TV, I will observe people being interviewed after some horrendous crime or accident that took a life. The news reporter will interview them for their "perspective" on the criminal's history, their "impression" of the victim's life, or some such. It is as though these individuals come out of the woodwork, claiming some sort of acquaintance with the criminal or victim. Sure, they live six streets over in a totally different subdivision, never worked or went to school with them, but "they knew them well". Silliness! I wonder how God feels about some of the reports we give of "knowing him well"? Do we really 'know' him, or is that just a facade, too?

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 2:2-63)

Pretty plainly stated, isn't it? If we claim to know him well, we will keep his commands - period. No arguing the fact - our life needs to match our words - not just when we feel like it. 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! Words - actions - more words - do they align? If not, maybe it is time to rethink this obedience thing in our lives. If the image we behold the most is contrary to what we aspire to be, how can we truly follow the pattern? I am learning woodworking and am far from an expert. I make all kinds of mistakes and have to 'redo' things from time to time. As an artist or woodworker creates a new work, he tries to follow the pattern of the model or pattern provided. Unless he is into abstract art, the image of what he is trying to create comes reasonably close to what it is he beholds in the pattern. The model serves as a "pattern" to follow - we see the image and then we know what our finished product is to resemble. 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! That piece of woodwork will be 'close', but it will not be identical!

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 all of the scripture. Yep, we probably don't match the image of the model! Our "display" of what has been "modeled" is likely to be kind of 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, or extremely gifted at this woodworking thing. We are reminded - it is in the day by day steps of obedience (repeated steps) 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! It is the last day of the year and a new one is upon us in just a few short hours. This would be a good time to begin to adjust our focus so we are seeing the 'model' in perspective and then allow those steps of obedience to be repeated time and time again until we match what it is we see. Just sayin!

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