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Stop coloring outside the lines

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 MSG)

Pretty plain, 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. 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! God isn't all that excited when we talk the talk, but then neglect to walk the walk! If the image we behold the most is contrary to what we aspire to be, is the pattern we are following a great one for us to follow? 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 out reasonably close to what it is he beholds. The model, whether it be a bowl of fruit, a tree in the field, or a person sitting on a bench, the 'model' serves as a "pattern" to follow. If you have ever tried to draw something that reasonably resembles the model you are beholding, you know just how hard it is to have what you are putting on display match the original!

This concept carries over into our daily 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. Try as we might, even the most 'practiced' among us don't match the image of the model! Our self-created image of our "model" is 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 being created changes. The lines become more apparent - closer resembling his lines. In time, the 'practiced steps' we take over and over again begin to bring out an image that gets closer to resembling his love and grace within us.

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 an object overnight. We need to remember it is in the day by day steps of obedience that actually help us become more and more mature in his love and grace (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 and responsibility of displaying Christ in our lives. It is in the daily choices to obey his commands that 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 right steps - the more obedience becomes a true "art form" within each of us! The "lines" become more defined and the image of our model becomes more apparent. We call this maturity. God calls this awesome! Just sayin!

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