Reclaiming our Divine Image in the Company of the Other

MIRROR, MIRROR –  RECLAIMING OUR DIVINE IMAGE IN THE COMPANY OF THE OTHER – SERMON RESOURCES

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ENGAGING THE PRACTICAL TIP

The false self is found behind the disguises we wear, the masks we don, it’s the “vulnerable self” that we seek to hide, protect, and shelter. How do we know we are operating out of our false selves? When we consciously or subconsciously give into emotions like anger, fear, lust, pride, greed, envy, and apathy. And these are the emotions we have been wrestling with since the start of our rebellion against God. Left unchecked, these emotions rob us of the good life, they rob us of discovering and experiencing joy. It’s almost like a veil, we can see, but not clearly.

We sense that there is a better way to live, but it often requires another, someone else to reflect a different way of living to us. Sometimes if you find yourself in a loving Jesus-following community, and you have created space for others to speak the truth in love, you can discover when you are operating in your “false self,” which opens the door to surrender allowing the “true self” to emerge. This is the gift of the Jesus community.

On the surface it seems like we are being stripped of security, walking into the unknown driven by some sort of force or by fear. What if it’s actually that we are trading the things which make us feel secure & safe for real security, a different kind of security, which is invested in a God with limitless resources, and a love that never fails. What if the “security” that is promised is rooted in a relationship, born out of the fruit of the spirit—recognizing that security without God is no security at all.

God designed us for relational participation. Remember that God is himself a community, a community of love. And as his image bearers, his divine image within us urges us towards community. We discover our true self in the relationships we foster and nurture within Jesus-following community.

God, who is invisible, wants to make his real presence tangible and that happens when we learn love “one another.” Think of community as our learning laboratory for doing life. Jesus left behind a “witnessing community,” not a creed, book, or set of rules. He left behind a community of people who practice the one anothers: love one another, be kind to one another, forgive one another, suffer one another, and serve one another.

As we enter into this Jesus-following community our ability to live well is shaped and formed as we confront our selfishness, our sin, our brokenness and our limitations. As we learn to surrender and serve, we learn how to be patient, merciful, how to forgive, how to pray, and how to give. As we live in community we will develop a greater capacity to trust, to trust God, each other. And that trust develops, we take one step closer. One step closer on our journey to become our true selves.

Practical Tip

Spend some time this week paying attention to your emotions and your behavior especially as you relate to others. As you do, are there aspects of your emotions and behavior that are justified? Are there aspects of your behavior that are not? As you take note? Are you willing to trust God with your feelings? Are you willing to surrender these to God?

Feel free to share your experience with others who have also tried this prayer exercise by commenting below or emailing: spiritual.practices@annarborvineyard.org.

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