Never Finished. Is This Good or Bad?

April 22, 2017
Faith-based, God's Love, Growth, Life purpose, Maturity, Relationship Building, Spiritual Intimacy

God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He never changes, but we must. We are never finished. His creative plan for us includes change. Why? When the Changeless One expresses His will into the earth, changes come to improve and enlarge what He has begun.

So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing
what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it
(Isaiah 55:11).

From God’s eternal perspective, what He says is as good as done. He said it; so it will be. In the natural realm, however, fulfillment of God’s desire usually involves a progression with beginnings that are followed by “making and forming” processes.

Take each of us for example. Our lives begin with a conception and subsequent forming in mother’s womb. This is the first of many changes that accompany our ongoing growth and development. The Changeless One created change to make and mold His will into a growing and developing reality.

God’s Creative Intention

As I’ve noted in previous writings, the first mention of mankind in Genesis chapter one identifies God’s creative plan and intention for us – to father offspring. He saw each one of us as children who would grow and develop under His parental care. The second chapter of Genesis tells us something of the process He used to initially make the first two, Adam and Eve. The rest of Scripture details the ongoing process of birthing and making further offspring and children.

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness”…God created man in His own image and likeness…male and female He created [initiated] them (Genesis 1:26-28).

Many are familiar with the phrase, “in the image and likeness of God” that is often interpreted to mean we are already in God’s image and likeness. This view, however, overlooks the fact that the first couple was able to err, separate from God, and become less than what God proposed.

God cannot be less than He is. Unfortunately, Adam and Eve chose to ignore God’s guidance, walk away from God, and live another way. So what we are “created to be” is still in need of being “formed and made.”

What we are “created to be” is still in need of being “formed and made.”

When we look deeper into the scriptural account, we discover the Hebrew words translated image and likeness, can be translated as reflection and resemblance. Why is this important? It can help us understand God’s intent. We are not made to be or act “as God,” but to reflectively resemble Him as children.

Reflection and Resemblance

Reflection speaks of the ability to mirror an image. The appearance of God in us is more of a reflective expression. Like a mirror, we reflect what is in our line of sight. The clarity of the godly impression we reflect is evidence of our close or distant fellowship with God.

But we all with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Resemblance speaks of a similar likeness. When a child imitates a parent, they show similar mannerisms that display like character, attitude, and personality (CAP). As offspring of God we are designed and intended, as good children, to resemble our Father’s CAP. All God does is rooted in love. He cares for all His offspring, and our love for each other is to be an echo of His encompassing love.

Our love for each other is to be an echo of God’s encompassing love.

We are not created as a being that is automatically the image and likeness of God. At best, we are created to be formed into the reflective resemblance of the heart CAP of God. My version of Genesis 1:26-28 would read like this:

Then God said, “We will make mankind to reflect and resemble My expressive heart”…So God created mankind to be made into His own reflective resemblance…He initiated them, as male and female, to relationally become expressions of His heart.”

Maturing into Levels of Completeness

We are birthed as imperfect beings, so we can mature into levels of completeness found only in relationships. The heart of mankind refers to the expressive activity of our full being: body, soul, and spirit with its five senses and soul consciousness. Scripture connects our heart, our real self, to the full range of human activity as a combination of our expressive character, attitude, and personality (CAP).

• Character speaks of our moral fiber.
• Attitude refers to our temperament leanings
• Personality speaks of our social behaviors.

Our hearts need the maturing effects that emerge from intimate interaction with God. Father’s planned progression continues to form and mold offspring into children who are focused on becoming His full intention. Insightful contributions that emerge from our active fellowship with Father and with one another help us mature.

Intimacy with Heavenly Father

God desires to empower our forming growth and remold us from the inside out. More than a distant God, our heavenly Father offers intimacy and insight into His heart. Relating to Father and seeking His insightful fellowship, we partake of our “eternal source” of life.

Actively seeking Father’s Presence, we observe and absorb His relational purpose and desires for His offspring. Learning to more effectively express His CAP into earthly relationships, we live as the delight of His heart. God values our expressions because they demonstrate how close we are to His heart.

Our expressions demonstrate how close we are to God’s heart.

In communicating more with God, our expressive heart is renewed and we are more desirous of His Presence, more receptive of His insights. Enabled and led by God’s Spirit, we become spiritual and our behavior (actions) becomes more heavenly. We are maturing into greater degrees of His reflective resemblance.

Growth processes are easier when we embrace improving change. Our development into God’s full intention requires flexibility in things natural and things spiritual. Establishing change is a process. Hence, we are never finished.

We are Never Finished

And this is good! God does not expect us to be perfect. What a relief. Then what should become our primary life focus? Progressive growth into God’s full intention. As we continually mature in our reflective resemblance of Father, we resemble Him in daily life.

Progressive growth into God’s full intention should be our primary life focus.

What does this look like? It’s sharing God’s heart with others through a smile, a hug, a conversation, a caring attitude; being expressions of God’s love.

If we take an honest look at ourselves, how well are we doing at this? In reality, while here on earth our human nature somewhat limits our ability to do this. Perhaps this is troublesome to you. Take heart, our loving Father is in our midst by the Presence of His Spirit to assist us.

Remember, God uses the change process to help us grow. And, each change in our developing CAP generally brings one thought, feeling, attitude, and action at a time. Be receptive to the process. Let’s not be so set in our ways that we are not open to adjustment – unable to see the benefit to us (and those around us) that God already sees.

While we are never completely finished, our faithful Father brings us into fuller maturity as we are open to His voice, soft to His touch, and flexible in His hand. Scripture assures us He will accomplish what He has begun.

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6).

Keith Carroll, Relational Gospel Founder

Resources to help

Never Finished. Is This Good or Bad?Never Finished. Is This Good or Bad?

We share resources about our relational God here on our website. Both of my books, Created to Relate, Insights Into Our Design and Purpose, and The Christ Culture, A Way of Life Like No Other are available for your devotional read, and for purchase in printed or eBooks.

Many folks are finding my books to be insightful and stimulating reads, excellent for personal understanding and to share in small groups. We provide a Leader’s Guide to facilitate discussions.

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