We accomplish our goal by holding to this simple yet profound truth: what you behold, you will become. Change is inevitable in our lives. We are constantly being shaped and molded by the influences we allow around us. If we are continually beholding the glory of man and the things of this world, then Romans 12 tells us that we will be conformed into the image of this world. However, if we are continually beholding the glory of God, then we have a promise from God that we will be transformed into His image.
Our desire is transformation, not conformation.
The Psalmist speaks of idols in Psalm 135. He says, "They have mouths, but do not speak; they have eyes, but do not see; they have ears, but do not hear, nor is there any breath in their mouths." Then we are given this terrifying truth in verse 18, "those who make them become like them, so do all who trust in them." Just like these idols, we too, if we trust in them, can become dead, lifeless things.
We see the opposite take place in the life of Moses. In Exodus, Moses goes up to the top of Mt. Sinai to meet with God. While there, he asks God to show him His glory, and God graciously allows Moses to see just a glimpse of His glory there on the mountain. Now in Exodus 34, after meeting with God and beholding His glory, we read this about Moses in verse 29, "When Moses came down from Mt. Sinai... Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God... and all the people of Israel saw Moses, and behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him."
Moses beheld the glory of God, and as a result he was completely transformed.
What you behold, you will become.
Our goal is for students to become the image of God, and as we looked at this process we identified two crucial steps.
Step #1: Behold ---> Believe What you behold, you will become, but something more has to happen in between. That first step is belief. Many Israelites beheld the glory of God in the wilderness, but they did not believe in God. Many people beheld the glory of God through Jesus' ministry, but they did not believe. Just as in Psalm 135, that it's only when we trust in idols that we become like them, the same is true when we trust and believe in God.
That's why everything hinges upon Relationship.
You cannot become the image of God, if you don't first know God. So the first step towards becoming the image of God is entering into relationship with God.
Behold the glory of God. Believe the Gospel.
Step #2: Believe ---> Become Once you have beheld the glory of God, and believed the Gospel, now you enter the process of becoming, where are you being transformed more and more into the image of God.
This happens as we plant Rootsand expand our Reach.
Everything starts with Relationship. Jesus says in John 15:5, "I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing."
Once we are in relationship with God and we are abiding in Christ, then Colossians 2 says we are "Rooted and built up in Him." We love this picture because it shows us that the path of maturity in our Christian walk flows towards dependence, rather than independence. As we walk with and abide in relationship with Jesus, we don't need Him less, we only realize how much more we need Him. The fact that we are being rooted in Him means that if He isn't there, we're not either. So it is as we grow in our dependence on Jesus that we plant roots.
And as we grow in our dependence on Jesus we also expand our Reach for His kingdom. Matthew 28:19 says, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations..." This is our mission, this is what we are called to do as followers of Christ. However, this command is surrounded by two beautiful truths. Jesus says in verse 18, "All authority [power] in heaven and on earth has been given to me..." and He says in verse 20, "behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." We are all called to go and make disciples of all nations, but we do so in Jesus' power, and with Jesus' presence. In Acts 1:8 Jesus says, "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." Again, we see that we will be witnesses, but only after we've been empowered by the Holy Spirit.
To put it simply: as we abide in Relationship with Jesus, planting Roots of dependence in Him and expanding our Reach for His kingdom, we are becoming more and more like Him.
Behold the Glory of God. Believe the Gospel. Become the Image of God.