How we understand and relate to the concept of “Jesus” is conditioned by our life experience. We assign value and meaning based on a lifetime of influences: our understanding of authority, parental modeling, met/unmet expectations, impressions, mental pictures, senses, intuitions, feelings, and education. False images of Jesus formed during childhood have the power to influence our lives long after we leave home.
As we wake up each morning, fear and foreboding wait to greet us. Surviving the day will depend on a combination of magic spells, curses, charms, sacrifices, and offerings to appease the cosmic powers that control our fate. The Apostle Paul writes to new Christians in Ephesus raised with this worldview. Note the contrast in his concept of God:
Long before he (God) laid down earth’s foundations he had us in mind,
Our lives are not accidental or random—every person has meaning and purpose.
(he) had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love.
God chose us. And he has a dream and design for our lives.
Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ.
God has adopted us into his forever family—we are a part of his preferred future.
(What pleasure he took in planning this!)
God delights both in knowing us and loving us.
“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us . . . We tend by a secret law of the soul to move toward our mental image of God.”
If we have a distorted image of Jesus, we will struggle to make our home in him.
What comes to mind when you think about Jesus?
- Ephesians 1:4-5, Message Translation.
- A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy, 1.