The Fridge Picture

The FridgeI’ve never been big on putting up pictures to help motivate me to lose or gain weight, or anything else for that matter. That doesn’t mean I haven’t had pictures in my mind. Certainly I have those from time to time, but I guess I’m too self-conscious for people to know that. I do remember an ad in the back of comic books when I was a kid. The ad promised to make the 90 lb weakling who got sand kicked in his face into a muscle-bound behemoth that could stop the bullies. That picture got mentally bookmarked.

What kind of picture do you put up on your fridge (even if its just a mental one) for motivation? Who is it that you would like to be like? You may even have multiple pictures on your mental fridge – one that depicts you as Tiger Woods, if you want to become a better golfer; or one that depicts you as Dave Ramsey with regard to handling your budget and finances; or one that depicts you as Angelina Jolie or Brad Pitt for their “coolness” factor. Most of us go through life changing one picture out for another. We change them for a variety of reasons, but the two biggest reasons are these: One, the person we pictured lost the edge that we once admired. It happens. One day Tiger will be overtaken by a better golfer. One day Dave Ramsey’s finances will be spent. One day Angelina and Brad will be old and wrinkled. These inspiring people will cease to inspire us. Or two, we’ll grow weary of our efforts. We can only endure so many failed attempts to accomplish the things these people have accomplished. These pictures on the mental fridge eventually become voices of condemnation. Everytime we see them we’ll hear, “you can’t do it! You’re a failure!” and we’ll move on.

But what if we put up a different kind of picture? God tells us several things about ourselves. He tells us that we were made in His image. That alone is pretty amazing. If we’re made in the image of God, why do we aspire to be made into something less? We do, of course, because we can see that God’s image is marred in us. Sin has wrecked us and causes us to be discontent in the person we are. It is that discontentment, the knowing that we are not who we could be, that drives us to look for that aspiring person. God, however, has shown us His own image in the person of His Son. The writer of Hebrews says that Jesus “is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature.” Jesus is given for us that we might see a glimpse of what we can be. The power of the gospel is to save, which means God is restoring His own image in us. He is transforming us into the likeness of Jesus.

If Jesus is the perfect image of God – the absolute ideal, then what if we put him up on our mental fridge? This is the person who stood in the face of bullies without backing down, stood by his friends when they continually didn’t get it, captivated people’s love through his tenderness and genuine concern, served the poor, healed the sick, fed the hungry, loved his enemies. What if we put this picture on the fridge? Wouldn’t that be worth aspiring to? The great thing about this picture is that it doesn’t fade out over time (reason one above disspelled). We’re not going to see Jesus falter or fail. We won’t see him replaced. And his picture will never condemn us when we fail to live up to his example. We will fail, but his picture tells us that he lived for those who fail. He died to pay the price of our failure so that we might live. He died in our place that we might be transformed by God into his image. God takes that work upon himself. Paul confirms this for us in his letter to the Philippian church when he writes, “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion.” God never stops the work he started.

Can you imagine a better image to put on your fridge?

One Comment On “The Fridge Picture”

  1. Great stuff pastor! Especially the Brangelina bit. It reminds me of a quote from one of my favorite Brad Pitt films when he and Edward Norton look at a model on an Abercrombie looking advertisement, and Norton asks with a sneer/smirk, “is that what a real man looks like?” I love the irony by the film-makers to have Norton ask Pitt this question.

    But this is a question we are all wanting to know the answer to, right? What does a real man or a real woman look like? What does a real human look like?

    What a great response to a couple of guys on a subway trying to figure this out. Or a couple of guys trying to figure out what it looks like to be pastors; Or newly marrieds; or new parents in Katy; or single folks trying to figure out what it looks like to be single in a world where the family is just…expected; or empty-nesters.

    Anyway, thanks so much for these thoughts–much needed today.

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