Needed: An Extreme Make Over?
Television is having a heyday with all of its reality programming.
Extreme makeover programs have become very popular. A makeover staff moves
in doing extreme makeovers to houses and people alike. I saw a very
interesting program while visiting my daughter. They did an extreme makeover
on this thirties looking fellow with rotten, broken and missing teeth and a
beer belly. Physically he was all out of shape. They gave him tooth
implants, capped teeth, put him with a personal trainer and changed his diet
to shape him up physically. When they got through with him, he wasnít a bad
looking person. He was rather attractive. He was at least able to get a
woman to dance with him.
The extreme makeover people move in seeing the possibilities a person
has lost sight of. They move in doing things the person didnít know
how to do. Doing things the made over person couldnít afford.
God is also in the makeover business. Looking back through
Godís biblical record of salvation history reveals this with extreme
clarity. God moved into individualís lives doing extreme makeovers.
God moved into Estherís life with an extreme make over team and she won
first place as Queen Esther. God used her to do an extreme make over for the
kingís palace to save the lives of all the Jews.
Godís plan of salvation has to do with his desire for an extreme
makeover. Godís plan is so extreme that He calls it a new creation.
God sees our possibilitiesóour real possibilities. He can lead us to do what
we donít know how to do. He can do for us what we cannot do for our selves.
Most important God pays the price we canít afford.
Our world certainly needs an extreme makeover that goes beyond
cosmetic enhancement. Aesthetic renovation wonít do, surface change
Rediscovering Our Identity
Godís extreme makeover goes much deeper as he helps us rediscover our
real identity. The movie ďMan with an Iron MaskĒ came out a few
years ago. The backdrop of the movie was about identical twin boys born to a
king, one was taken away at the moment of birth to be reared by peasants to
conceal his identity forever in hopes to eliminate any competition for the
kingís throne between the twins. As the boy reared by peasants grew older
his identity was unmistakable. It was evident further measures would have to
be taken to conceal his identity. He was placed in an iron mask and sent to
live in a dungeon. He could never understand why he was placed in an iron
mask and chained to a dungeon wall. He had no clue that he was the son of a
king. Until his evil brother rose to the throne and his enemies sought to
replace him with the brother who had been chained to the dungeon wall.
The identical twin brotherís iron mask was removed as they began to
groom him to be king. It was an extreme makeover. Yet, they were
only restoring his royalty. It was his birthright. He was taught the
mannerisms of royalty. He was taught how to hold a wine glass, to dance, to
greet those desiring an audience with the king. He was taught these things
because he was of royal descent. The movie concludes with him ascending to
the throne to replace his twin brother who was reigning as a tyrant.
In much the same way we are in need of discovering our real identity.
We know our identity goes beyond ourselvesówe were greatly created.
Our sinful world masks our true identity. We are looking for
our roots to discover our true identity. Scientists are searching daily to
discover the key to human life and its origin. Many are looking into fossil
records for clues.
There can be no extreme makeover until we truly understand our origin.
The Hebrews leaving Egypt needed to know they were made in Godís
image. They had been used and abused for centuries. They only knew of the
demonic gods of Egypt who ruled over them with an iron fist. They certainly
knew the story of Godís promises to Abraham, but they were experiencing the
wrath of Egyptís gods. Egyptís gods had reduced them to slavery wading in
the mud of slime pits. Their image was woefully masked. When Moses led the
children of Israel out of Egypt there was a dire need for them to understand
their true identity. They had been used and abused so many years in the land
of Egypt they had no clue. In writing Genesis Moses sought to reveal whose
image they truly bore as he pointed back to creation.
26 Then God said, "Let us make man in our
image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the
birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the
creatures that move along the ground."
27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
28 God blessed them and said to them, "Be
fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the
fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that
moves on the ground." NIV
Men and women are made in the image of the God. Satan
slithered up to Eve and said, God knows when you eat the forbidden fruit you
will be like Him. He blinded her to the fact she already bore Godís image.
She bore the image of God and was made in His likeness. Sin continues to
tell us we are our own gods with the power to shape ourselves into whatever
we wish to be. Satan knows this is the only way to diminish Godís glory and
hide our true identity.
Sin Destroys Our Identity
Adam was created in the image and likeness of God. Sin entered
into this world distorting the image of our first parents. So much so that
they hid under fig leaves. Since that very moment it has been the nature of
sin to conceal the fact that we are made in Godís image.
Adamís children were born bearing the image of sinful Adam. It
wasnít that they were no longer made in Godís image, but they bore the image
of their sinful father Adam. How often to we stamp our image upon our
children. Of course this is a little different. We all bare the sin of Adam.
However, our children often grow up to be a spitting image of us. Sins mask
our true identity. God is seeking to unmask us to reveal his image in us.
The stories of the Bible become powerful as we allow them to shape and
mold us. We love to just teach propositional truth, but stories
often reveal truths in more powerful ways than simply stating facts.
ďBible narratives tell us about things that
happenedóbut not just things. Their purpose is to show us God at work in his
creation among his people. The narratives glorify him, help us to understand
and appreciate him, and give us a picture of his providence and protection.Ē
Ultimately the narratives create the image
of God formed in our minds. ďOld Testament narratives do not always
teach directly. They emphasize Godís nature and revelation in special ways
that legal or doctrinal portions of the Bible never can, by allowing us
vicariously to live through events and experiences rather than simply
learning about the issues involved in those events and experiences.Ē
This is the design of Bible narratives.
Bible narratives give you a kind of hands on knowledge of how God works in
These stories do not always teach directly. They are more of an implicit
kind of teaching designed to illustrate what is explicitly taught. The story
of David does not contain such a statement that says, ďIn committing
adultery David did wrong.Ē You are expected to know that from what is
explicitly taught elsewhere.
It is surprising how many truths are taught through a simple story or
movie. It is a powerful way to educate. This is what the television
and movies are doing to our world. They are molding the world into the
images seen on the screen. They get us to laugh at dirty jokes, as they make
ungodly living more appealing through the use of comedy. It is unbelievable
how powerful Hollywood movies are in shaping our lives. Nothing has shaped
our moral values more than Hollywood.
1 Gordon D. Fee & Douglas Stuart, How
To Read The Bible For All Its Worth, A Guide to Understanding the Bible.
Zondervan Publishing, Grand Rapids, Michigan 1981, pg. 79