12 Jul In His Image
Have you ever wondered what it means to be made in the “Image of God”?
I have been in Birmingham, AL this week and of course when you are in Birmingham you can’t go anywhere without seeing, hearing and feeling the “Roll Tide” all around you. The other thing you hear in Birmingham is about the coaching turnover that has happened at Alabama over the last 11 years since Nick Saban took over as coach for the tide. Part of the reason for the turnover is that Nick has created something they call “the process” that has led to Alabama being the most dominant college football program in the country over the last decade. As he has created and lived out this process, other schools have beat down the door to hire away coaches from Alabama in hopes that they could bring the process, and its success, to their own programs. Unfortunately, most of those haven’t quite panned out as hoped for. That is of course, with one significant exception. One of those coaches is a guy named Kirby Smart who left in 2016 to become the head coach of non-other than Pastor Brett’s alma-matter, Georgia. In 3 years, Kirby has amassed a 32-10 record with 5 of those losses coming in his first season, which he then turned around to make an appearance in the college football National Championship, against Alabama, in his second year.
Now I’m not trying to take anything away from Kirby, but it is undeniable that a significant part of his success is tied to building a football program at Georgia in the “image” of Alabama. However, Kirby wouldn’t have been able to take the process to Georgia just by hanging out at Alabama for a few years. There had to be more to it than exposure. Kirby Smart had to eat, breathe, sleep and dream “the process”. He had to take the process and make it part of his own ingrained thinking and practice. He had to be made “in the image” of Saban. In fact, Kirby Smart had coached with Nick Saban at other schools prior to Alabama and had become so intimately acquainted with Saban and the “process” that Phil Savage had this to say about them in his book. “4th and Goal Every Day: Alabama’s Relentless Pursuit of Perfection”. He wrote that Saban and Smart “had a dialogue on the sidelines during a game that was in a language all its own. … An outsider would have no idea what they were talking about if he was standing between the two.”
Knowing what I do about these coaches and these programs, when I saw that quote it really took me back to how we are called to walk with the Lord. Genesis 1:27 tells us that God made humankind in his image. But there’s more to it than just design. He made us to image him, while still allowing us the freedom to “be ourselves”, which is also part of His unique design. Like Kirby Smart, we can’t image God simply by being exposed to Him. We have to go beyond exposure and into intimacy. It’s in this intimacy that we will truly be made into His image. It’s in that place of intimacy that we will develop our own line of communication with God. It’s in those quiet, secret places that we will be molded and shaped into who we need to be in order to image His glory in the world around us.
With that in mind I want to invite you to begin taking inventory of your own heart, your own life and your own walk with the Lord. How intimate are you with Him? Is there more of His image or more of the worlds image on display?
This Sunday I will have the privilege of preaching out of Romans 8 and what it looks like to have life in the spirit. This world is full of many obstacles and distractions, but God has made a way for us to be who He designed us to be. I hope you’ll come with an expectant heart as we explore the power available to us, so that we can be an imager of Him.
I can’t wait to see everyone this Sunday!