INTO HIS IMAGE
BY: DANIEL YORDY
WHOLENESS vs. SHAME
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image according to Our likeness, let them have dominion . . .” So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him . . . Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it . . . ” Genesis 1:26-28
We have no idea the extent of what God meant here when He said, “Let us make man in Our image and according to Our likeness.” I suspect that 100,000 years from now, as we measure time, we will still be discovering how much we are like God, and how much He is like us.
Now when I say that, I am speaking of a relationship between the One who fills and the one who reveals and expresses. We are created to contain God. We are made to fit His person in every way. We are made in such a way that God might show Himself through us. We know that God is infinite, and therefore the number and kinds of ways that we fit Him so perfectly that He can live in us and be seen through us are without end.
What I am talking about here is a relationship. He is our life. We, in and of ourselves, are not anything separate from God. But the days of being separate from God for us are over. So why speak of that which is NOT?
So we want to understand this incredible relationship and our role and part in it. Without Him we are nothing, but with Him filling us, we can do all things. In everything He sets before us and in us, He can reveal Himself through us.
The fall of man did not change what he was as God created him. Of course, God was absent in the darkness of their minds. Believing God to be absent is a pretty miserable affair, as we have known for six thousand years. But the absence of God in the minds of fallen man does not mean a vacuum, but rather the presence of demon spirits in those same minds. But man himself is not the image of Satan. Satan does not fit man and can only move upon man in a limited way.
Lucifer, in hatred of God, cannot attack God, nor can He even challenge Jesus, or what God speaks. The only thing he can do to express his hatred and animosity of God is to attack man. Though he cannot directly fight the word God speaks, he can stand before man’s ear and change the way man hears what God speaks. That is his only power.
We need to understand how much Satan hates and despises man. What gets him excited, where he gets his kicks, what feeds him, is to ridicule man, to torment man, and to kill him.
Although Lucifer was the greatest of all created beings, this worm called man has a place in God that Lucifer cannot ever hope to have. In fact, Lucifer was created to serve man, to serve the God who reveals Himself through man.
A huge part of Satan’s purpose and mission on this earth is to demean, mock, and ridicule man – who man is and what he is called to be.
And so Satan has woven that mockery all through religion and all through the perversion of what Christianity has become. He weaves his definition of man all through the ways of this world, where everybody is trying to get to the top and those who get to the top discover that it is nothing but emptiness and a sham. So they fill their lives with escapism because it is nothing but a sham.
Our understanding of man has been wrong.
Yes, man without Christ is fallen, cut off from God, and without hope.
But we are not without Christ.
Let’s look at the fall of man. You see, God created Adam to be His champion in the earth, to stand against Satan, and his deception and to defeat him.
God said, “Let there be light.” Satan said, “Did God indeed say?” God sent Adam to stand in His truth and to prove Satan a liar. That was Adam’s mission.
God had placed in the garden the two trees, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life. Don’t ever think that Satan placed the tree of knowledge before man, he did not, God did.
I suspect that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was loaded with the most beautiful of fruit, the most appealing of aromas, luscious. I suspect that its fruit was right there, all over it, hanging within easy reach.
Then there was the tree of life beside it. There was not much said about the tree of life.
We know that when Adam was cast out of the garden, God set angels keeping the way to that tree of life. But Adam had not eaten of the tree of life, even though he was invited to. You have to wonder why not.
I see the tree of life as a thorn tree, unusual in the garden. The garden and all the trees were beautiful. Yet here next to the most beautiful of trees was a tree that did not fit, a thorn tree. At the very top of the tree was its fruit. You could not reach that fruit unless you climbed the tree. And of course, in climbing that tree, the thorns would pierce your hands and your feet and press themselves into your brow. It would cost you to retrieve that fruit and bring it down for others to partake of it. It would cost you.
Of course, in Genesis 3:1, Eve visited with the serpent. The serpent challenged what God said, “You will not surely die.” He said the opposite of God.
To us, Jesus said, “He who lives and believes in me shall never die,” and in Christianity, Satan comes along and says, “Did God really say that? You shall not surely live, you shall die!” To Eve he said, “God said that? You will not die, you will live.” Just as Eve believed him then, so for the last 2000 years the church has so easily believed him now.
Verse 6: So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.
Between these two phrases, “she took of the fruit and ate,” and the word “and he ate,” between those two ‘ates,’ is a world of cataclysm and defeat. Down through the history of man, all the books written exploring the psychology of man, exploring the question of who and what is man are really talking about what happened between these two words.
Paul said in 1 Timothy that Eve was deceived. That means she thought that what she was doing was right; she had no idea that the serpent would be speaking anything other than God’s words. To be deceived means that you are not deliberately doing what is wrong. One who is deceived genuinely and honestly believes that the lie, the thing they are hearing is really the truth. And so, they are moving in an honesty of heart, even though they are embracing that which is false.
Man did not fall when Eve ate of the fruit.
The responsibility for the fall of man does not rest upon Eve; she had nothing to do with it. She was tricked. Man was not fallen after she ate of that fruit. We need to look squarely at Adam. Paul, at the same time that he said Eve was deceived, insinuated that Adam was not deceived.
Adam knew what was going on; he knew what the stakes were. He understood it perfectly. He stood there as the champion of God; he knew God. He had walked with God in the garden. But you see, Adam had not yet eaten of the tree of life; he had not come to the place that God intended for him to be.
We don’t understand Adam’s condition because we have not lived in that state. When we were without Christ, we were in the fallen state; when we received Christ, we partook of the tree of life. But Adam was formerly our father.
Adam, standing there as the champion of God, understanding the truth, knowing the deceit of the serpent, looking at this beautiful women, Adam failed Eve. He failed Eve, and in failing Eve, he failed God, and he failed all of us.
When Eve ate of the fruit that was not the end of the matter. Adam could have turned immediately to God and said, “God, show me. What do I do?” Adam could have moved in the power of the life that was in him to counteract the enemy; Adam could have paid the price. I suspect that if Adam had chosen, he could have climbed the tree of life, piercing his hands and his feet, thrusting his head up among the thorns, to take of the fruit of that tree for the sake of his wife.
Adam, standing there in who God had made him to be, looking at the beauty of the woman with him, saw her. Adam made a choice, he thought he was making a choice between God and this woman. He made a deliberate choice, a purposeful choice. He made the choice of the man of God caving in.
Adam was a failure.
In our natural birth and in our natural life, every single one of us inherited that caved-in-ness from Adam. And that caved-in-ness, that absolute failure, failing to stand in what God made Adam to be, is the definition of life in this world. It is expressed in two ways, by this fake climbing to the top, thinking that by beating down other people, we are climbing out of this failure, this caved-in-ness that Adam put us into. Or we cave in, just like Adam did.
That is the life story of our human state in this world.
Then let’s look at what happened immediately after Adam ate.
Verse 7: “And the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.”
The very first thing that came upon man that hit them as they ate of that tree: they knew that they were naked and they were ashamed.
Shame is the definition of fallen man. Underlying everything else inside of man without God is shame. Shame!
Their next reaction was to sew fig leaves together and make themselves coverings. “Look at how nice I look, look at how great I look.” And so the history of man without the knowledge of God is the history of trying to make ourselves look good, to impress people. Pride. But pride does not come first. Pride is a cover up, pride is nothing more than a cover-up of shame.
You see a dear brother in the Lord who struggles with a sensitivity that you interpret as pride, you need to understand that you are seeing someone who, on the inside, is completely ashamed of himself, and he doesn’t need to be. He does not know that he bears no shame. Tell him he is proud and you increase his shame.
All the trappings of human pride are just cover-ups, desperate attempts to cover up, to hide the emptiness and the shame man feels deep inside.
Verse 8: “And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.”
You see, it still wasn’t over with. It would have been fine for Adam to come out immediately, unclothed and naked, to stand in the light of God and to say, “God, I have sinned; I have failed you.” We don’t know what course God would have taken at that point. But Adam did not do that.
Adam did not take that route. When he saw the woman standing there in her beauty, offering him that which he knew was death, he caved in. When he saw his nakedness, he caved in and tried to cover up his shame with sham and facade. When he saw the light of God, he caved in and hid himself in darkness.
Then, when God confronted him in verse 11: “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?”
With that, Adam fell to the lowest point. Instead of facing his own sin, he did what his children always do; he turned and blamed someone else. At this point the fall of Adam was complete.
Let’s go to the New Covenant.
Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2
Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us, for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.’ That the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit by faith. Galatians 3:13
Adam had a joy set before him – the beauty of Eve, the most beautiful woman ever to walk upon this earth. Jesus also had a joy set before him – the most beautiful woman conceived in the mind of God, the bride of Christ, without spot, without reproach. For that joy set before Him, Jesus, also sent as the champion of God, saw His bride. But John says in his gospel that He would not commit Himself to her, because He knew what was in man. Instead, He turned to the tree of life, and He climbed up its branches. He pierced his hands and his feet. He had no care for the shame. Jesus hung upon that cross naked.
Adam cared a whole lot about the shame, and he covered it up. Jesus despised the shame, it meant nothing to Him. He had his eyes fixed on that most beautiful of women. Adam caved in. Jesus pierced his hands and his feet and thrust his head up among the thorns. He reached up and took of the fruit. In doing so, He became the curse that had come upon Adam. Jesus took it upon Himself, willingly. And He took the life, the fruit of the tree of life, His blood, and He offers it to each one of us.
The fruit of the tree of life.
Jesus said, “I am come that you might have life. And that you might have it more abundantly.”
Paul says in 1 Timothy 1:10 that Jesus “abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” Life and immortality, never dying, He brought it through His work upon the tree of life.
You see, when you and I were born again, two things happened. God gave us a new life from the tree of life in that moment, AND God also put to death everything inside of us that we got from Adam that needed to die. God put it to death, and the blood of Jesus cleansed us. God restored to us that which Adam had lost. We come back into being the likeness and image of God. We are the likeness and image of God. We fit God; He fits us, in more ways than we can understand. We will go for an eternity and we will never see the end of how and where God fits us and we fit Him, and how He can reach through us to touch and heal and bring life and joy and hope and love in more ways than can ever be counted.
Satan, of course, still whispers in the ears of believers, trying to contradict this wonderful thing that God has done in us.
God has removed the shame. He has removed the shame. The curse is gone, the defeat is gone, and the caving-in is gone. The failure is gone.
The shame is gone.
Satan comes whispering through doctrine, through the mouth of preachers who should know better. Through the history of Christian teaching. He comes whispering, “Your heart is evil. You are bad. You haven’t made it yet.”
Look at the caterpillar. The caterpillar is perfect. It’s doing exactly what it’s supposed to be doing. It is eating, eating, eating the word of God, it is eating life and truth, it is eating the experience of walking together with God. It is taking all of that into itself, and it is ugly. It does not look like a butterfly. It is not soaring in the spirit. It’s just walking along the ground eating, and it looks terrible.
Then somebody tries to convince the caterpillar that it ought to be soaring like the butterfly. “Where are your wings? Why are you not flying in the air?” If the caterpillar pays any attention to these false teachers, it will get confused. It will begin to think that because it’s not flying in the heavens there is something wrong with it. If it listens to this false teaching, it will stop eating and get all concerned about how ugly it is and start trying to fly in the air like it’s ‘supposed to.’
But the caterpillar is doing what it is supposed to do. It is living as it’s supposed to live. It is taking into itself all the word of truth, all the life, all the understanding, all the experience of God. It might be all put together in a funny looking way, not anything like it will be in its full revelation, but that is not a problem. It is what it’s supposed to be.
Teachers who come along and say, “Well, there’s something wrong with you because you’re not flying in the heavenlies. What’s wrong with you?” All they do is bring doubt and confusion and shame to the hearts of dear believers. They do want to be with Jesus, they long for him, from the very beginning. Yeah, they might look like a mess on the outside, but you would be wrong if you came to the conclusion that that was something real or permanent.
In that ugly looking state, like a caterpillar, they have a job to do. That job is not to change themselves. Their job is not to make the outside of themselves to look like what they will be. Everything of that butterfly that will come is already inside of them. Its just not put together in the way that it will be. But it is all there.
Their job is to eat, to sit at the feet of Jesus. To take into themselves all that He speaks to them. To walk through all the difficult experiences of life with God and to be taught of His ways. To go through all the ups and downs and ins and outs, all the hurts and joys of life; it is their job to pass through those, eating, eating,
Jesus said, “He that eats My flesh and drinks My blood shall have the life of the age to come.” John 6
He was talking about this caterpillar state that we are in. Our job is to eat of Him. To partake of Him. To learn His word, to study His word. To be in the New Covenant, to absorb it into ourselves. We do that by believing what God says and then by speaking what we believe.
God intends to take everything that we are, turn it into a soup, in that quiet place, that set-aside place. And He will rearrange it all. Do not think for one minute that that butterfly coming out is anything other than the caterpillar that went in. It is the same one.
That butterfly is that caterpillar. You define that caterpillar by what it looks like, you are the one that’s wrong.
Everything inside that butterfly is simply the caterpillar rearranged and put back together again. What Satan wants to do is get the caterpillar to stop eating. To look at itself and to say, “Look here, there is something terrible wrong with me. I can’t fly. Look at me, Oh God, help me, there’s something terrible wrong with me.”
No there’s not. NO THERE IS NOT!
But if Satan can get you to believe that there is, he can get you sidetracked. He cannot take you from Jesus, but he can get you sidetracked.
But you see, man, born again, the new life of God inside of him, restored and cleansed by the blood of Jesus, is in an entirely different place than fallen man upon this earth.
And that teaching of the word of God that applies to fallen man upon this earth, does not apply to the believer in Jesus Christ. He is an entirely different kind of being. He has been redeemed, washed clean by the blood of Jesus. All of our humanity is brand new. Our humanity was created by God to fit Himself, that He might reveal Himself through our humanity.
That is His purpose. That is why He created us.
‘To be sanctified,’ is ‘to be made whole, to be made complete.’ A big part of God’s work in our lives, as we live our lives in this world is to teach us what Adam failed to learn. To teach us that we have what it it takes. That we don’t have to cave in. That the champion of God is inside of us and we can face everything that comes our way in this world in the strength of God that is in us. We have what it takes. We do not have to cave in. We can believe God.
But I tell you what. You buy into that false teaching that your heart is evil, you will cave in, you cannot do anything else. No matter how holy you pretend to be on the outside, you will cave in, because there is still shame inside of you. There is no place for shame in the heart of a believer in Jesus Christ.
You must cast that filthy thing off. This belief, that when you look inside yourself you are supposed to see shame, that is a word from Satan. Any teacher who pretends to be a teacher of the gospel, who will impart shame into the lives of believers in Jesus Christ is a tool of the other side. I say that strongly because of the love of Jesus for you.
God is making us whole people. Whole men, whole women. Completely separate from the nakedness, the shame, the caved-in-ness, the hiding that was Adam and Eve, the blaming other people.
God teaches us in so many ways. He teaches us through precious brethren who believe in us and who encourage us. There was no greater encourager in the New Testament than the apostle Paul. He encouraged those whom God gave to him. He said, “You just bless me to no end. We hear about your love all over the place. It so encourages us when we see your life in Christ.”
This is how Paul spoke to his people, He said, “I have confidence in you, I expect great things of you.” When He did have to rebuke, he turned that rebuke into praise as soon as he possibly could.
There is a brother in the Lord whom I have never met. I feel like I’ve met him because of how he shares himself in his books. I am speaking of John Eldredge of Colorado Springs, Colorado. He wrote a series of books on exactly what I am talking about, being made whole on the inside. As I read his books over several years, over and over, it was as if God was taking every part of me from my years of walking with God in my caterpillar state, taking it all apart and putting it all back together again. All the same things fitted back together in a whole different way.
In the book The Way of the Wild Heart, John Eldredge lays out the steps God takes us through to make us whole people as humans. I don’t have the ability to share it in such a helpful and meaningful way as John Eldredge does. So I refer you to him. I don’t have to have his gift, I have him. That is better.
John Eldredge shares how God makes us whole and God’s purpose for the life of one who is whole. He bases it on 1 John 2:12-13.
The Apostle John says, “I write to you, little children, for your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake. I write to you, fathers because you have known him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the wicked one.”
There are these three places in our lives, and in between these three places, there are the in-between places, the passage places. The passage from a child to a young man and the passage from a young man to a father.
John Eldredge gives us these five places in a man’s life. There is first the beloved son. We come to know how much the Father loves us, that we are the beloved son, that we are accepted in the Beloved. Then John Eldredge picked the word ‘cowboy.’ He says he would have preferred the word ‘shepherd’ as that is a Biblical word, but in today’s world that doesn’t mean much to people, so he chose the word ‘cowherd’ or ‘cowboy.’ It’s a good picture of the beloved son learning how to be a fighter. Then the young man, that warrior state, who defeats the enemy. Then the warrior becomes a king, one who leads, who guides, who covers his people. Then the king becomes a sage, a wise one, who, in his old age guides, and lets the young men fight, lets the middle-aged men rule and direct, but he has the gift of wisdom. And both of these, the king and the sage are inside this word ‘fathers.’
God wants us to be whole, from the very beginning. God wants young men and women, girls and boys, to grow up in a wholeness, without shame. He wants young men to stand against the enemy, to be who they are made to be, without shame. And He wants fathers to walk as fathers, to guide, to rule, to direct, and to give the wisdom God has given them, without shame.
And we become whole. God wants us to be whole. The enemy of wholeness is shame and all of that teaching that disguises itself as teaching from God that does nothing but bring shame upon the hearts of dear believers.
God is preparing a champion once again in the earth, you and me. We will stand in the place Jesus stood, not as a third Adam, but with the victorious Christ inside of us, and instead of caving in and embracing failure and falling into ruin, God has a people who will not care about the shame. They are with Jesus; Jesus is their life, they have no other life. They will stand in the place God has put them. They are the beloved son. They know they have what it takes. With Caleb, they say, “We are well able to overcome this thing.”
I am well able to defeat my enemies because God is in me. My eyes are on Him. And the confession of my mouth now is that I am well able to defeat my enemies. I have what it takes, and I can stand in the place of leadership and guidance to God’s people because He is in me and my life is in Him.
When I look in my heart, I see Christ, and I see nothing else.
We are transformed by the renewing of our minds. There is no shame in us. We are made whole and complete in Christ.
INTO HIS IMAGE, Pt. 6, Wholeness vs. Shame [Daniel Yordy] 2008 1