Step 1

I want to share with you the big picture of life. I would call it the God story. It’s a story that began before the beginning of time and it continues to unfold today. It’s the reality of life. You can ignore it, you can decide to not believe it, but its reality. Are you ready?

Genesis 9:6-7 God made humans in his image reflecting God’s very nature. 7 You’re here to bear fruit, reproduce, lavish life on the Earth, live bountifully! MSG

You were created to be like God, to literally reflect God’s glory. God placed His DNA deep in your DNA. How do we know that? You were made in His image. That means, you have a mind. You can think, process information, be logical and create. You have morals. You have been hard wired by God to have the awareness of what is right and wrong. You have a need for relationships. You want to be in healthy relationships and share emotions. You are spiritual. You know that you are more than just your body. You have a spiritual part of you that is your soul. You can be physically fit but your soul can be hurt inside.

Let’s continue to read about the God story.

Romans 5:12-13 MSG You know the story of how Adam landed us in the dilemma we’re in – first sin, then death, and no one exempt from either sin or death. 13 That sin disturbed relations with God in everything and everyone.

That means, sin entered and messed up our ability to reflect God’s glory. Sin destroyed our mind, our morals, our relationships and our ability to be spiritual to be connected with God. Romans explains the damage sin creates in our culture.

Romans 1:21-23 MSG What happened was this: People knew God perfectly well, but when they didn’t treat him like God, refusing to worship him, they trivialized themselves into silliness and confusion so that there was neither sense nor direction left in their lives. 22 They pretended to know it all, but were illiterate regarding life. 23 They traded the glory of God who holds the whole world in his hands for cheap figurines you can buy at any roadside stand.

Do you see it? They traded the glory of God for what made them feel good. That’s sin.

The damage of sin is so evil, God had to get involved to do something and so the God story continues.

Romans 5:16-17 If death got the upper hand through one man’s wrongdoing, can you imagine the breathtaking recovery life makes, sovereign life, in those who grasp with both hands this wildly extravagant life-gift, this grand setting-everything-right, that the one man Jesus Christ provides? MSG

What did God do? He sent Jesus to redeem the glory in you that was stolen by sin.

2 Corinthians 3:18 GNT All of us, then, reflect the glory of the Lord with uncovered faces; and that same glory, coming from the Lord, who is the Spirit, transforms us into his likeness in an ever greater degree of glory.

That means Jesus came to redeem our minds, our morals, our relationships and connectedness with God, and our ability to reflect God’s glory.

What are we told to do?

Romans 12:1 Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. MSG

I share all of that as the foundation of our series called ‘Reflect God’. The reality of life is that God has come to redeem us. God’s invitation to us is to join Him in His story. We are at our best, we feel most significant, we are most fully alive, when we simply reflect God’s glory. Let me explain what that means to reflect God’s glory.

First, we submit to Christ as our Lord and Savior and recognize that we are completely dependent on Christ for real life. Think about that. You need a Savior. You need someone bigger, stronger and better to come into your life and pull you out of your mess. You need a Lord, someone to follow every day. You need a Lord and Savior.

Secondly, we live every day in faith by taking full responsibility for ourselves and our decisions. You were created to reflect God’s glory. When you join God in His story by submitting to Christ and living in faith by taking responsibility, people see God in you. That’s when you reflect God’s glory.

Here is our challenge. We are supposed to embrace this life of reflecting God’s glory. We are supposed to join God in His bigger story and live out the reality of life. But if we are honest, I think we would have to admit that we don’t like how God’s story is unfolding around us.

What makes it worse for us is we live in a world full of distractions. We would call them idols. We live in a world that offers us every reason to create our own story. It’s such a struggle to ignore our culture that is screaming at us to submit to Christ as our Lord and Savior.

Psalms 40:4 MSG Blessed are you who give yourselves over to GOD, turn your backs on the world’s “sure thing,” ignore what the world worships.

And so what do we do when we don’t like the God story? When our culture is screaming at us and distracting us from God? We are tempted to abandon the God story and secretly try create our own story. We begin to think, “I don’t think God’s going to come through for me.” We get busy trying to find comfort and joy and happiness outside of God. We follow our appetites and think, if I feed my appetites, maybe I can make my story better.

Over time, we make this huge mistake. Instead of accepting God’s invitation to be a part of His story, we begin to invite God into our story. We become so self-absorbed, the center of the universe. Unless it pleases me, unless I like it, I won’t do it. We try to be god and we are awful at being god. We might attend church in hopes that, if there is a God, we can manipulate Him to do what we want. When we create our own story, we would call that a distorted reality.

Maybe the reason you feel dead inside. Maybe the reason you are frustrated inside. Maybe the reason you have no energy in life. Maybe, maybe, maybe, it’s because we aren’t living the way we were created to live.

You were designed to reflect God’s glory and if you are creating your own story, it’s never going to work.

You were created to join God in reality, the bigger God story but you have created a distorted reality and you are frustrated trying to create your own story.

Psalms 31:23 Love GOD, all you saints; GOD takes care of all who stay close to him, but he pays back in full those arrogant enough to go it alone. MSG

Give your life to God, stay close to Him and God is there for you. If we are proud enough to create our own story, to do life on our own, it’s going to be a struggle.

The best thing you can do for God is to embrace what He has done for you. First, we submit to Christ as our Lord and Savior and recognize that we are completely dependent on Christ for real life. Secondly, we live every day in faith by taking full responsibility for ourselves and our decisions.

So here is my question today. Are you inviting God into your story or are you submitting to Christ as your Lord and Savior and taking whatever role God gives you in His story?