Man was made in the image and likeness of God. God is a Spirit and man was a spirit given a physical body to hold that spirit. He was created without sin. Adam was filled with love and God’s Spirit was in him and connected to his spirit. God made him pure, as God is pure. He did not know evil. He loved God with his mind, soul and strength. Man had complete confidence because Adam could not love God and others unless he first loved himself. Later we learned that it was selfishness that was a distortion of love and a sin.

When man was created, God gave him dominion over all the earth and gave him the talents and abilities to govern the earth and all living things in it. He was to live with the right relationship to God and other humans. In God’s likeness, humans were given the power to be God’s co-workers and be a part of God’s overall plan for the universe.

Adam and Eve were not to eat of the fruit from the tree in the midst of the garden. They were told: If you do, you shall surely die. As a result of their disobedience, they became separate and disconnected from God’s Spirit and they fled in fear from the Lord’s presence. They lost their image and likeness of God by being disconnected and received the likeness of the devil with sensual desires and appetites. Instead of their minds being controlled by their spirit and connected to God’s Spirit, it became the body that controlled the mind.

As a result of the body controlling man, the Old Testament describes the evil that existed, beginning with Adam’s sons and it increased until man was so evil that God destroyed them with the flood. It wasn’t many years after the flood that man continued his evil ways. Man lived separated from God and in rebellion. Ancient philosophers use to say, if God had not hidden from humans the glory of their own soul, they could be overwhelmed with pride. Remember when Nimrod and his followers were building the Tower of Babel, God said let’s change their language or nothing they do will be impossible. Man’s abilities were unlimited but Satan’s tempting man to fall, caused fear to impair man’s potential that God created man to have, in order for man to have dominion over the earth.

It was not until Christ’s resurrection that man was able to again receive the Holy Spirit. There were times in the Old Testament that the Holy Spirit was on a person but not in them. God’s plan, once Christ explained man’s purpose, were we able to obtain a shadow of God in his image and likeness. I John 3:2 – “Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is.” At that time I believe we will be as Adam and Eve prior to the fall and no longer just a shadow of God but as a child of God.

God knew prior to the creation of man what the future would be like. Once man fell God planned to send His Son for the salvation of man, with a plan to once again place His Spirit into the lives of one who would accept Christ as His Savor. We believe it was God’s plan to allow man to once again have the image and likeness of God.

Matthew 16:24 – 26 – “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?
As we have previously stated and let me repeat, it was man’s spirit that controlled the mind and his behavior. Once man fell from grace, it was the body that controlled the mind of man. Christ tells us we must die out to the body’s control and let God, through His Spirit, control how we live. We must stop allowing the old man or carnal nature to control who we are and become a new man living as God has always intended.

I recently talked with a person who was having problems at work. It was a big project he was directing and it affected a number of people. Those doing the installation told him what should be done to make the change. He told me he had a “gut feeling” it would not work and it didn’t. Too often those “gut feelings” is the Holy Spirit giving us guidance and direction. We must learn that Christians have an advantage having God’s Spirit connected to our spirit giving us information and we not recognizing it. Should we not, as Christian expect what Scripture promises; that the Holy Spirit is given to us to help us live our lives with God’s help?

Colossians 3:9 – 10 – “ Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”

A Christian may ask: How can I stop doing what I have done much of my life? Paul said they must get rid of the old ways and start a new life as taught by Christ and guided by the Holy Spirit. It is a process but, each day the likeness of Christ can be reproduced into a believer’s life. We have been told that our minds must be renewed and our bodies must stop controlling. How do we stop the flesh and our carnal nature from tempting us? Without the Holy Spirit we can’t. When Scripture says we must die out to self. It means stop the lusts and appetites of the body from controlling. We have been given free moral agency and can make any decision we wish. God wants us to allow our spirit to be guided by His Spirit in making our decisions and living our lives. Do you have the discipline and the love for God to make it happen?

Luke 9:23 – “Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”

Deny themselves and give up your body, (with its lusts and sinful ways) being in control and allow your spirit, connected to God, to control your mind’s urges and actions. Take up their cross by believing every day, I am the Messiah and can forgive your sins and change your life’s direction. Then follow me and live by Christ’s example. This is how God meant for you to be as His image and likeness. This is how we become a shadow of God.

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