A Conforming Light

For unto those whom he knew beforehand, he also marked out beforehand the way that they might be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. – The Apostle Paul (Romans 8:29, JB2000)

Pictured above is the Fastnet Rock Lighthouse. It was constructed in 1899 on Fastnet Rock, a slate-granite islet in the southern coast of County Cork, Ireland. This granite tower which measures 177 feet (the tallest in Ireland) was built to replace the previous cast iron one erected in 1853. You can still see part of the original lighthouse’s base on the highest part of the rock. Fastnet Rock is also known as The Teardrop of Ireland because it was the last piece of land that Irish emigrants saw as they sailed away to the New World.

Due to its location, the topography of the islet, and the amount of granite needed for its construction, this lighthouse is considered one of the greatest feats of its time. It actually took 8 years to complete!

A quick glance at this lighthouse today and one would think that it is part of the islet itself. Not only are their colors and shades strikingly similar, but so is their texture. The natural rock formation was obviously there before the lighthouse. In fact, the area where the tower now sits had to be leveled prior to setting its foundation. During its early years, the unweathered lighthouse was completely white.  It was once compared to “a beautiful bride on her wedding day in a lovely lace dress.” Unfortunately, the same battering waves, inclement weather, and resilient marine algae that have stricken the very small island over the years have taken their toll on the towering beacon. They have caused its base to change color and now it resembles the rocks around it.

Scriptures declare that even before we were created, God had already planned to conform us to the image of His Son.¹ This process actually begins with our confession of Christ as Lord and Savior. And while it is entirely a work of the Holy Spirit (through sanctification),² our job is to submit to His leading and respond in obedience to God’s word. In other words, God imparts to us a new nature the moment we place our faith in Jesus. He then continues to cleanse, purify, and renew us through our commitment to spiritual disciplines (prayer, fasting, bible study, worship, fellowship, witnessing). The result is an ongoing inner transformation that allows us to conform (become similar in character) to the person of Jesus Christ. 

HNY17Persecution caused many of the early followers of Jesus to be scattered throughout Judaea and Samaria. Some of them traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus, but it was at Antioch that they were first called Christians because their behavior, activity, and speech were like Christ.3 Contrary to what some teach, the word Christian does not mean “little Christ.” That idea erroneously suggests that we are diminutive copies or duplicates of Christ. “Christian” actually derives from the Greek word Christianos,. which is a combination of Christos (anointed, messiah) and ianos, a suffix denoting adhering or belonging to and commonly applied to slaves.

1 LH

We are not called to morph into small Jesuses. We are called to be “like” Him. To be a Christian simply means to choose to believe in, submit to, and obey Jesus’ teachings, and strive to live as He did. It is important to understand, however, that living like Jesus does not save us. Amidst all the chaos, feuding, and acts of hate and evil, the world is filled with “good” people. But generosity, kindness, compassion and even religious traditions do not automatically grant anyone access to heaven. If it were so, then the entire Bible and the Christian theology would be false and useless. But the irrefutable, inerrant, and life-changing word of God declares that salvation is through faith in Christ and Him alone.4 That same faith allows God’s Spirit to work in us and compels us to follow in the footstep of our Savior. Good works are a result of salvation, not vice versa. Jesus is the Rock of our salvation. If we remain firmly anchored in Him we eventually begin to live, love, act, and react like He did while on earth. That is, we slowly conform to His likeness, pretty much like the Fastnet Rock Lighthouse has been conforming to the image of the rock upon which it stands.

Becoming like Christ may seem like an impossible task at times,  especially when we have to face difficult and unexpected challenges in our lives. But let us not lose heart and trust that if Jesus himself prayed that we would become one with Him as He is one with the Father,5 then God is most definitely involved in the process. Plus, we have been given all the tools necessary to help us. The change begins on the inside in our spirit being where we are made right with God the moment we accept Jesus in our hearts. Then, through obedience to God’s word, it slowly begins to shape our way of thinking making itself evident on the outside in the way we live day by day. In fact, it should even shape the way we treat our physical bodies for it becomes the temple of the Holy Spirit.6 So remember, spiritual re-birth is just the beginning. Remaining in Christ and His word is what helps us in the process of becoming A Conforming Light.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, you are the Rock upon which I stand. Thank you for the sanctifying work you are doing in me. Help me to stay committed to your word so that I may continue to conform more and more to your likeness. I surrender to the leading of your Holy Spirt. For it is my desire to reflect you and the light you brought into the world every day of my life. This I pray in your precious name, amen. 

SCRIPTURE REFERENCES
1 “For unto those whom he knew beforehand, he also marked out beforehand the way that they might be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” – Romans 8:29, (JB2000)
2 “[The elect who are] chosen by the foreknowledge of God the Father and sanctified by the Spirit for obedience to Jesus Christ…” -1 Peter 1:2 
3 “…and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.” Acts 11:26 (ESV)
4 ” Salvation is found in no one else [but Jesus], for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” – Acts 4:12
5 “I am not asking on behalf of them alone, but also on behalf of those who will believe in Me through their message, that all of them may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I am in You…” -John17:21
6 “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God with your body.” – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (BSB)
-ALL SCRIPTURE IS QUOTED FROM THE NIV EXCEPT WHERE SPECIFIED.
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4 thoughts on “A Conforming Light

  1. I’m so glad God does not leave us alone in the process of becoming like Him, floundering and ever-changing. The very definition of ‘process’ is ‘development’. Thanks for this great reference using the lighthouse illustration. So appropriate! I think this light house is one of the most impressive I’ve seen!

    Liked by 1 person

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