In His book John maintains that we as humans have three images our "projected' image, our "perceived" image and of course our "actual" image.
Must admit I took a bit of a gulp when I read that because his words hit their mark with me straight away. - I would just like to share some of the things he wrote and my own thoughts on this vital message of how God really 'sees' us.
John goes on further to say that your 'perceived' image is how others see you - your 'projected' image is how you desire others to see and your 'actual' image is who you really are.
This really got me thinking - how often do we live in a world of 'projected' images - living to please others - going to and behaving in a manner that suits the occasion - like going to church and putting on your 'spiritual' face, talking in the 'spiritual' way with all the 'spiritual' cliche's.
If you were raised in Sunday School like I was - you know all the 'right' things to say to rise to almost any situation you are put into when it comes to holding your own in a 'religious' sort of way. You can carry on a discussion in a Bible study or lead a group, pray in church and do copious amounts of Bible reading with the best of them. BUT...
Where does that actually leave you in the "actual image' department?
Take Jesus for example (and you couldn't get a better one) - His 'perceived' image was atrocious - He was slandered, mocked, abused, labelled as a blasphemer and even accused of being demon possessed. He had hardly any friends and those who were, abandoned him quick enough. BUT His 'actual' image was altogether different.
In Hebrews we are told that He is the express image of the Father. So while humans saw their 'perceived' image of Jesus - God saw His "actual" image. And the "actual" image of us - it what God sees too!
Our "perceived" image does not mean a thing to God - we can look as good as we can and go to all the right places. We can meet all the right people and say all the right things but God sees who we really are.
Jesus was the same with the people He met on a daily basis as He was the Father - can we say that??? Would God be welcome to share every thought we have and every conversation?
Maybe you can see now why I took that BIG gulp after reading just a few pages of John's book.
Jesus didn't try to boost his reputation - he didn't try to get the accolades and win applause by the crowds - he actually hid himself away on many occasions. He wasn't interested in the approval of mankind.
Jesus only cared about what was important to the Father God - and we should imitate Jesus in that way.