Whose Image are We Bearing?

By Kelsey Sorvick

As followers of Jesus, we are called to be His image bearers. Everything we do, whether a major feat or a mundane task of daily living, should be carried out with the goal of bringing glory to the Lord and striving to be like Jesus. The opportunities to be an image bearer of Christ are countless, and are unique to each of our situations.

In bringing a meal to a neighbor in need, we are bearing the image of the Lord and His provision.

When I clean up my messy house, I am bearing the image of Christ's redemption of the mess that sin makes in our lives.

When we face the daily work grind with discipline and perseverance, we bear the image of Christ's faithfulness and His relentless pursuit of us.

In carrying out these image-bearing tasks, it is important to evaluate our hearts. Perhaps the most famous image bearer of Christ was Paul, and in looking at the book of Acts, we continually see that his heart beat to bring glory to the Lord. In Acts 19:1-22, we see Paul in Ephesus as an image bearer in some “major feat” moments, like relying upon the Lord for the power to perform miracles and healing. He is also an image bearer in some  mundane moments, as he demonstrates the Christ-like qualities of patience and perseverance during a two-year teaching stint. Paul used every opportunity to give glory to the Lord rather than promote himself in any way.

But the narrative changes a bit when we read next about the seven sons of Sceva, who are magicians attempting to cast out demons in the supposed name of the Lord, with the desire to glorify themselves rather than bear witness to Jesus.

Apparently, Jewish magicians were common in those days, and it seemed that there was a small epidemic of proclaimed followers of Jesus who were holding on to the old ways of performing magic. Their attempt to ride on Jesus' coattails, name dropping the Savior in hopes that it would make their magic work, backfires on the sons of Sceva when one particular demon asks, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” The demons then proceed to beat the living daylights out of the smooth-talking phonies. 

The sons of Sceva erred in that the image they chose to bear was not of Christ and His power, but of themselves and their own glory. This bears meaning in our lives when we are asked the same question the demon posed to them: “Who are YOU?” Our answer should reveal that our identity lies in Jesus Christ.

So let us evaluate our hearts. Are we, like Paul, ministering to others out of the overflow of our relationship with Jesus with the desire to glorify Him? Or are we more like the sons of Sceva, name dropping the Savior in hopes that it will make ourselves appear more holy? Are we attempting to bear our own image, under the mask of following Jesus? May we strive to be image bearers of the Lord, pointing others steadfastly to Him.