Karen and I just returned from being with our son Daniel and his wonderful family.  When I see Daniel and his son John I see so many similar characteristics.  From their red hair to their passionate personality I see how John was made in the image and likeness of his father Daniel, so too with our oldest son David and his wonderful son Caleb.  When I see Caleb I see David when he was a little boy. I see his continual smile, good nature, and huge heart. They say when you see the son you see the father, well my prayer is that my sons (all three) will have a greater walk with the Lord than I and be conformed into the image of God.  When we see our grandchildren we see how they were made in the image of their father. This continual process of being made in the image of our father is a spiritual principle that God has ordained for our lives.  We must understand this process if we are ever going to come to the completed image of our Heavenly Father.  Caleb and John were made in the image of their fathers, but they were not made complete in their development, they both still have to grow and mature if they are going to come into the completed image of their fathers, well this principle holds true for our lives in the spiritual realm. We see this truth of being made in the image of our Father in the Book of Genesis.  In the first Chapter of Genesis we read, “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”  (Genesis 1:26)  Man was made in the image of God, but like Caleb and John man was not made complete and needs to grow and develop into a completed image of his Father.  Here we see “And God said” another continual process in our lives we must come to understand if we are ever to come to the completed image of our Father.  God said it and now it must come to pass.  Anything God said is truth, there is no doubting or rejecting what God says.  God’s spoken and written words are a continual revelation of our Father and reveals the critical need of being made into His image, that we must believe and mingle a part of our daily lives if we are ever going to come into His image. We see this truth of being made into the image and likeness of our father as something God wants in our lives as seen in the life of Adam who was made in the image of God.  In Genesis Chapter five we see this process and revelation being carried out in the life of Adam, “And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:” (Genesis 5:3) But like Adam, Caleb,  and John Seth was not born as a fully matured developed image of their father, they were only born in the likeness and image of their father and had to grow to become a completed image and likeness. And likewise when God created Adam in His image and likeness he was not made in the complete image of God, but had to grow and develop. Now the image of God was there, but it was latent. When talking a picture using film the image on the film is there, but it is latent. The likeness and image is there, but it is not developed and cannot be seen until the film is processed.  As with Adam there was a latent image of God in him when he was created that had to be developed. So too in our lives when we become new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17) created in Christ Jesus there is a latent image of God in us that God MUST be able to develop in us if we are going to look and operate like God. Now God begins to develop us by doing and providing certain things in our lives.  It is important to know God provided everything Adam needed before what we call the “Garden of Eden” was created.  Please do not miss this point. Adam had everything he needed before God put him into the garden. It is important to know I am strictly speaking from what the Bible says (by verse) and not some religious denominational doctrinal belief. So too in our lives God provides (and only God can provide) all we need to grow and develop to come to the image and likeness of our Father.  In Genesis we read, “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree (that would include the tree of good and evil and the tree of life), in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.” (Genesis 1:29) All that Adam needed for his physical growth and for his physical maintenance God had provided for him.  Now after this God planted a garden and put man in the midst. “And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. (Genesis 2:8) Please notice God said “the man whom he had formed” drawing our attention to the forming process and not the creating (Strong’s #1254, to create, shape, form) process. The word “formed” (Strong’s #3334, to bind, be distressed, be in distress, be cramped, be narrow, be scant, be in straits, make narrow, cause distress, beseige) here has nothing to do with making or creating, but to cause to suffer distress.   So now God planted a garden and put Adam in it for a greater forming process, well guess what my friend God too has a garden just for us. The physical Adam was already created and already provided for there was nothing God needed to add for Adam for his physical provision, but now God does something else, something different. For now God must provide for His spiritual being.  After caring for Adam’s physical development God must now provide for Adam’s spiritual growth, maintenance, for his spiritual welfare and development. To do this God plants a garden and puts Adam into the garden in order to form Adam’s character, to development his spirit man, and to develop this latent image and likeness God has put within him. ”And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant (precious in the Greek) to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” (Genesis 2:9) Maybe not precious to see to look at or behold, but precious for the vision and spiritual insight God wanted to bring Adam into, “and good for food.” But the physical food had already been provided (Genesis 1:29).  This no doubt was for another type of feeding and goes well with the word following, “the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” So these were provisions God has laid down for Adam to use to develop into the image of God.  Do not ever forget God planted “the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” The devil did not plant these trees God planted them.  So now in Genesis 2:15, “And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress (Strong’s #5647, to serve or translated five different times in the Old Testament as worshipper) it and to keep (Strong’s #8104, to obey, observe (like keep My commandants) or take heed) it.” (Genesis 2:15) I wonder where Adam existed before he was put in the garden?  I wonder where God took Adam from so that He could put him in the garden?  Now the Bible does not say so, but I believe Adam was where he ended up in life.  Where we all end up in life, the same place we start from in life, the heart of God.  When God made man He contemplated (paused and thought) “let us make man in our own image and after our own likeness.” Here God is speaking these words out of a longing heart for man to know Him, but for this to happen man had to be developed spiritually to grow in understanding and in the ways God operates. There must be  developed in Adam (and is us) an attitude of dependence and obedience. Remember the physical means for Adam’s life was already provided, but his spiritual life needed to be developed through a process of approving and qualifying so he could move from one level of obedience (glory) to the next level of obedience (glory).  Our next level of usefulness in God depends not on our gifts and abilities, but on our willingness and obedience to endure God’s developing program. God cares not how well we sing, play an instrument, dance, how fast we can run, shoot a basketball, or preach and teach, but God cares about how obedient and willing we are to His word.  For Adam the dressing and keeping of the garden was more an attitude of learning and worship then one of service and duty in responding to God’s approaches. Obedience was God’s goal in Adams’s life.  Adam’s approach back to God was on a spiritual level and not sweat effort, because Adam did not till the ground (Genesis 3:19) until after Adam sinned. God would even come and talk with Adam (as seen in Genesis 3:6) in the cool of the evening.  God’s first approach to man is always on a spiritual level to develop him into His likeness and image. So if God is developing Adam into His own image Adam will have to by necessity be brought into the power of choice and many other things in his life, ”And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:  17But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17)  Adam’s development program was a garden of plenty and his approving test was whether or not he would believe God’s word. When God is working and developing us He will always come and inspect us and will expect to see in us a manifestation of the works He is putting into us. I find it amazing to know God expects certain things in us to grow and produce. God expects honesty, integrity, honor, virtue (strength), humbleness, gentleness, and so much more to grow and produce a harvest in us so that others can partake of God’s divine goodness in us. The seed that is sown in the ground is not money as many TV evangelists and preachers spin their lies of manipulation and control (they are so deceptive to those who know not the truth of the word of God), but is the words of God that has been planted in our heart.  If this seed takes root and dies then we too can fall into the ground (John 12:24) and die to our selfishness and self-seeking life. Sadly we know the rest of the story how Adam failed and was not developed. From what we can read in the Bible God never saw His purpose done in Adam. But always know God’s purpose will be completed in time and by someone.  After Adam God continued to lay foundations in many people until His precious Son Jesus Christ was born into the world to be the second Adam of which God’s purpose was completed. Jesus is the mature and completed image of the Father, solely dependent on His Father for everything.  I wonder what impact the church would have on those folks lost if we (the Body of Christ) were solely dependent on God for everything? God’s goal (now and has always been) to conform us into the image (Romans 8:29) of Jesus Christ, thus we being conformed into the image of God. Jesus was God on earth to show us how His Father operates and functions, to show us His Father’s dedication (love) to us. God has no plan or objective in making us rich, happy, or popular (like most in the church today believe), but still desires to complete what He started backed in Genesis, to conform us into His image.

You know it is really easy to beat up Brother Adam, but guess what, God desires to develop us too. God too has planted a garden for our lives to be developed and matured in.  Oh it may not have the tree of the knowledge of good and evil or the tree of life, but make no mistake my friend the consequences for failure is the same for us as it was for Adam – sin, a willful walking away from God, and an eternal separation from God if we do not repent. In life today failure in God is not an option, yet we play fast and loose with God. Oh Lord please forgive us! The price for us to pay to become conformed in the image of God is the same price Jesus paid, “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.  9Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:” (Philippians 2:6-9) Never think the Father gave Jesus a name which is above all names because He was God’s Son, oh no my friend. Jesus was given His name, power, and authority because He willfully became (a process of development) obedient, the requirement to become the image of God.