Created in God’s Image

May 13, 2019

Genesis 1:27 says that we are created in the image of God. What does that mean? That we look like God? That we are God? That we resemble Him?  As with many phrases in the Bible, it is open to interpretation, but I think of humans being created in the image of God in this way: that God’s very Spirit lies within us as a potential to be realized, to be brought forward in our lives. It is part of the very nature of our being that we can mirror God in our lives and work and relationships, if we turn towards Him, if we repent.

 

And how do we bring forward this potential within us, God’s image within us? We follow Jesus’ Two Great Commandments. First, we offer our lives up as a living sacrifice to God, all of who we are: heart, mind, soul and body. We offer up all that stands between us and God, all our guilt and shame, all the times we have fallen short of His will for us, all that we have done and all that was done to us. When we put all of ourselves on His altar for healing, He heals and transforms and deals with all that is so human about us:

our own ways of doing and being,

our own opinions about everything,

our own expectations and assumptions about life,

our own rebellious nature and our free will

all that we have learned from the world’s ways.

 

As these are healed one by one and layer by layer, we start the process of becoming ourselves as we were created to be. Our own true selves then rest in God and align themselves with His will for us. We live out our created purpose as it is revealed to us. Then we are in the process of bringing forward that potential in us to mirror God’s nature, His image within us, as we were created to be. It is a process that lasts a lifetime from the time we first repented.

 

Every human being, “male and female He created them”[1] in His own image, has the potential within him or her to mirror God’s very essence. No matter what anyone has done, no matter the sins they have committed, at any moment one can repent, turn back to the One who created them, bring his/her whole self to God in love, and learn all they need to know about God’s love and providence. Just by following where God leads them, they will bring forward their true potential within to be loving and forgiving and full of mercy and justice.

 

This is true of each one of us: the more we allow God to heal us and to lead us, the more we will mirror His very essence in our lives. This is a gift beyond imagining for us; we can be redeemed. Realizing this potential within each of us is our birthright!  Our destiny!  If only we will repent and consent to God’s loving presence in our lives.

 

In the Old Testament the Hebrew word for repent is “sub” which means turning back, turning to, returning, restoring, bringing back and recovering, referring to something that is already there.[2] In the New Testament Greek the word for repent is “metanoia” which means a change of mind or of any or all elements composing one’s life: attitudes, thoughts and behaviors “concerning the demands of God for right living.”[3] Both the Hebrew and the Greek words have to do with restoring what has been lost and aligning our behaviors and thoughts and attitudes with God’s will for us. Repentance is about realigning our lives, about bringing forward the Indwelling Spirit of God, so that He is ruling our lives, not our own egocentric selves.

 

Just think of how the disciples were prepared for being apostles of the new religion. First, they followed Jesus for two years and learned all about Him and His ways. Certainly, they were no better than other human beings in their failings, but they were called by Jesus and answered His call. They experienced the risen Christ. And then, as He ascended into heaven they were given the gift of the Holy Spirit so that they could carry on His work in the world. This gift was given to them as Jesus had promised them: “when the Spirit of truth comes[forward in you], he will guide you into all the truth.”[4]

 

The pattern of the lives of the disciples/apostles is one that works for us, too. We believe Jesus when He calls us. We follow Him, learning His ways. And then, when we are ready, we are given the gift of the Holy Spirit alive in us, spreading the Gospel in whatever way we are called—this is the potential we have lived since our birth.

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Questions to ponder over the week: Do I believe that every person is made in God’s image? Will I treat every person, friend or unknown or enemy with love? Will I allow God to bring forward His image in me? Will I follow Him wherever He leads?

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Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who allow God to bring forward His image within us. May we be faithful, loving, merciful and forgiving with everyone. May we be love in this world.

 

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[1] Genesis 1:27

[2] Goodrich & Kohlenberger III, Zondervan NIV Exhaustive Concordance, 2nd Edition, Zondervan Publishing HOuse, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Strong’s  #8740, p. 1497.

[3] Ibid, Strong’s #3566, p. 1570.

[4] John 16:13

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