The Image of God

Have you ever felt like you didn’t belong?

I grew up in Germany as a military brat—the youngest of four siblings. My siblings were all close in age and often did things together. I am five years younger than my closest sibling, so I often played alone.

I also have some very fond memories with my siblings from my childhood when we lived in Wiesbaden, Germany. I remember sledding down “suicide hill” on our wooden sled with us cheering each other on. I remember crossing the busy street outside my neighborhood with my brothers to walk to local shopping, bakeries, and candy stores. I remember the softball games in the big lot behind our complex, and so many other things we did and places we went.

Perhaps what makes those memories rich and vibrant still today is the atmosphere and attitudes we had toward each other. There was joy and cooperation. We treated each other kindly and showed respect for one another. We valued each other. And we are worth valuing!

With the cousins

Visiting the cousins. I’m the tag-along in the back.

Value is the key.

God values each of us. He created us each in His own image! He thought so highly of humanity that He formed us to directly and correctly represent Himself to all of creation. You are the very image of God! You were uniquely and perfectly made to perfectly reflect God.

God created humanity in God’s own image, in the divine image God created them, male and female God created them. Genesis 1:27 (CEB)

God created humanity to be in a collaborative relationship with His will and purposes. At the end of the first chapter of Genesis, God blessed humanity and commissioned us to fill the earth (be fruitful and multiply) and to extend God’s kingdom over the earth (subdue or master it). And once He had blessed us and established a plan to extend His glory over the face of the earth through us, He called it supremely good.

But something happened.

The crafty serpent, our enemy, the devil, sold Adam and Eve a half-truth. Of course, a half-truth is just as good as a lie. He told them that if they ate the fruit they would not die but would rather become like God knowing good from evil (Genesis 3:4-5). It’s true they wouldn’t die, and it’s true they would clearly see good and evil. But the big lie was that they would become like God. You see, they already were! They were like God—they were His image bearers. They were the very imago dei, tselem Elohim¸ or image/reflection of God!

So, Adam and Eve sold our birthright to rule over creation with God for a taste of something else—for a taste of forbidden fruit. Like Esau, humanity’s freely given birthright was sold to fill a fleeting appetite—a taste of stew, a bite of fruit. And like Esau, Adam and Eve discovered that what was sold couldn’t just be taken back by the Father!

Our birthright had to be purchased at a higher price. So, God made a way for us to be reborn (John 3) and reclaim the birthright that was bought and returned to the family through the sacrifice of Jesus. God did that for you because, no matter what happened or what Adam and Eve did, He still values each one of us as supreme reflections of His very image.

We have the opportunity through Jesus and by the power of the Holy Spirit to be restored to that divine relationship that God created from the beginning of time for us. By Christ, we once again have the right to become princes and princesses and to be called the children of God, the Almighty, the Ruler of Creation (1 John 3:1).

Ours is a relational assignment. In other words, everything we are commanded to do is based on a present-tense relationship with God. The partnership is to demonstrate relationship. This is so very valuable to Him. To say that God needs us would be incorrect, of course. He is self-contained. He needs nothing. But He passionately desires to share His rule with those He made in His image, who worship Him by choice. –Bill Johnson, The Essential Guide to Healing