Do you ever consider what it means to be made in the image of God? I can’t say that I specifically meditate on it as a rule, but the question was posed at a meeting at church last night. I found it something very interesting to ponder . . . hard to answer, or at least hard to immediately react to. It brings up more questions, such as but what does He look like? Is my image not a representation of who I am? Is it not an authentic reflection of me?
That being said, if I have been made in the image of God, then, wouldn’t this mean that in some manner I am He and He is me? Surely that cannot be the case as it counters the first commandment as I understand it. I needed to unpack this further, so first I looked to His word and one verse which caught my eye was the following:
“But if we walk in the light,
as he is in the light,
we have fellowship with one another,
and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
” 1 John 1:7 NIV
This one made me think, but I wanted more so I consulted the dictionary. That was illuminating for in it I learned that an image is a counterpart, a representation, a reproduction. Wow. I reread that and then reread it again. If I take that definition to define my being made in the likeness or image of God, then I am a reproduction . . . having attributes of the “real” and perhaps then being the only visible representation some with whom I interact may see at a given moment. That’s powerful stuff. Likewise, in the quote above from 1 John, by walking in the light, we are in fellowship or kinship with Him and through Him purified.
That takes my breath away. The notion of being pure . . . I’ve known since I was a wee one that my sins were forgiven, that I could repent knowing that if I truly did so, my sins were gone. Purified? Wow, who among us feels pure? I heard a friend describe his wife in those terms yesterday and it made me want to cry. I cannot imagine what it must be like to be so loved. I said as much to him. As I recall, he scolded for interrupting. lol It struck me, falsely, at that moment though that surely I have never been loved to that degree? I’m sure my friend knew the track my mind was on and thus his scolding was to draw me back onto the right track . . . a valiant effort. When he reads this he’ll know I have finally, perhaps, gotten there.
That look I saw in his eyes as he spoke of his wife so lovingly? That love I almost envied? I say almost because I don’t want love that belongs to another. I want my own. I only just now while I am putting these thoughts to paper finally connected with what it all really means. I do have that love, that lover, and I have been made pure and in the image of God. There is nothing greater.
We are instructed to love God with all our being and to love ourselves as we love one another. Oh, I know I said that in different order than we are accustomed to hearing. It’s easier to take hold of worded that way. It is the way our discussion leader worded it last night. I’ve been encountering the concept of self-love a lot lately. It sounded weird, wrong, and perhaps impossible. Yet, if I am made pure by the love my triune God and created in His image, and so are each of you, how can I fail to know and share that love? It’s part of my DNA!
What is it we are reflecting to the world? Are we living into what is real? Our help is within us!