Who am I? That seems to be the age old question, right?
“Left to themselves, humans never reach right answers to the question, “Why am I here?”1
Jesus had a lot to say about trying to figure things out apart from Him, Jesus says2
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
It is imperative we look to scripture to find meaning, truth and purpose for ourselves.
“Then 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 birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”3
In reading scripture, especially as leaders, we must view it as truth. And the truth explained here is simply this, we as humans are all made in the image of God, with dignity and value. In Genesis 9:6 it is repeated in a universal context when God speaks of His creation of man.4
“Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.”
This following commentary explains this verse well,5
“It is true that image has been injured by the fall, but it is not lost. In this view, a high value is attached to the life of every man, even the poorest and humblest, and an awful criminality is involved in the destruction of it.”
In addition to this understanding of human value, we must realize that we have blown it, and we find ourselves in desperate need of redemption, and the redeemer is Jesus.
Jesus is always the hero, and history and all of its scenes point back to Him. In Colossians 3:9-106 it explains the need for the Holy Spirit’s power to renew our minds back to our image in God as Christians. It reads:
“Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.”
Without Jesus, how we are imaging God is radically distorted by sin,7 and through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are being transformed daily if we are in Christ.
The Bible says that His law is light (Psalms 119:105), and to image Him without distortion means to obey Him and follow His instruction to have life. A working definition of imaging God is clearly defined by Pastor Bill Clem, a Pastor at Mars Hill Church Ballard, he states,8
“Imaging God is the human capacity to declare God as your ultimate value through a life of worship, loving others, and bearing the fruit of being transformed by God.”
Memorize This Scripture
Colossians 3:2 (ESV)
“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”
- This may take a while, but take time to journal and consider these following distortions of imaging God, and confess what distortion you may be mirroring in your own life to another friend. Please note the parenthetical scripture following each statement; it is the scriptural rebuttal to the preceding distortion.
- I am what I do or whether I fail or succeed (Col. 3:12-14)
- I am what’s been done to me (Phil. 3:8-10)
- I am my relationships , roles and responsibilities (Matt. 7:24-27)
- I am my roles and responsibilities (Phil. 4:11-13)
- Sin as a noun (1 John 2:1-2)
- What does imaging God look like and mean for us as leaders in our families and work-places?
Things to Pursue on Your Own
- Lectio Divina is an ancient spiritual discipline that is still being practiced today by many faithful Christians. Based on your answer with the group questions of pinpointing your common identity distortion, practice with a lectio divina format using the proceeding scripture next to the distortion that you pinpointed with the group. The following set of stages and/or movements is the standard in lectio divina as described in Dr. Bruce Demarest’s book, Satisfy Your Soul: Restoring the Heart of Christian Spirituality.9
- Read (read the scripture slowly)
- Meditate (think and ponder on the words of the scripture that jumped out to you)
- Pray (ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand and be transformed, talk with God and worship Him)
- Contemplate (just remain in His presence as He does His work, this may mean remaining silent for a while)
- Do a study on Zachaeus in Luke 19
- What was Zachaeus’ profession?
- What was his identity distortion?
- How did he understand this new gospel identity?
- Take out your spouse or best friend out to dinner and share with them how God is working in your life and how important that person is to you. Ask each other questions as to how you can image the gospel and a grace filled life to people around you, and how as Christians, you can image God together.
Easley, K. H. (2002). Holman QuickSource guide to understanding the Bible (130). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers. ↩
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Jn 15:5). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society. ↩
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Ge 1:26-27). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society. ↩
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Ge 9:6). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society. ↩
Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Ge 9:6). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc ↩
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Col 3:9–10). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society. ↩
Clem, Disciple. ↩
Bruce Demarest, Satisfy Your Soul: Restoring the Heart of Christian Spirituality (NavPress, 1999), 320. ↩