Brennan Manning, author of “The Ragamuffin Gospel,” once said, “It is always true to some extent that we make our images of God. It is even truer that our image of God makes us. Eventually we become like the God we image.”
In the very first chapter of the very first book in the Bible we are educated as to how God decided to create us. It reads, “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27). Because God wished to be in relationship with us, He created us in His image, male and female, spirit and flesh, sinless and everlasting.
But all too soon that was not good enough. Soon we would want more. Not only did we want His image but we wanted His power, we wanted His wisdom so we took it upon ourselves to do things that selfishness creates and, because of that, we separated ourselves from God. This brought on sin which caused us to reverse the course of creation. Now we desire for God to take on our image so that we might have the power to make our own way.
Sin eventually changed the image of God in our minds. With each attempt to bring Him down to our level, He became weakened and more insignificant in our thoughts. No longer is He worthy of praise to many, now He is nothing more than an inconvenience. Because of this, many have watered down the image of God within them and it shows in their thoughts, words and deeds.
God has every right to be angry with us over this. He had given us everything we needed, but we wanted more. Throughout history we see the consequences of this decision to be our own gods, with our own image. Sin has transformed paradise into degradation.
Yet that initial image still dwells in the depths of our being. God still instills His image into each and every person. Though we have forsaken this image, God continues to work in us so that we might find His image within us once again. From 2 Corinthians 3:18, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”
God’s Holy Spirit continues to work with our own to bring us back, so that we might, “Put on a new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of the Creator” (Colossians 3:10). He has not given up on us.
He continues to mold us back into the image of our initial creation. He searches out the willing and works to instill in them a desire to be like Him, full of grace and mercy.
Our calling is to take on the image of Christ who came, not as a conquering warrior, but as a humble servant. Our image should match His in that we look to the needs of others before our own. Our soul should rejoice with His in the understanding that God loves us enough to do whatever it takes to create within us a clean heart, one that shares the very image of God’s own heart.
“As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness” (Proverbs 17:15). May this be the desire of all of God’s children. May we once again be satisfied by taking on the image of our Creator. May our hearts be like His own, may our thoughts always be governed by His wishes for us and may our image be in the form of Him who created us.
It’s not too late for us. God has a plan to bring us back into His own image. But we must be willing. No more can we desire to be our own god’s insisting that the one true God take on our image. Now we must strive with every fiber of our being to be more like Him. Together, we can, because God extends His helping hands to all who come to Him for guidance. Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, forgive our attempts to shed Your image so that we might develop our own. Teach us to better understand how taking on Your image brings us our ultimate peace. Amen.