by David Nunez
Have you ever wondered why God created some things in our world we live in? A horse looking thing with horns with a 6 foot long neck, or a duck-billed, beaver-tailed mammal that lays eggs. Even in every day experiences God demonstrates His divine humor with us; brain farts, actual farts, your teens stinky socks or his/her habits of having a sea of clean (and dirty) clothes sprawled out on their bedroom floor, and even the way my dog Lady rolls around on the floor imitating Snoopy from Charlie Brown!
All of these things can be categorized by one thing: our God is so cool! He really did think of everything! Even you, God thought of everything about you before the world began! [See Ephesians 1:4] God created us with eyes to see, brains that contain approximately 100 billion neurons. Interestingly, God knew that same number would twinkle above us in the night sky- given that 100 billion stars exist in our galaxy. The intricate and delicate nature of His design for humans began where He breathed life into the first man (Adam) formed from dust [see Genesis 2:7], with dirt under His finger nails, holding him as you would a newborn- with such intimacy, raised the man up to His mouth, and breathed life into that man.
I want to focus the topic of this post on being an Image bearer of God. What might that mean? What might an image bearer of God look like? What characteristics might that person have that is different than another? While the Holy Spirit displays his character in us differently from one person to the next, his Spirit remains unchanging. The divine unity that we share in our resurrection life in Christ Jesus paves the way to answer this question. [See Romans 6:5]
What might an image bearer of God look like? Consider this for a moment- before God creates who will later be named Adam and Eve, He says, ”Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…” Genesis 1:26 [Paraphrased]
If we are familiar with the eternal life of Jesus Christ, we know He was there before the world began with God for the creation of the world. That is where the ‘our’ comes in. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The Holy Trinity. Three in one, not individual. If we are created in God’s likeness, we too must have something to do with being 3 parts to 1 whole right? Here is the way God created us- Spirit, Soul, and Body. We live 3-D baby! 1 Thessalonians 5:23 says,”Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
If we break this down even further, let's go back to Genesis. Where God is forming the first man, Adam.
“then the LORD God formed the man of dust (body) from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life (spirit), and the man became a living creature (soul).” Genesis 2:7
While this topic is an extremely dense subject to unpack in one blog, I will be breaking down each part of man in separate posts- stay tuned!
For now, I want to explain why this is so important for the title “Image bearer”. God created each one us unique in every shape, size, color, nationality, and gender. This then- if I know God like I know I do, each one of these unique characteristics of our brothers and sisters are sacred and cherished by Him. What does an image bearer look like? If you have a spouse or significant other- look at them (insert the “ooh laa laa”). If you have children, look at them. Co-workers, people you pass by in the grocery store. Every person you come into contact with is an Image bearer of God, whether they look the part or not. Because every man and woman born in all of the world has been born in the likeness of God. Born as a spirit, that has a soul, that lives in a body. Treating those as anything less than those three parts that make a person whole, leaves us believing that Soul (personality) and a Body is all that they are good for. Or even worse, which I too am unexcused from- just a Body.
Although the spiritual state may differ from one person than another (i.e. believer and unbeliever)- which I will break down in a later blog on the Spirit.
Have you experienced this before? Have you ever felt like you were just a body? How about a good personality and good looking body? I know I have been the recipient and the giver for both.
What if there is a solution, and what if I told you that it rests in the renewing of our mind? Romans 12:2 I can tell you, it is a struggle- because this is not what we see. Right? It is much easier to see someone as just a Soul and a Body, because we can’t see the Spirit. Or can we? God reminds us in Galatians 5:16,”But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” God also reminds us that out from our hearts will flow rivers of living water. [see John 7:38]
Being an image bearer is much more than what we believe makes us a “good Christian”. It is the exact imprint of God’s fingerprint on His children. The idea of an image bearer is to recognize that God created each one of us unique, male or female, black, brown, red, yellow, white… orange. But created us all in a way that we may one day receive and house God’s spirit in us, that we may be a vessel that pours out rivers of living water to all of His children.