Summary: To understand relationships, you first have to understand yourself. So today we’re going to answer the questions, who are we and what does it mean to be made in God’s image?
Who am I?
Do you know what is one of the most amazing statements made in Scripture? We’re made in the image of God. That’s a pretty incredible thing to say and it’s key for our relationships. To understand relationships, you first have to understand yourself. So today we’re going to answer the questions, who are we and what does it mean to be made in God’s image?
First, we are intentionally made. I’m the fourth child of four in my family and my next oldest sibling is five years older than me. Now what does that tell you? I was a surprise. But I wasn’t a mistake. God is the giver of all life and He never makes mistakes! You weren’t a mistake or an accident either! You are the intentional creation of God. In the first five days of creation, God’s approach to creation seems to be a bit permissive. The phrase we see repeated over and over again in Genesis 1 is, "Let there be…" When God creates light he says, "Let there be light." When God creates plants he says, "Let there be…." When God creates animals he says, "Let there be…." However, when God creates human beings he says, there is much greater intentionality. God says, "Let us make…" You weren’t a mistake or an afterthought. You are the intentional creation of God. Understanding our true identity and experiencing our full potential begins with realizing that we are God’s idea and God’s intent. If so, then our identity, our worth, our value, our significance, and our purpose comes from God and God alone.
Second, our connection to God is life giving. Genesis 1 begins with: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” The word used for “Spirit of God” in Hebrew is “ruach” which means wind. In chapter two, we have the image of God molding Adam from the dirt and then breathing into him the breath of life, “ruach’ into Adam. Everyone take a big deep breath and exhale. That is the sound of breathing. It is the sound of new life. The psalmist’s declares, "Let everything that has breath, praise the Lord." Our connection to God is life giving as He gives us the breath of life. Think for a moment of the very first time a child takes it’s breath after being born. That’s the breath of life and the breath of God giving them life. It is as real as the very breath in our lungs. And as we grow, our relationship to and connection with God is meant to be not only life giving but life sustaining. Somehow we have managed to reduce this connection to a 15 minute briefing session in the morning and maybe a shout out before we go to sleep at night. Our connection to God is essential, and should be as consistent as the very breath in our lungs because it gives us life.
Third, we are meant to be vulnerable and authentic. When God created Adam and Eve in Genesis 2, he placed them in the Garden of Eden. The author of Genesis sums up his description of paradise by saying the man and his wife were naked and felt no shame. In fact, he mentions Adam and Eve’s nakedness five times in the opening chapters of Genesis. The author isn’t just making an off-handed comment about Adam and Eve’s inhibitions. He is describing something profound about the very nature and connection between Adam, Eve and God. When you’re naked, you can’t cover up who you are. There no masks, no facades and no clothes defining who you are, just complete and utter authenticity. Adam and Eve are so connected to God and each other that they can walk around naked and feel no shame, no insecurity and no anxiety. In other words, they were comfortable in their own skin. And this is what God not only desires for us but also desires for our relationships with Him and with others. We are meant to be vulnerable and authentic because God made himself vulnerable and authentic to us. The walks taken each afternoon with God in the Garden are meant to describe intimacy and being real with one another. But God also made us vulnerable because he has given us free will to choose him. Rather than being forced to worship God and love him, we are given the freedom to choose God or not. In doing so, God made himself open to rejection and thus vulnerable to be hurt.
Fourth, we are sinners. Things look really good in Genesis 2 as Adam and Eve enjoy a great relationship with each other and a perfect relationship with God. But in chapter 3, things take a turn for the worse when Adam and Eve disobey God. They eat from the forbidden tree and then realize they’re naked. Guilt and shame envelop them. So, they hide from God, the one who created them, who knew who they were, and who gave them their worth, identify and value. Too often, we look to something outside of God to tell us who we are and how much we are worth, whether that be our job, our spouse, our clothes, the things we own, our home, our friends or our accomplishments. And when we do, our relationship to God is broken because we’re looking for something else to be god in our lives. There just seems to be something inside us which draws us to search for all of these things apart from God.