What Does It Mean To Be Made In God’s Image?

“God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son . . . We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him.” Romans 8:29

From the very beginning, God’s plan has been to make you like his Son, Jesus. God announced this intention at creation: “Then God said, ‘Let us make human beings in our image and likeness’” (Genesis 1:26).

In all of creation, only human beings are made in God’s image. It’s a great privilege and it gives you dignity.

What does it mean to be made in God’s image? It’s one of those concepts that’s too big to fully understand, but here’s some of what it means:

  • Like God, you are a spiritual being. Your spirit is immortal and will outlast your earthly body.
  • You are intellectual. You can think, reason, and solve problems.
  • You are relational. You can give and receive real love.
  • You have a moral consciousness. You can discern right from wrong, which makes you accountable to God.

But there’s a problem: The image of God in you is incomplete and has been damaged and distorted by sin. So God sent Jesus on a mission to restore the full image that you and everyone else ever born—have lost.

What does the full “image and likeness” of God look like? It looks like Jesus Christ! 

The Bible says: “God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son . . . We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him” (Romans 8:29).

The Bible says Jesus is “the exact likeness of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4), “the visible image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15), and “the exact representation of his being” (Hebrews 1:3).

People often use the phrase “like father, like son” to refer to family resemblance. When people see my likeness in my kids, it pleases me. In the same way, God wants his children to bear his image and likeness. The Bible says you were “created to be like God truly righteous and holy” (Ephesians 4:24).

Live like an image bearer today so that when people look at you, they’ll think of how much you’re like your heavenly Father!

God’s Goal For You Is Character, Not Comfort

Take on an entirely new way of life a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.” Ephesians 4:22-24

Many religions and philosophies promote the old lie that people are divine or can become gods. Let me be absolutely clear: You will never become God or even a god.

That prideful lie is Satan’s oldest temptation. Satan wanted Adam and Eve to follow his advice and promised them this if they would: “You will be like God . . .” (Genesis 3:5).

This desire to be a god shows up every time you try to control your circumstances, your future, or people around you. But you’re a creature; you will never be the Creator. God doesn’t want you to become a god; he wants you to become godly, taking on his values, attitudes, and character. 

You are meant to “take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you” (Ephesians 4:22-24).

God’s ultimate goal for your life on Earth is not comfort but character development. He wants you to grow up spiritually and become like Christ. 

Becoming like Christ does not mean losing your personality or becoming a mindless clone. God created your uniqueness, so he certainly doesn’t want to destroy it. Christlikeness is all about transforming your character, not your personality. 

Every time you forget that character is one of God’s purposes for your life, you will become frustrated by your circumstances. You’ll wonder, “Why is this happening to me? Why am I having such a difficult time?” One answer is that life is supposed to be difficult! Difficulty enables you to grow. Remember, Earth is not heaven.

In John 10:10, Jesus promises: “I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly”. Many Christians misinterpret this promise of abundant life to mean perfect health, a comfortable lifestyle, constant happiness, full realization of your dreams, and instant relief from problems through faith and prayer.

In a word, they expect the Christian life to be easy. They expect heaven on Earth.

But God is not your genie or your servant. If you fall for the idea that life is supposed to be easy, you will become severely disillusioned and live in denial of reality. 

Life is not about you! You exist for God’s purposes, not vice versa. Why would God provide heaven on Earth when he’s planned the real thing for you in eternity?  

God gives you your time on Earth to build and strengthen your character so you’ll be ready for an eternity in heaven.

How To Become Like Christ

We shall become mature people, reaching to the very height of Christ’s full stature.”Ephesians 4:13

Discipleship is the process of becoming like Christ. It’s a journey that will last a lifetime! 

This is how it works: Every day God wants you to become a little more like him. As the Bible says, “You have begun to live the new life, in which you are being made new and are becoming like the One who made you” (Colossians 3:10).

Today people are obsessed with speed. But God is more interested in strength and stability than swiftness. You might want the quick fix, the shortcut, the on-the-spot solution. Maybe you’re looking for a sermon, a seminar, or an experience that will instantly resolve all problems, remove all temptation, and release you from all growing pains. 

But real maturity is never the result of a single experience, no matter how powerful or moving. Growth is gradual. The Bible says, “Our lives gradually [become] brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

People often build their identity around their defects. You might even tell yourself you can’t change, saying, “It’s just the way I am.” 

The unconscious worry is that if you let go of your habit, your hurt, or your hang-up, you won’t know who you are anymore. This fear can slow, or even stop, your growth.

So how do you let go of those old habits and grow to be more like Christ? How do you conform your character to his? By developing Christ-like habits to replace those old habits.

Your character is the sum total of your habits and habits take time to develop. You can’t claim to be kind unless you are habitually kind, showing kindness without even thinking about it. You can’t claim to have integrity unless it is your habit to always be honest. A husband who is faithful to his wife most of the time is not faithful at all! Your habits define your character.

There’s just one way to develop the habits of Christ-like character: You have to practice them, over and over, until they become part of your identity. And that takes time! 

But over time, you and the people around you—will see the difference. As Paul urged Timothy, “Practice these things. Devote your life to them so that everyone can see your progress” (1 Timothy 4:15).

Why Having A Church Family Matters

“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:35

The Bible says a Christian without a church home is like an organ without a body, a sheep without a flock, or a child without a family. It is an unnatural state. Ephesians 2:19 says, “You belong in God’s household with every other Christian”.

Today’s culture of independent individualism has created many spiritual orphans “bunny believers” who hop around from one church to another without any identity, accountability, or commitment. Many believe it is possible to be a “good Christian” without joining (or even attending) a local church. But God strongly disagrees.

The church is so significant that Jesus died on the cross for it: “Christ loved the church and gave his life for it” (Ephesians 5:25).

Except for a few important exceptions referring to all believers throughout history, almost every time the word “church” is used in the Bible, it refers to a local, visible congregation. The New Testament assumes every Christian will be a member of a local church. 

If you follow Christ, it’s important to be committed to a specific group of disciples. A church family identifies you as a genuine believer. Jesus said, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples” (John 13:35).

Your commitment to a church identifies you as a believer but it also strengthens you as a believer. When you meet with your church, you gain motivation and encouragement from other believers, and you provide motivation and encouragement to them.

Maybe you’ve had a great week and feel like you don’t need to go to church. But if you aren’t at church, who will miss out on the encouragement you could provide? For someone on the edge of hopelessness, your warm smile or encouraging word might make all the difference. That’s what it means to be the church.

Here’s the truth: Christians need each other to grow. Many people think spiritual growth is a private matter, but God calls believers to live out their faith in community. You can’t develop a deep faith in isolation.

And when people come together in love as a church family from different backgrounds, races, and social statuses, it’s a witness to the world. As Galatians 3:28 says, “You are all the same in Christ Jesus”.

God Made You, And You Belong To Him

And Mary said: ‘My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.’” Luke 1:46-47

When it comes to planning, many Christians act like atheists. They realize Jesus saved them, but they don’t really trust him. They think they can plan their life any way they want to. But the reality is God created everyone, and he made each person for a unique purpose. He has a specific destiny for each individual.  

About two thousand years ago, God had a plan for a young woman named Mary. He had created her and chosen her to become the mother of the Son of God. 

What was Mary’s response when an angel told her about God’s plan? She didn’t say, “I’ve got my own plans for my life. I’m too busy. I have to do what’s best for me.” No, she realized God had a purpose for her life, and she was willing to do whatever he wanted. 

Her response was a song of praise: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (Luke 1:46-47). Mary recognized that God was her Lord and Savior, and she was eager to do his will. She trusted him with her life, even though she knew no one would believe her when she told them what the angel said.

Do you trust that God has made you for a specific destiny? The Bible says, “Know that the Lord is God. He made us, and we belong to him; we are his people, the sheep he tends” (Psalm 100:3).

Many people will miss God’s plan for their lives by about 18 inches the distance between their head and their heart. They intellectually believe the Gospel, but they don’t let it change their hearts.

The truth is that you were not made for your own sake. You were made by God, and you were made for God. 

You might know quantum physics. You might understand chaos theory. You may even know how to build a rocket ship. But if you don’t know God, you’ve missed the purpose of life. 

At the end of your life, God won’t care how well you did in your career or ask to see your bank account balance. Instead, he’ll ask you this: “Did you get to know me? Did you build a relationship with my Son, whom I sent to Earth to die on the cross for you?” 

The most important thing in life is to know God not to know about him, but to know
him personally.

Where Can You Find True Freedom?

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36

The world defines freedom as a life without any restraint. It’s an attitude that says, “I can do anything I want to do and say anything I want to say, without anybody telling me what to do.” 

With that kind of mindset, everybody else may get burned by you, but you get to do it your own way. That’s the world’s kind of freedom you get your freedom, but only by being totally selfish.

But the Bible says the only way to true freedom is through Jesus: “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).

God sent Jesus to proclaim and deliver freedom from the sin that keeps you trapped in a cycle of anger, envy, greed, sexual immorality, broken relationships, unforgiveness, and selfishness. 

With true freedom, you’re set free from fear, guilt, worry, bitterness, and death. You’re free to quit pretending, because you’re free to be yourself.

How do you get rid of fear and find real freedom in Jesus? By letting God love you! The Apostle John teaches this: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 4:18).

When you realize how much God loves you, you’ll begin to live and rest in that love. And when you live in God’s love, you’re free free to see life from his point of view and live the way he meant you to live. You learn that freedom isn’t something you demand or earn; it’s a gift from God.

In fact, living in God’s love is an act of worship. When you agree that God is loving, caring, and generous and begin to trust in that love, you worship him. As 1 John 4:16 says, “We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love”.

You’re Worth Being Found

For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son so that anyone who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

Some people believe that calling someone spiritually lost is a put-down. But it’s not. It’s actually a great compliment to be called spiritually lost.  

There’s a difference between losing something and misplacing something. If I misplace something, it means it wasn’t important to me. But if I lose it, it’s valuable enough for me to try to find it. You misplace a bobby pin; you lose your glasses.

People are only lost if they’re worth finding. Think of it this way: The value of a masterpiece doesn’t go down when it’s lost; it goes up.

Human beings lose a lot when they aren’t connected to God. When you’re disconnected from God, you lose your direction, God’s protection, your potential, your happiness, and your future home in heaven just to name a few. But there’s one thing you don’t lose: your value.

God loved you enough to send his very best: Jesus. The most famous verse in the Bible says, “For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son so that anyone who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

You matter so much to God that he underwent a rescue mission to come get you. He came to Earth as a little baby so that one day he could die on a wooden cross for your sin.

Jesus came to Earth because you needed him. God sent his Son to do something you could never do on your own: pay for your sins. If you didn’t need it, God wouldn’t have done it. 

Your sins have made a relationship with God impossible on your own. That’s why Jesus came to Earth to save you from everything you’ve done wrong, so that you could be forgiven and restored into a right relationship with God.

Why would God give up his divine privileges, his glory and honor, to come for your rescue? Because he loves you. He loves you more than you will ever understand. Trying to understand God’s love is like an ant trying to understand the Internet ants just don’t have the capacity. And you don’t have the capacity to fully grasp God’s love.

But you don’t have to understand God’s love. You just have to accept it and believe that you’re infinitely valued by the God of the universe, who gave his very best for you.

Are You Stuck In Spiritual Neutral?

“Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!)”Ephesians 1:4-5

A while back, a man came into my office and said, “I’m a Christian, but I don’t feel like I’m going anywhere in my spiritual growth. I’m kind of stuck in neutral.”

I said, “What do you think the problem is?” 

He said, “I think my problem is I just don’t love God enough.” 

I said, “That’s not your problem. Your problem is not that you don’t love God enough. Your problem is that you don’t understand how much he loves you.”

Love is always a response to love. The Bible says, “We love because he first loved us”(1 John 4:19). When you say, “I don’t love God,” it’s because you don’t understand just how much he really loves you.

In fact, God loved you before he even created the Earth. The Bible says it like this: “Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love” (Ephesians 1:4).

To understand your life’s purpose and calling, you have to begin with God’s nature. God is love. Love is the essence of his nature. 

And the focus of his love is you. You were created to be loved by God. 

If you grasp that profound truth and let it sink into your soul, you will find great strength, confidence, and peace. God created the entire universe in a specific way to support the existence of human beings so that he could create you and love you. 

The most important thing you can know is that God created you to love you. The most important thing you can do is to know and love him back. Loving God back is your number one purpose in life. Ants and snails do not love, but you were made in God’s image, so you can love.

Most people go their entire lives missing their purpose. They know all kinds of things stock quotes, sports scores, the latest technology but they don’t know God. They miss out on discovering the depth of God’s love and all the blessings he has in store for them.

But that doesn’t have to be true for you. God’s priority for your life is clear. It’s important to serve, obey, and trust him. But your first purpose is to love him.

How Could God Forget You?

Jesus] looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name! ‘Zacchaeus!’ he said.” Luke 19:5

For all of Zacchaeus’ life, he’d been ridiculed and rejected, first for his appearance and then for his sinful life. It’s what he’d come to expect from everyone until Jesus changed everything.

Zacchaeus was a tax collector, a Jew working for Rome. He gathered more taxes from the Jewish people than Rome required so he could get rich off of the excess. Zacchaeus was taking advantage of his own people!

But here’s what happened when Zacchaeus met Jesus: “[Jesus] looked upat Zacchaeus and called him by name! ‘Zacchaeus!’ he said” (Luke 19:5).

Jesus not only looked at Zacchaeus. Jesus also showed that he knew him by calling Zacchaeus by name. Imagine the shock Zacchaeus must have felt! How did Jesus know his name?

The name Zacchaeus means “pure one.” But that’s the last way most people probably would have described Zacchaeus. He was a corrupt government official; he was anything but pure. But when Jesus called Zacchaeus by name, it was as if he was saying, “Hey, pure one, I’m coming to your house today.” Jesus was affirming what he knew Zacchaeus could be, not what Zacchaeus was on the surface.

God does the same for you. He not only knows where you are; he knows who you are. He knows what you’re going through, why you’re going through it, and how you feel about it. He knows you better than you know yourself. He cares about you personally.

You may be afraid to get close to Jesus because you think he’s going to scold you for all the things you’ve done wrong. But Jesus wants to affirm you for who he’s created you to be. He wants to let you know how much he loves you.

The Bible says, “Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you! See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands” (Isaiah 49:15-16).

When Jesus stretched out his arms and the soldiers put nails through his hands, your name was already engraved there. When you get to heaven, there will be no scars on anyone except Jesus. He’s going to have those scars for eternity to remind you of how much he loves you. 

Through those scars, it’s as if he says, “Do you think I could forget you? Not a chance! This is how much you matter to me.”

Fulfill Your Calling Through Service

“All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.”1 Corinthians 12:27

You need to be connected to a church family so you can fulfill your calling to serve other believers in practical ways. The Bible says, “All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it” (1 Corinthians 12:27).

Your service is desperately needed in the body of Christ just ask any local church! Each believer has a role to play, and every role is important. There is no small service to God; it all matters.

Likewise, there are no insignificant ministries in the church. Some are visible and some are behind the scenes, but all are valuable. Small or hidden ministries often make the biggest difference. 

In many homes, the most important light is not the large chandelier in their dining room but the little night-light that keeps them from stubbing my toe when they get up at night. In the same way, there is no correlation between size and significance when it comes to service in the body of Christ. Every ministry matters, because we are all dependent on each other to function.

What happens when one part of your body fails to function? You get sick. The rest of your body suffers. Imagine if your liver decided to start living for itself: “I’m tired! I don’t want to serve the body anymore! I want a year off just to be fed. I’ve got to do what’s best for me! Let some other part take over.” 

What would happen? Your body would die. Today thousands of local churches are dying because of Christians who are unwilling to serve. They sit on the sidelines as spectators, and the body suffers.

God has called you to a service far beyond anything you could ever imagine. As Ephesians 2:10 says, “He has created us for a life of good deeds, which he has already prepared for us to do”.

Whenever you serve others in any way, you are actually serving God.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑