Section Two: The Personal Characteristics of a Godly Life.
Our current theme: Characteristic Three: Being Extremely Valued.
Our reading for today: Genesis 1: 26-28, 31 (MsgB)
God spoke: “Let Us make human beings in Our image, make them reflecting Our nature, so they can be responsible for the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the cattle, and, yes, Earth itself, and every animal that moves on the face of Earth.” God created human beings; He created them godlike; reflecting God’s nature. He created them male and female. God blessed them: “Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge! Be responsible for fish in the sea and birds in the air, for every living thing that moves on the face of Earth.” … God looked over everything He had made; it was so good, so very good! It was evening, it was morning— Day Six.
It’s so sad to see how the Church has done such a masterful job at reminding folks how we’re all fallen sinners, but failed so miserably at pointing out the even greater truth that is the real game-changer in this thing called life:
In the beginning…you and I were made in the image and likeness of God!
You see, it’s been my experience that most human beings don’t need to be reminded that they are sinners. A quick overview of our broken lives, combined with an honest look at human history, brings most logical-thinking people to the conclusion that our society is wounded and, at its core, our human condition is far from the perfection we all would love to see.
But what we don’t hear often enough, in this highly critical world, is the amazing truth that every one of us on the planet (all 7.3 billion!) is a unique creation of God, a rare gem that has been formed in the Creator’s hands. A pearl of great price who has, at his or her very core, the heartbeat of goodness, a life worth living, a fiery spark that flickers with the fire of agape love deep inside.
So when we talk about becoming men and women who are commissioned by Christ to be motivated in our relationships by the agape love of God, most of us fail to step up to that level, not because we don’t want to, but because we live most of our lives with a set of blinders on; unable to see the great value of our lives or the amazing God-potential that awaits us if we’d only grasp who we truly are as human beings made in the image and likeness of our Creator/King. So this week, let’s take some time to unpack this phrase…made in the image and likeness of God.
One of the best places to start such a study is by turning to Genesis 1. But as we do so, might I suggest that we don’t go there to find logical arguments for creationism, or to build a solid case against evolution. Let’s lay the science aside for a moment, and treat these ancient words as they were meant to be read; not as science or as a textbook, but as God-breathed poetry that’s meant to stir the human soul much deeper than all that.
In the beginning; long before the big bang that birthed the cosmos; long before our sun, moon and planet were set into place; long before our ancestors took their first step on terra firma; the Creator was actively doing what all creators do.
And in that work of creation, the Creator is creating life, using a masterful, master plan that includes you, me, the other 7.3 billion people who currently share our planet, and everything large and small that surrounds our human existence. This God-plan of creation also includes every aspect of our history (things past) and everything yet to come (our future). Nothing on the Artist’s palate is there by accident, yet there seems to be a free-flow to the Creator’s work that, at times, seems so out of control, or out of our ability to fully understand.
But despite the cloud of unknowing, let’s peek once more into the Creator’s workshop on that day (Genesis calls it Day 6) when the Grand Artist first creates our ancient ancestors. Let’s listen to the conversation that’s going on between the Three Persons of the Holy Trinity…
“Let Us make human beings in Our image, make them reflecting Our nature, so they can be responsible for the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the cattle, and, yes, Earth itself, and every animal that moves on the face of Earth.”
Here, the writer of Genesis takes a one-sentence break, telling his readers his limited understanding of what has just happened…
God created human beings; He created them godlike; reflecting God’s nature. He created them male and female.
But wait. The Creator interrupts. Clearing His throat, He speaks a powerful charge over His new creation. Words of commission that, quite honestly, must have surprised the angels of heaven who were standing there, arms folded, watching these amazing events of Day 6 unfold!
“Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge! Be responsible for fish in the sea and birds in the air, for every living thing that moves on the face of Earth.”
Yowsers. Are you kidding me? Has the Creator gone mad?
Why in the world would the God-head give these new kids on the block; immature children who have never taken their tricycles out of the Garden; such a charge as this? Here on their very first day on the scene, these two human beings are being commissioned by their Creator to prosper, reproduce, fill the earth, and take charge of everything on that beautiful blue marble that He strategically placed three planets from the Sun?
What was He thinking? Didn’t God know we’d screw things up even before the first generation of these newly-formed creatures died out?
Our Holy Scriptures indicate to us that, indeed, God did know that these bad things would befall us. Yet, through it all, the Grand Creator was, and still is, working from a master plan that can take anything and everything into consideration, and still make an impressive piece of art out of all of it…good, bad, and ugly!
Amazing, isn’t it?
At the very beginning; long before the fall; long before our sin and selfishness; long before the enemy could ever try to intercept the Master’s plan; God, the Creator, placed His image and likeness deep inside us. You see, when it’s all said and done, you and I ultimately belong to Him. We’re God’s little pieces of artwork, spun from the imagination of a limit-less Creator who is determined to make good on His promises. And when God says (like He did at the end of Day 6) that we are good…very good, in fact…guess what?
It’s true. Always has been. Always will be. Forever and ever. Amen.
My prayer: So Creator/King, help me to go back to the very beginning and realign myself with the ultimate Truth I find You speaking over me and my fellow human beings. We are good. Very good. And while there are countless reasons for me to know that I’m, indeed, a fallen sinner in need of a great Savior, I choose this day to believe that deep inside me, You see me as good…very good. I thank You for that gift and I bring it close to my heart and mind this day. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: So what practical difference will it make in my life to hold tightly to the Truth that God has made me in His image and likeness, and that at my very core, I am good? How might a clearer awareness of that goodness free me to explore how that goodness inside me might alter the direction and purpose of my life?
So what is God speaking to you today as we attempt to live the Christ-centered life?
Over a thirty-six week period, you and I will take a deeper look into twelve key characteristics of a godly life. In other words, we’ll take A Journey into Christian Discipleship. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Journey home page for ease of use. ENJOY!
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