Genesis 1:26-27 says, "Then God said, “Let us make human beings so that they are like us. Let them rule over the fish in the seas and the birds in the sky. Let them rule over the livestock and all the wild animals. And let them rule over all the creatures that move along the ground. So God created human beings in his own likeness. He created them to be like himself. He created them as male and female."
Most of the time my personal study and reflection centers on what I am preparing to teach for the next month. So, say I’m studying individuality. A quick internet search pulls this up to define individuality: "the quality or character of a particular person or thing that distinguishes them from others of the same kind, especially when strongly marked." Merriam dictionary defines it as, "a total character peculiar to and distinguishing an individual from others." The definition I will be teaching the kids is this, "individuality is deciding who you are meant to be."
What does that mean for each person? How am I uniquely made? What am I uniquely called to do and be? Just as there are no two snowflakes the same, or fingerprints the same, there are no two people the same. So that has to mean something, right? A good place to start is in the beginning, when God created the very first humans.
When God created people, He did something special. He created them in His image. But, that doesn’t mean we are gods. God is all powerful, and we are not. God can be present everywhere, and we cannot. God knows everything, and we certainly do not. God has no sin, but we do. God is perfect, and we are flawed. So what does it mean to “make human beings so that they are like us?” (Genesis 1:26)
To be made in the image of God means, as we mirror who God is we can… sacrifice, love, show kindness, care for others, be compassionate, be creative, be honest, be faithful, use wisdom, have courage, have integrity, solve problems. And this is not a complete list. There are other aspects of God’s character that can be reflected in people? I’m sure you can think of a few.
To be made in the image of God means each person has value. Have you ever had a bad hair day? Been dissatisfied with yourself? Wished you could be more like him/her? When God looks at us he sees someone created in His image. He sees someone worthy, amazing, and wonderful. He sees someone who matters and has a purpose; someone who can make a difference. “How you made me is amazing and wonderful. I praise you for that. What you have done is wonderful. I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:14)
How can knowing we are created in God’s image help when we mess up or fail? How about when we are unsure or feeling insecure? When we are struggling with someone who is annoying or frustrating, why is it important to remember they are also made in God’s image? How should the fact God made everyone in His image affect how we treat others?
We are individuals with certain talents, tastes, desires, and goals. And, we are made in God’s image. I truly believe we wake up each morning and decide who we are going to be – albeit it is probably a subconscious decision. Today, I choose to spread love and cheer or be a grouch. Today I choose to use my talents to make the world a more wonderful place or be too busy to make a difference. Today I choose to be a friend and neighbor to everyone or spread ill will and hurt. Today I choose to be wise or be foolish. My challenge to us is to stop letting it be a subconscious decision. Make it a deliberate choice.
I just love these next few words; I think they are beautiful, and I want to share them with you. “There is a part of you that is like God. There is a part of you that is beautiful and strong. There is a part of you that is true and lasts forever. There is a part of you that is made to love and be loved. That is true about each and every one of us no matter how different we look, no matter what we had for breakfast, no matter what clothes we are wearing.” (252 Kids Family Experience)
Enjoy discovering who God has made you to be. And, I pray your mirror image of God is more of a reflection of Him each day. -Lia