I don’t know about you, but the last few years have been hard. Between living in a global pandemic, racial tensions, and seeing how divided our society is on almost every issue, I’ve grown tired and weary. Like many of you, I’ve lost friends and family members to an angry stance that draws a line in the sand. I, too, have had difficult conversations with people that I love who just don’t seem to look at the world in the same way I do. I’ve turned on the news, only to quickly turn it off in despair.
And yet, as we turn to Scripture this week, I have so much hope. The Bible offers a better way forward because in Genesis we see the foundation for Christian unity and brotherly (& sisterly!) love.
God created the heavens, and He created earth. He made the animals and the stars and the sun. He formed the earth and carved out oceans and seas. But His beloved creation, the only one with His image imprinted on its very being, is humankind. From the beginning of time, humanity was raised above the rest of creation and given a special place, because the one thing that separated us from all of God’s other creations was Imago Dei (being made in the image of God).
“God created humankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27). But not only that, when God saw all that He had made He called it good (Genesis 1:31).
All throughout Scripture we’re told to love God and love one another like we love ourselves (Matthew 22:34-40), to use our gifts to serve one another (1 Peter 4:10), and to pursue unity with one another (Philippians 2:1-11). But in the first chapter of the Bible, the beginning of our origin story, we are told why.
Why do we love and serve one another?
Because all people – all of us – are made in the Image of God. This truth changes everything. It changes the way we treat our neighbors. It impacts the way we talk about that friend with the differing viewpoint. It shifts the way we look at those who vote and worship and believe differently than us, because as believers we acknowledge and know that God’s image, imago dei, is stamped on every single human who walks this earth.
This is the foundation for why we treat all people with honor, dignity, and respect. It’s why we serve each other joyfully and love our enemies. It’s the foundation for why we’re called to be patient and forbear with one another (Colossians 3:12-14). We love and forgive generously because Christ loved and forgave us. And we see our “why” in Genesis 1, when God almighty made us in His very image and called His creation good. As image-bearers, through the power of the cross, we choose to reflect His goodness, His holy character, whenever we get the chance.
So today, I want to leave you with a few questions and one action step. Because God made all people in His image, and we are all – as the children’s song says it – precious in His sight, who do you need to love today? Who do you need to forgive? Who do you need to spend time praying over? Are there people in your life who you’ve made “other” when they are actually fellow image-bearers?
Let me encourage you today, to sit with those questions and spend some time praying Scripture in Psalm 139, specifically verses 23-24. Ask God to examine your heart the same way David did, saying, “Examine me, O God, and probe my thoughts. Test me, and know my concerns. See if there is any idolatrous way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.”
Today, may the God who made you in His image, equip you to reflect His light and unity in a dark world.
Week 2 Challenge:
Take time this week to study what it means to be created in God’s image. Is the image of God a physical attribute or an unseen character quality? Knowing that we reflect God’s image every moment of our lives, how does this challenge you to live differently?
Week 2 Reading Plan
Week 2 Memory Verse
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