What if we were, during a time of prayer, bible study and fellowship, suddenly challenge each other to take our crayons to paper and to do two self-portraits? The challenge is to look into a mirror, take a snapshot with our souls of who we see looking into and then back at us. First, look in the mirror for about a minute and then walk away, return to our living rooms and immediately start to draw what and who we remember seeing in that mirror and draw it as fast as you can. First draw it with a mindset of how you believe the world sees you. Finish it, set it aside. Then immediately start drawing yourself as you believe God sees you!
Now, or at your next gathering, present them to each other without comment. Then read a passage of Scripture, study and pray and reflect over that passage of text. Following this communion, do a comparison and contrasting of those drawings after discussing and praying over the passage of Scripture. Spend a quality of time fellowshipping with each other. What did you learn about your- self and each other from your self-portraits? What did you, could you, should you, learn about your significance to the world versus your significance to Father, Son, Holy Spirit?
Genesis 1:26-28 The Message
26-28 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.”
The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.
Our self-worth is connected to our Creator. If God is genuinely, 100%, of great and inestimable worth, then human beings made in his image must be of great value, too. Do we celebrate and embrace that self-worth against what the world would have each of us believe is our self-worth or do we celebrate and embrace our self-worth against what God our Father reveals thru the inestimable love of Jesus Christ?
Our dignity, our significance is present from the very beginning creation when God spoke us into existence and gave us eternal stewardship over the animals. The world struggles mightily against God to assign each of us to our places in the communities we live, love and move and have our being. Too many people strive too hard to keep a status quo of who is large and in charge, who will be the great influencers who dictate who is what and when they are that what.
So, we are assigned to a certain socio-cultural, socio-economic status and told all about our significance and insignificance, we are we are supposed to be, and we should be happy and joyous all the live long day with that assigned measure of significance or insignificance because that we can ever hope for in our lives.
This is the “reality” of what the world has come to accept as a matter of nature, as a matter of unchangeable truth, as the best course of living a significant life. The world challenges all of us to either accept their assessment and evaluation. Somewhere along the way, every day we look into a mirror against that image. We have a choice to either accept that image and move on as if nothing of any significance will ever come of us – we are who we are – because the world says. We are powerless to change our mindsets – insignificant now and forever more.
Except, is that really the only significant or insignificant view we should give our fullest attention to, devote the maximum amount of self into believing? Is that mirrored view the only view available to us from which to draw ourselves? How deeply woven into our hearts, into our souls is this in our belief system? How readily do we accept its significance or its insignificance to challenge it? Do we accept it as the only significant Gospel available to us for our lives today? Only each of us as worldly individuals can significantly answer these questions.
However we might significantly or insignificantly give our responses to these questions, we ought to be made aware of the truth that the Gospel according to the world we live, love and move and have our being in, is not the only Gospel which has been made available to us. There is another perspective to consider when we are challenged to look in the mirror and draw who it is we actually see.
There is the Gospel of God, the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. It is worthy of our time and energies and efforts to assess, evaluate our significance. The question of who we are, just how significant we are, is asked and answered.
Psalm 8 New King James Version
The Glory of the Lord in Creation
To the Chief Musician. [a]On the instrument of Gath. A Psalm of David.
8 O Lord, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth,
Who have set Your glory above the heavens!
2 Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants
You have [b]ordained strength,
Because of Your enemies,
That You may silence the enemy and the avenger.
3 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
4 What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit[c] him?
5 For You have made him a little lower than [d]the angels,
And You have crowned him with glory and honor.
6 You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands;
You have put all things under his feet,
7 All sheep and oxen—
Even the beasts of the field,
8 The birds of the air,
And the fish of the sea
That pass through the paths of the seas.
9 O Lord, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth!
To which we can add these verses for the purpose of this devotional.
“O Lord, our Lord, How Significant am I in all of Your Kingdom?”
“O Lord, our Lord, How Insignificant am I in all the world I live in?”
We can safely say that our significance is measured against the standards which GOD has long since placed before the eyes, ears, and mouths of human beings.
But what does that all mean in the here and the now of the lives we live today?
Implications of Being Made in God’s Image
1. There are no ordinary people.
One of my favorite quotes from C.S. Lewis appears in his book “The Weight of Glory:
There are no ordinary people. You have never met a mere mortal.
The people you see every day, even the ones to whom you and I give little regard to, are the insignificant ones which are going to live forever either under God’s salvation or mankind’s worldly judgment. Even the most obscure person is not ordinary in God’s eyes. All lives are absolutely significant in the eyes of our God.
In light of this truth, how do we significantly move forward into the Kingdom of God to affirm and repeatedly reaffirm the dignity of all of the people around us?
2. We should not focus on our sin for long without also noting God’s grace and our own dignity.
Ephesians 2:8-10 Amplified Bible
8 For it is by grace [God’s remarkable compassion and favor drawing you to Christ] that you have been saved [actually delivered from judgment and given eternal life] through faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [not through your own effort], but it is the [undeserved, gracious] gift of God; 9 not as a result of [your] works [nor your attempts to keep the Law], so that no one will [be able to] boast or take credit in any way [for his salvation]. 10 For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us].
Today, some people focus on our dignity and self-worth without much mention of our sinfulness. On the other hand, in the past and in too many sectors of the present, the emphasis has been weighted down on our utter unworthiness and sinfulness without any note of our dignity and our significance or God’s grace.
The apostle Paul offers a different example. He never mentions the depth of his sin without also mentioning God’s grace:
- 1 Corinthians 15:9-10 “For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle… But by the grace of God, I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect.”
- 1 Tmothy 1:16: Paul calls himself the “foremost of sinners,” but also notes, “yet for this reason I found mercy…that in me, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience…”.
We can say the same. No matter what we have done, God’s grace works in us. To deny or fail to acknowledge this significant truth is to say God’s grace is in vain.
Certainly, it is a right and good step to take quality time for self-examination, confession, and repentance. But we should always come back to God’s grace and our own dignity, significance, stemming from being made in the image of God.
3. The restored image of God looks like Christ.
While the image of God remains after the fall, it is certainly marred and defaced. As we are redeemed, what will we look like when the process is completed?
Our individuality as created by God will shine even more brightly, and our gifts will reach their full potential. We will also look like Christ.
Romans 8:29 reminds us, our significance comes from our being “conformed to the image of his Son.” Jesus is the perfect representative of the image of God, and we are gradually being made and remade into the likeness of him.
Much more remains to be said on the image of God, but we need to begin to appropriate the meaning and experience of this idea. If we do, we will see a revolution in our relationships and in our vision of the “least of these.”
What This Means for Our Ministries, Our Missions and our Work
Being made in the image of God provides the basis for our work and vocation. If we are made in the image of God, we share his characteristics. For example, because God is creative, we can be creative in our ministries and in our work, and in fact, are called to such creativity – we draw ourselves in His significance!
Also, knowing the basis for our dignity and worth helps us believe we have gifts and talents to employ. I know many people who haven’t discovered their calling because they do not choose to believe they have anything to offer. They do not believe they have dignity and worth and fail to recognize their God-given gifts as a result. Their belief in their own significance does unexercised, unpracticed.
Rediscovering the biblical doctrine of work begins with understanding who we are and where we came from. It begins with knowing we are made in the image of God.
God reminds us through His Scripture that He has created us for eternity. This world is not our permanent home, this is a temporary place. This is transition, a prelude to what God has in mind for us. In our limited perspective we look at the present and ask Why. God keeps His eternal perspective, tells us to trust Him. He gives to each and every one of us tiny glimpses of what He has in store for us.
John 14:1-3 English Standard Version
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
He further paints a picture of this eternity thus.
“Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:3-4)
So, God continues to answer us our Why am I Significant” questions, with Who answers all questions of significance and insignificance. (Exodus 3:1-6 ESV) Draw your self-portraits against that image. We are each God’s Masterpieces!!!
Today, this day, may God give us significant strength to accept the answer as it is. Know that our why questions are getting answered, but that there are several answers to the “Who is more Significant” question. Let us exercise significant faith to believe in the absolute significance of God, the Father, Son, Holy Spirit.
In the name of God, the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us pray,
Lord Jesus Christ, your power is beyond compare. You turned water into wine. You restored sight to the blind and made the deaf hear. You made the lame walk. You healed the sick and raised the dead. You died then revealed the significance of Your empty tomb and revealed yourself to mankind. You conquered death in your resurrection. Everything you touch is powerfully transformed. Pray, let me know that powerful touch in how I live my life. Lord, please bless me and keep me, make your face shine upon me. Through your mighty name, Amen. Amen.