What’s all this about being “Made in God’s Image?
When Bex first emailed me the link to the Slideshare containing written ideas, pictures and corresponding keywords I immediately latched onto the phrase “the image of God” which I have written about before. I am still learning what this means. I have written on it for a friend who is writing a book about living with illness and disability from a Christian point of view. It was also a key part of my undergrad dissertation some years back. So, what does it mean to be made ‘in the image of God’? We are a reflection of God, a sort of mirror image. Reading from Genesis chapter 1 verse 26…
26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground. 27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
We were created to “rule” as God does (V26) something that has been interpreted in different ways, and has caused much controversy. Being made in God’s image means we have some of his characteristics, his ‘like-ness’. The fundamental thing for me is that if everyone is created, this EVERYONE. male or female. disabled, or able-bodied is a mirror image of God’s character, and as such, has immeasurable value has much to give. Other verses found in Psalm 139 echo the truth of worth of each human being.
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
This is proof of God as creator, a loving intentional God who knew what I was, how tiny, how ill and yet how he would use me for his purposes through what I would face all of which was recorded long before any of it took place, further proof of his sovereignty, basically what God says, goes! He watched over every little detail of my formation. As to where the disability and ill-health comes in is a matter of controversy. Is it, as suggested here, something pre-determined, or something God simply allows? For the purposes of this post, it matters not. What matters is, God KNEW, and He SAW, and he was INTENTIONAL through it all. Mind-blowing if I allow myself to think about it. This in iteslf should make me have lots of confidence in God’s love for me, however, what I am about to say nest says different.
Self esteem or God’s esteem?
I am reading a book on my kindle about learning to control our thought-lives. Something that really resonated with me was the idea that it is almost easier to have low self-esteem than to make the leap and accept who were are in Christ as princes and princesses, children of the King of Kings, and by extension, created beings made with intentionality in God’s image. As explained in an earlier post I find short quotes and bible verses helpful in keeping my eyes on Jesus, which I can use for prayer or to encourage others. These include a couple of Twitter accounts, one called Soul Caffeine and another called Passion Network.
There are hundreds of similar accounts on Twitter and Facebook. Some are written or managed by ill or disabled people themselves. Another Facebook page which offers encouragement such as this is called “Made in His Image” and is written and produced by sick and disabled people or those who work alongside them. I also use emailed devotional texts (also available on the website) from Joni and Friends, the outreach of Joni Eareckson Tada who herself has a severe disability and regularly suffers illnesses too. Either Joni or her team are active on Social Media and on her blog.
A combination of all these things reminds me I am a created in the mirror image of God, with a long-established purpose by a God who doesn’t make mistakes and cares about every detail of my life, and every detail of the lives of each human being, including every disabled person, regardless of ability. The internet, and social media offer countless opportunities for disabled people, including myself to use their God-given gifts, and give to others in creative ways, while, if they chose, mirroring the characteristics of their creator God.