But it has become almost ordinary to me, almost obvious, just a fact that everyone knows. When I stop to think about it, the meaning of the phrase “in the image of God” had this implied understanding, like everyone assumed we all knew exactly what it meant. Even I believed I had it down. But when I realized that I had never really considered or known the wonder packed into this statement, it was one of the most joyful discoveries I have ever made.
Design is a huge part of our identity, our raw material. There are two very important categories of design:
- Those generic aspects of who we are that can be clearly seen throughout scripture.For example, all believers are more than conquerors, free, new creations, bold, not alone, etc.This is part of our design.
- Those unique aspects that God has wired in us specific to each individual. Specific examples of this would include Moses (designed as a Deliverer), Gideon (designed as a Mighty Warrior), Boaz (designed as a Redeemer), and Jeremiah (designed as a Messenger), etc.
Each part of our design reflects God’s own characteristics and character. Take “not alone” for example. Countless passages in the Bible assure us time and time again that God is always with us. What’s interesting is that this concept defined who God was long before the creation of earth. God, as the Trinity, is in eternal communion with himself (John 1:1-2). The exact opposite of being alone is to be with God. And part of God’s very essence is to be with Himself. He created us to partake in that communion with Himself.
The unique aspects of our design are also a reflection of God’s own character. God declares Gideon a “mighty warrior” in Judges 6:12. He sends an angel to Gideon, saying, “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.” Notice that He doesn’t say, “The LORD is with you Gideon”. Gideon’s specific design is Mighty Warrior. What really makes this worthy of awe is that Zephaniah calls God Himself “the Mighty Warrior who saves” (Zeph. 3:17, NIV). Moses (Exodus 15:3) and Jeremiah (Jeremiah 20:11) call God by this name as well. Mighty Warrior is who God is, and He placed that part of Himself in Gideon’s very core.
It gets even more interesting when we go back to Genesis 1:27 and take a look at the words “male and female he created them.” There are specific parts of God’s essence that he placed in the design of a man and of a woman. For example, part of the essence of a man is a deep rooted desire to pursue, and part of the essence of a woman is this desire to be pursued. Not only do those desires fit perfectly together, but they also are part of God’s own character. It is so clear in the Bible that God desires to pursue us. The whole story of the Bible is God’s relentless pursuit of humanity! He placed that desire to pursue in us (primarily in men), to reflect His own perfect desire to pursue. It is also evident that God desires to be pursued by us: “The Lord looks down from Heaven on the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God” (Psalm 14:2, ESV). This desire is interwoven into our souls as well, particularly in women. This is also an example of what it means when it’s said that marriage is a reflection of God’s love. The parts of individual design that unite a man and woman in marriage are the very ones that facilitate our union with God!
The Message translation of the Bible puts the same verse, Genesis 1:27, this way: “God created human beings; he created them godlike, reflecting God’s nature. He created them male and female.” Mind BLOWN. We are the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27), each soul containing parts of God himself.
In light of this incredible truth, I encourage you prayerfully seek out how the parts of your design, both “generic” and “unique” are reflections of God’s own image. There is something strangely powerful about realizing how God made YOU specifically in his very image. Your identity is not only found in Christ, but is also a literal part of Christ’s own character and characteristics.