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Image Management

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27 ESV

In the celebrity world, image is everything. Many so-called celebrities go to extremes to protect their image. Some of those celebrities get multimillion-dollar contracts from advertisers because of their image. Anyone who uses the image of a celebrity without prior authorization can be sued and be made to pay a hefty monetary price.

Today’s text informs us we were created in the image of God. What does that mean? Does it mean we physically look like God? According to Prof. C. Ben Mitchell, historically, the doctrine of the image of God (imago Dei) has three prominent interpretations. “First, the relational view highlights God’s closeness to human beings in personal relationships. Second, the structural view of the image of God points to certain qualities or abilities that distinguish humans from animals: rational capacity, volition, moral awareness, and consciousness, for instance. Finally, the functional view focuses on the functions humans are called to serve in God’s created order: to be dominion stewards over the earth (Genesis 1:28).”

I propose yet another interpretation. That is: because the breath of God is embedded in us, every human soul reflects the image of the divine. The challenge for us is that we cannot see what a soul looks like. What we do know and can identify is the movement of God’s Spirit within us. We also can behave in godly ways and do godly things. Therefore, in as much as we reflect the glory of God on earth, we embody His Holy Spirit and reflect His image.

Image management has to do with reflecting godly characters. It is an awareness of the fact that we always represent God. The best way to manage our image is to abide by the word of God. God’s holy word enables spiritual transformation. Believers should conduct themselves with godliness among nonbelievers so we can help draw them to Christ. We must be careful how we talk, what we do, and how we treat others. We are instruments of righteousness created to do God’s redeeming work on earth.

Because we reflect the image of God, there are some places we should not and cannot go. Not all things are conducive to the Spirit of God in us. We must protect the image of God in us against sinful attitudes and behaviors. This does not mean we are perfect. It means we are being perfected by the Spirit of God and that perfecting process should be evident for the world to see.

More concretely it means living with spiritual discipline and prioritizing holiness over worldly pleasure. It also means not doing anything that brings shame to the Holy name of God and undermines the great commission given to us by Jesus Christ. The only way to do those things is with the help of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit alone can enable us to exhibit the attitudes, characters, and dispositions that are godly and Christ-like.

In John 14:8-9, Philip asked Jesus to show him the Father. Jesus replied, “Philip, I have been with you all this time, and still you do not know Me? Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father?’” The glow of God’s divine presence should be visible in every believer. We cannot allow the world to dictate the way we live, nor should we conform ourselves to the ways of the world. But we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds so that the world can see the image of God in us wherever we go.

Questions for Personal Reflection

How are you managing God’s divine image in you?

What does it mean to be made in the image of God?

Prayer- Blessed Lord, thank you for creating me in your image. Please help me be an instrument of righteousness so others can see you in me and glorify your name.

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