If you haven't yet read Chapter 1, then read that first by clicking here.
Let’s look in the bible to see the magnificent person that God has designed you to be.
1. God made me in his image
“Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness’ …
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
Genesis 1: 26-27
Did you get what God is saying about you? You have been hand-crafted by a master designer – you are created in God’s image. Sounds good. But what does it mean to be an image of something?
Technically, of course, what you see in front of you is not my wife, Karen. My wife Karen is here with me in our house in Sydney Australia. What you looking at on the screen is not actually my wife – it is an image of my wife. My wife is much larger and way more lifelike than what is on your computer. She is three dimensional – and made out of real flesh and blood. She is a genuine human being. What you are looking at is a collection of pixels. Little blips on a computer screen. What you see before you is not my wife. It is an image of my wife.
It looks exactly like my wife. It reflects fairly accurately what she is like. But it is not my wife. It is an image or a reflection of my wife. So, what does it mean that you are made in God’s image? Does it mean that you look exactly the same as God? That somehow God looks just like you?
Being in God’s image doesn’t mean that God has made you to look like he does. But it means God has made you to be like he is! You’re meant to have the same sort of characteristics that God has.
If God is loving, you are designed to be loving.
If God is forgiving, you are designed to be forgiving.
If God hates sin – you are designed to hate sin.
If God is generous, you are designed to be generous.
It’s almost as if God said: “I am going to make some creatures who will be able to show everyone what I am like. When people look at these human beings, they’ll get a picture of the sort of God that I am.”
That’s who you are. You were created in God’s image. That means when people see you – they get an idea of what God is like. Can I just say that again so that it sinks in? Why did God create you? So that when people see you, they get an idea of what God is really like.
Wow! You get to show other people the wonders of our magnificent God! Let me now show you one of the main ways that God says you are just like him.
“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.’”
If God says that the reason he made you was so that you would be able to show the world what he is like … then the main way you are to show what God is like is that he has designed you to rule over all the rest the world. God wants you to help run his world the same way that he would run it.
God has given you the freedom to be a world ruler but only because of who he made you to be. He has made you to be in his image. You have the freedom to run this world – while you do it the way God does. You are free to be the person that God has designed you to be - provided that you stay dependent on him. Your freedom to be truly you is absolutely tied up with you remaining reliant on God. If you throw away being dependent on him – you throw away your freedom.
It’s like walking in front of the mirror. What you see in the mirror is an image of yourself. If you throw away the mirror, the image is no longer there.
In the same way, you are made in the image of God. You reflect what God is like. But if you say: “I don’t want to do things God’s way” - “I don’t want God in the picture”- then if you move your mirror away from God, his image can no longer be seen in you. You are only free to be the person that God has designed when you keep reflecting his image by being totally dependent on him.
You might be wanting to say to me: “What do you mean? To be free I have to depend on God? I thought the whole idea of being free was that I didn’t have to depend on anyone?”
Let’s just backtrack for a minute. Perhaps you misunderstand what freedom really is. You have been created with an inbuilt dependency on God. If you stop depending on him – you lose your freedom.
How can this be?
Let’s imagine that the train has been around for a few years. It's sort of going through puberty, and it’s getting sick of being told what to do, and it just wants to do its own thing.
“Why do I have to go where those stupid rails tell me to go?”
“I wanna go where I wanna go!”
“I wanna be free!”
So the train decides to do its own thing. It goes off the rails. It wants to go and look through the shopping mall. It wants to go through the McDonald’s drive-thru. It wants to go and play on the beach.
Just imagine for a moment that a train could do that. If a train could go off the rails – and just meander wherever it felt like, what do you think would happen to that train? It’s going to grind to a halt quick smart! It’s going to smash into things. It’s going to get bogged down. If that train goes off the rails and does its own thing, it’s going nowhere.
As soon as it goes off the rails – it grinds to a halt.
As soon as it goes off the rails – it loses its freedom to be a train.
Because it was designed with an inbuilt dependency on those rails.
In the same way, you have been designed with an inbuilt dependency on God. Sometimes you can think that being free is going off the rails with God and just doing whatever you feel like. But as soon as you give up depending on God for your every breath … as soon as you give up depending on God for your every step …
You lose your freedom to be truly human.
You get bogged down in your own sin.
You smash into relationships and destroy them.
You have been designed with an inbuilt dependency on God.
When you give up depending on him – you lose your freedom.
God gave you that freedom. He has made you as a world ruler. And he makes everything in the world for you to enjoy. Not only has God designed you to be free. He has also designed you to be the best!