"Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.'" Genesis 1:26
A fairly common attitude among many Christians I talk to is that they are unworthy, damaged goods. God could better spend his time on people with a stronger faith and work experience. They feel they have been disqualified by some brokenness in their lives.
Well, in case you haven’t noticed, every single one of the great characters you read about in the Bible had some kind of great challenge to overcome, some great character flaw. From a human perspective they would be unworthy, possessed of disabling inadequacy.
Accepting personal brokenness is certainly the first step in recovering any sense of self-worth, but on the heels of that confession needs to come the recognition that you're not alone. The Bible is unsparingly clear about the clay feet of its most notable characters. If you're broken, welcome to the human race.
But ultimately we are not the key to our own recovery. God is. And realizing how God feels about you is critically important. It is here that the idea of the “image of God” is especially helpful.
Every human being carries within him or her the image of God. It is the part of us that is most divine. We can cover it up, ignore it, run from it into a foreign country, but nowhere in the Bible do we ever find that we can lose the image. Whenever, in our brokenness, we have a sense of longing for God, it is that image that draws us back to Him. God appeals to that image, restores it to prominence, and enables us to move forward.
Think of God's image as His vision for you. The image is what God made you to be. The image is what God restores through grace. Remembering the image is a key to joyful living.
Man of Lamancha, based on the Don Quixote story by Cervantes, depicts an aging nobleman who is struck by what one writer has called a “holy madness.” He see himself as a strong medieval knight, his humble servant is a proud squire. And most ironically he sees a common prostitute named Aldonza as the lovely Lady Dulcinea. Aldonza protests from the beginning, “I am no one! I am nothing!”
As funny as the premise is, the real story is not about an old man rattling about in a suit of armor with an old horse and a servant. The real story is about the transforming effect this man’s holy madness had on the people around him. Later in the story when Quixote was very sick and losing his “vision” Aldonza came to his bedside to plead that he somehow recover the vision that transformed her.
God has a holy madness in which He loves us in spite of our worst and would even die to restore us to our best. He longs to make the image rise up from the ashes of a burned out and burned up life. He can do this.
God’s vision of you, His holy madness, can transform you and make you hope again. He loves you and is proud of the image He created in you. By His grace He can mend every flaw and give you a glimpse of the glory of His image in you. That holy, unimaginable, even scandalous madness is God's vision. Trust that God does feel that way about you. Let His vision transform you!
Dr. Terry Ellis
November 2, 2014