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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

10 May '12

A theology of life

Think of the amazing gift we have been given in being made in God's image, in being “image bearers” of the Lord of the universe:

·       We were created for eternity with an eternal soul
·       We were made for a relationship with our creator
·       We were given the gift of relationships with one another
·       We were granted the gift of moral freedom
·       We were given the amazing capacity to create
·       We were given the ability to love deeply

The apostle Paul puts all this in perspective in Ephesians 2:10. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” The word “workmanship” means a unique work of art, a one of a kind. As unique works of God we were created for a personal relationship with him in Christ Jesus, in order to join him in His work in this world (good works) which God prepared for each of us “in advance.”

In endowing us with His image, He gave something of Himself to mankind. Our very ability to know and love him and one another is part of that gift. I can adore and love my spouse and my children and have meaningful relationships with others because He chose to make me in His image. I can know Him, serve Him, join Him in His work in this world because he made me in His image. I can use all my creativity in loving and caring and serving and living because He made me in His image.

I remember meeting my son Jon for the first time knowing that this was my flesh, my offspring. The day I met my first grandson, Gavrel, was even more profound, Again, here was a precious child with my DNA, flesh of my flesh of my flesh entering the world. In making us in His Image, God deliberately planted something of Himelf in His created. Just as I look at my grandson with a love too deep to describe, so He looks at us with a love that is able to see beyond all of our brokenness for He sees His image in us, however flawed by the entrance of sin into our world – deliberately planted in us by Him.

Our news is full of stories of the brokenness of our world. It is easy to become numb to the human needs and issues we become aware of. But stop for a moment and put on the lens of God. Your neighbor who is hurting is made in God’s image. The thousands of children who needlessly suffer from malaria every year for lack of mosquito netting are made in His image.

The disabled who are so easily treated as throw away people in much of the world are made in His image. Those who suffer from chronic dysentery for lack of clean water are made in His image. Those young slaves of the sex trade internationally are image bearers of God. The millions who are aborted annually are stamped with His imprint. The elderly who are shuffled off to a lonely existence are made in His image.

Seen in that light, we cannot ignore the spiritual and human needs around us or of our world and be like Jesus. Life is precious. People are precious. Even the most broken individual is a potential son or daughter of the king because all were stamped with His image. 

No other part of God’s creation was endowed with an eternal soul or an eternal destiny. To care for people and their situations is to see people as Jesus sees them and to love them as He loves them. To live selfishly, immune from the suffering of others is to reject the nobility God placed within man, even though sin has made much so ignoble.

Every time we uphold the dignity of human life, uphold biblical sexuality, treat our spouses well, care for those that society throws away: widows, orphans, AIDS victims, those with unwanted pregnancies, the disabled, the sick, those in dire poverty, the elderly, we join Jesus in bringing value to life made in His image. We join Jesus in His prayer, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” How is it done in heaven? Perfectly! 

When we join Him in meeting the physical and spiritual needs of our world we start bringing little bits of heaven and His values to a world that is lost and dehumanizing to those He created. We join Him in His quest to reimage an image made wrong by sin and bring out the beauty of what God originally intended.

We cannot meet all the needs of our broken world but we can make a difference for someone who is an image bearer of God. Every act of compassion that meets physical and spiritual needs is an act of obedience to our Father who cares so deeply for every human being. He hurts when they hurt, and wants every image bearer to find Him and be ReImaged into His likeness. 

Every time we go out of our way to bring life to a situation, we make the heart of God glad. Each word that encourages, touch that shows love, help that brings hope or Good News that speaks to the soul mirrors the heart of God toward those He created. None are beyond His grace, none are too broken for his healing or beyond His divine touch. 

Do you see people through human eyes or Jesus' eyes?