So I was out on Twitter this morning (don’t act so surprised) and reading tweets of people as they prepared for their respective days. Being surrounded by rain storms many of the tweets had references to bad hair days being imminent. Or the fact that having to cross parking lots was going to do nothing for their fashionable appearance as the day went on. Can you tell I am a youth pastor on Twitter? But I am guessing that many of these early morning thoughts are reflected across the age brackets and not just limited to the musings of high school students. Our outward image and what we represent to the world seems to be escalating in importance on an exponential scale. And it is not just relegated to one gender. Turn on the TV late at night and just look at all the infomercials: new skin care, Insane fitness routines, miracle diets, etc. etc. When did all of this become so stinkin’ (Southern emphasis added) important?
Thankfully the Bible has something to say about image and it reads like this, “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” – Genesis 1:27. Often times one might read this and ask themselves, ‘So how do we look like God’? And that makes perfect sense, because so often our idea of image is all about what one sees. Webster’s dictionary even defines image as, “a reproduction or imitation of the form of a person or thing.” This definitely has the ring of visual stimuli to it. But what if I told you the writer of the book of Genesis may have had something else in mind? The word used for image in Hebrew is selem. In the ancient world, whenever a king would conquer a land he would set up a selem in his place to remind that land of who he was and what he had done. So it wasn’t so much about a visual likeness as much as a constant reminder of who the king was. Often times these images would even be hollow or empty vessels….
Now bring it around to today. God has placed each one of us as His selems in the world. We are not necessarily actual visual reminders in the sense that we all look just like God, but in the sense that he has placed us all here as empty vessels with the capacity to be filled by God in order to be used by God. Think about it; being made in God’s image means that we have the capacity to be filled up with God in order to become his direct representative to a world full of other people with that same capacity/image. So all of a sudden image isn’t about physique or beauty or clothes or hair or any of those things that we obsess about that have no eternal consequence. Image is about fully allowing God to live through us so we live out Christ to the world. The apostle Paul put it this way, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” – Galatians 2:20.
So may you become obsessed with your image, your true image in order to reveal God to the world over which His Kingdom is coming.