By: Vivian Wilson
Pastor Ben said something in his sermon Sunday, that just kept pestering my mind all day. It wasn’t something that I didn’t know or hadn’t heard before. But it was something that I have really never spent a lot of time thinking about.
It is one of those “yeah, everybody knows that” phrases. (Sorry, Mr. Insurance Guy). He said we are made in “the image of God”.
Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
What does that mean really? Well, I thought, man is creative and he has the ability to think and reason. God created man to be holy (set apart) and righteous (without sin). Man had fellowship with God, they walked in the garden together. (Gen.3:8) So obviously God created man to have a loving relationship with Him.
God is not a loner. He is a lover.
1 John 4:16,19 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 19, We love because he first loved us.
There is, in every heart, an intense need to be known fully and loved anyway. Every human heart desires to be loved unconditionally. We would all agree that only God is capable of loving unconditionally. He does know us completely and loves us in spite of our imperfections and wants us to love him in return. Yet, even though we know that others cannot love us the way God does, we still long for something close to it.
1 John 5:3 This is love for God: to obey his commands.
John 14:15 If you love me, you will obey what I command.
But here is the problem. We focus on this heartfelt need to be the beloved. We want to be loved and and made to feel special and appreciated and valuable. This is absolutely a good thing! But the other side gets lost. Because we are made in the image of God, we also have an equally strong need to the a lover.
This is the greatest commandment:
Mark 12:30-31 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself.
We are to love God and we are to love others.
John 15:12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
I am beginning to understand that my need to love others is equal to my need to be loved and just as important. May I be so bold as to suggest that perhaps when feelings of emptiness or loneliness arise, it isn’t because we aren’t loved enough, it is because we are not loving enough.
Created in the image of God, love should define who I am and what I do.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
Love expresses itself in grace, mercy, forgiveness, kindness, gentleness, compassion, patience, goodness, and humility. There are many opportunities every day to love someone. This is when we look most like the One in whose image we are created.
A work in progress,