Genesis 1:26 (NIV) Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."
It is my belief that God rewards the diligent student of His word. When preparing to teach on this verse, two words kept jumping out at me. I just could not figure out why the Holy Spirit used two similar words to describe how you and I were made. Notice the words, "in Our image, in Our likeness." Image and likeness are closely related, yet they are not quite the same. Let me try to illustrate what the Holy Spirit illustrated to me recently.
In my work, I use a digital camera to take photographs of houses. When I click the camera, an image of the house appears on an LCD screen on the back of the camera. I, the one who "created" the image, can see it. Now, when I download the image and print this photo, anyone who sees the photo can see the "likeness" of that image.
God, our Creator, can see His image in us. His desire is for others to see His likeness in us, through our actions, words, deeds, etc. God sees His image through all our faults, our sins, our foul balls, and the like. Our Creator can see the image, when even we can not. Can others see His likeness in you? And just as importantly, can you see the image of God in others, the value that God places on others? More importantly, can you see that image, when others are not at their best? Can you see past the murky stuff and see the real value in people? All people matter to God; therefore all people should matter to us.
You see, we can not have the right values until we place the right value on others and ourselves.
Are you shortchanging yourself? Are you shortchanging others? When we grasp the value that God places on others, and as we grasp the right values, then hopefully then we being to do this thing call life, right. When we place the right value on others and ourselves, out of that value, flows a reflection, a likeness of God's image in us. All our actions and decisions in life are influenced by our value system.
Watch these examples with kids:
- "Not right now, son, I am reading the paper."
- "Sure I will come to your school play, someday."
- "No, Daddy can't go camping this weekend, I have work to catch up on."
- "As soon as the newscast is over, I will help you with your homework."
What is the value message in these examples? The message is loud and clear, even to a two-year-old. The message is , "I value the paper more than you, I value other things more than your school activities, I value my work, more than I do you, I value the newscast more than you. It shouts to them what your values are.
You can plug anyone and any example into the above examples. If you or I laugh at the racial or ethnic joke, we are devaluing one of God's image-bearers. If you or I mismanage our finances and can't give to God, we are placing a higher value on worldly items than God.
Do you get the picture? See the image, the likeness?