We are Uniquely and Wonderfully Made

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Image result for biblical picture how we were madeImage result for biblical picture how we were made
Image result for biblical picture how we were madeImage result for biblical picture how we were made
Image result for biblical picture how we were madeImage result for biblical picture how we were made

Image result for biblical picture how we were madeImage result for biblical picture how we were made

Why Do I Exist?

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Senior writer, desiringGod.org

Am I failing at life? Am I succeeding? And why do I exist in the first place?

These questions are huge, we all ask them, and thankfully the Bible helps us with answers in the form of a litmus test.

We are made by God to image him in the world. That’s our purpose. 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.”

But what exactly does this mean for my life?

Such a simple sentence can put you on a long search in the attempt to wrap your arms around the full implications. It turns out, what it means to be made in God’s image comes with a lot of right answers.

“Historically,” John Piper said in one Ask Pastor John episode, “people have said to be made in God’s image is our morality, our sense of right and wrong. Our rationality, our ability to reason. Our spirituality, our ability to relate to God. Our aesthetic sense — you don’t find too many monkeys creating Mona Lisas. Our judicial sense, the whole legal system, a sense of right and wrong and justice and injustice. And I think, frankly, all of those are true and aspects of what it means to be in God’s image” (episode 153).

And they all help to inform why we stand for the dignity of all human life, including the unborn, the disabled, the terminally sick, and the elderly.

The bottom line is, image bearing has a lot of right definitions because we are unique and complex creatures made by an infinite and gloriously multifaceted God.

But what I find especially interesting is how Pastor John focuses on one meaning that often gets missed, perhaps for its simplicity. But to find this one point, there’s not one place to go, not simply one book chapter on image bearing. How he explains our role as image-bearers is consistent, but it’s also scattered throughout John Piper’s articles, paragraphs in books, statements, interviews, and forewords. I’ll attempt to gather and superglue together the image-bearing picture.

Glory Spreaders

First and fundamentally, to image God means in our most human selves, we are spreaders. In his foreword to Sam Crabtree’s book Practicing Affirmation, Piper writes: “The point of being created in the image of God is that human beings are destined to display God. That’s what images do. And the point of being redeemed by Jesus, and renewed after the image of our Creator, is to recover this destiny” (7).

The imago dei remains present even in fallen humanity, but in a marred and broken capacity. Redemption recovers some of the lost luster and amplifies the spread.

Next, in his seminal book Desiring God, Piper goes on to explain: “According to the text [Genesis 1:26–27], creation exists for man. But since God made man like himself, man’s dominion over the world and his filling the world is a display — an imaging forth — of God. God’s aim, therefore, was that man would so act that he would mirror forth God, who has ultimate dominion. Man is given the exalted status of image-bearer, not so he would become arrogant and autonomous (as he tried to do in the Fall), but so he would reflect the glory of his Maker, whose image he bears. God’s purpose in creation, therefore, was to fill the earth with his own glory. This is made clear, for example, in Numbers 14:21, where the Lord says, ‘All the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD,’ and in Isaiah 43:7, where the Lord refers to His people as those ‘whom I created for my glory’” (314).

Image bearers are glory spreaders. But this still remains rather abstract and can be made more concrete.

Marble (Likeness)

Piper illuminates his point with a metaphor of marble in a few paragraphs published in the book A Holy Ambition (2011). There Piper says:

Books by the hundreds have been written on the imago dei, as it’s called. It’s a huge issue.

I’m going to avoid the whole controversy and say something much simpler, and I think just as profound: Images are created to image. Right? Why do you ever set up an image of anything? To image it!

You put up a statue of Stalin, you want people to look at Stalin and think about Stalin. You put up a statue of George Washington to be reminded of the founding fathers. Images are made to image. So if God made us, unlike all the other animals, in his image, whatever it means in detail, this it means clearly: God is the reality and we are the image. Images are created to set forth the reality.

Why did God create man? To show God! He created little images so that they would talk and act and feel in a way that reveals the way God is. So people would look at the way you behave, look at the way you think, the way you feel, and say, “God must be great, God must be real.” That is why you exist.

God didn’t create you as an end in yourself. He’s the end, you’re the means. And the reason that’s such good news is because the best way to show that God is infinitely valuable is to be supremely happy in him. If God’s people are bored with God, they are really bad images. God is not unhappy about himself. He is infinitely excited about his own glory. (41)

We are made in the likeness of God to exhibit his presence on earth. From here there’s one more puzzle piece to bring into the discussion.

Mirrors (Reflective)

Back in APJ episode #153, Piper again picked up the point about statues, asking, “What would it mean if you created seven billion statues of yourself and put them all over the world? It would mean you would want people to notice you.”

Then he transitions from marble to mirrors, to explain how we reflect God:

Here’s the picture in my mind. I was created like a mirror. And a mirror that was supposed to be at 45-degrees with the clear reflective side pointing upward so that as God shone on it at the 45-degree angle, it would bounce off and it would make a 90-degree turn and be reflected out into the world.

In the fall, Satan persuaded me that my image is more beautiful than God’s image, and so I flip the mirror over. Now the black back side is towards God. It doesn’t reflect anything. Instead, the mirror casts a shadow in the shape of itself on the ground. And we have been preferring ourselves over God ever since.

And in salvation two things happen. The mirror gets turned around and we see the glory of God again and the defilement gets wiped off gradually and we begin to reflect God.

So I think being created in the image of God means that we image God. We reflect God. We live in a way, we think in a way, we feel in a way, we speak in a way that calls attention to the brightness of the glory of God.

So Why Do I Exist?

Putting all these pieces together we can see one precious implication for why God created us. We are spreaders of God’s glory. To be made in God’s image means, at a foundational level, we were created to show the world how precious and deeply satisfying God is. If people look at our lives and see only self-absorption, they get the light-sucking side of a mirror, and we fail to be what God fully created us to be, for we fail to cast the grandeur and magnificence of God back into the world.

For us to live out this purpose of our redeemed life, for our lives to shine with the glory of God, our self-centered sin must be overcome. That is what God is doing by his Spirit. We are being changed into the image of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:4Colossians 1:153:10Romans 8:29).

Piece-by-piece, we are beginning to tell the world, through our lives and our words and our affections, that God alone is awesome. The praise of God’s glory will one day fill the globe, through us, and nothing will give us greater joy.

For this end we were created. For this end we exist eternally. For this end we turn back into the tasks and opportunities of our lives now.

God’s Masterpiece

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Cathy Irvin, Author, 1.cbn.com

Have you ever sat and really looked at God’s handiwork? Isn’t it amazing? You can see the starlit sky at night. The stars seem to shine like diamonds. Or have you ever watched the heavens at dawn when it looks like a blazing orange canvas? Even when stormy days come, filled with gray skies and torrents of rainfall, and winds sway the trees like they are dancing, it is a sight to see the wonders of God’s artistic hand.

I couldn’t help from daydreaming the other day as I gazed out my window. I watched the lightning and heard the thunder. The rain was so heavy you could hardly see the shapes of the trees. The Creator of the universe created all that artwork. Our minds are captivated at the wonders of God’s creation. Flowers bounce back after torrents of rain. Birds and squirrels even sit in the trees as if to watch what is happening around them. Yet in all this beautiful scenery there is something greater.

His greatest masterpiece is you and me. Wow! When the Lord created the heavens and the earth, He rested and said all that He made was good. Yet, something was missing – us. So, He made man in the image and likeness of Himself. Man and woman were created to have fellowship with God. We weren’t the afterthought in creation. We were the special finishing touches. He longs for the day when He shall gather His children and we shall be with Him for all eternity.

The Lord dropped a thought in my heart. He loves us so much he chose not to live without us at the beginning of creation nor when He went to the cross! We are His greatest work of art, so valuable that He says we are the apples of His eye.

For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye. Zechariah 2:8 (KJV)

He says we are His workmanship

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 (KJV)

Next time you look in the mirror, see what God sees and cherish your time on this earth. Take time to tell Him how much you love Him and all He has done for you. Try not to take life for granted, but rather value it. I see the tiny newborn baby who looks for someone to hold it and take care of it. I am glad that their mother chose not to abort them. Then I think of the sick and elderly people, and how they look to the Lord to help them.

The point I am trying to make is that you are the most prized possession God has. You are His masterpiece. What matters most to Him is you. He loves you.


You Were Made for More

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I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people, and His incomparably great power for us who believe. — Ephesians 1:18-19

Thought for the Day: We were made for more! More than this failure, more than this vicious cycle of defeat, more than being ruled by our taste buds, body image, rationalizations, and guilt. We were made for victory.

More than once, I’ve held the latest, greatest diet book in one hand with my other hand wedged into the back pocket of my ever-tightening jeans. But the thought of taking the plunge and signing up for another diet made me want to sit down and cry. I’d return the book to the shelf, toss my head back, and sigh, “Another day, another time. I’m doing the best I can right now.”

It is so tempting to quit the health struggle entirely and pretend it doesn’t really matter spiritually. But it does matter — and not just for the physical or emotional setbacks. It’s the denial of a fundamental spiritual truth. What is this truth?

Your parents might have told it to you when you got sassy and disrespectful: “More is expected of you. You aren’t a brat, so don’t act like one.”

Your teacher might have told it to you when you turned in a halfhearted term paper: “You have more potential as a student than what you’ve shown here.”

Your friends have definitely said it when your loser boyfriend dumped you: “He didn’t deserve you. You’re worthy of a better love than he could offer.”

Today, your heavenly Father is telling you the same truth:

“You were made for more!”

More than this failure, more than this vicious cycle of defeat, more than being ruled by taste buds, body image, rationalizations, guilt, and shame. You were made for victory!

The apostle Paul writes:

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people, and His incomparably great power for us who believe. — Ephesians 1:18-19

Having the eyes of my heart enlightened with truth gives me the great power Paul is referring to here. Saying “I am made for more; I have great power” is a great script to play in our heads every time we’re tempted with guilt, rationalizations, or the “I’ll-do-better- tomorrow” escape clauses.

We need a power beyond our frail attempts and fragile resolve. We need strength greater than our taste buds, hormones, temptations, and our inborn female demand for chocolate. Yes, the truth of who we are and the power to live out that truth — that’s what we need. So, say it out loud with me today: I was made for more!

Dear Lord, thank You for the truth that I am made for more. Please help me to soak this truth in and to live it out. Enlighten the eyes of my heart so I may believe and receive what You have for me today. Show me a new perspective as I seek to honor You with my choices. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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