August 07, 2010

What is an Image Bearer?

Let’s discuss what it means for man to bear the Image of God. Bearing His Image means more than just being like Jesus in form or character. It means that each one of us is given the responsibility to be His representative here on this planet. Think of all the most magnificent things you can imagine: Jupiter in the sky, the sun, a sunset, Mount Everest, the Grand Canyon, the earth itself, the dinosaurs, the great blue whale, the ocean. God did not create any of these things to be His representation on Earth. None of these things were given the responsibility to care for everything else; to make things grow and develop; to rule everything and make it better; to decide how, where, and when things would be; to have meaningful relationships that would affect the rest of creation. Nothing else was crowned with glory and honor. This great responsibility was given to man. Man would be God’s physical representation over this small portion of Creation called Earth. Man’s ability to do these things is a reflection of God's Image. Not the whole Image, but the parts reflected are God’s Image and no one else’s.

The life of Abraham is a great example of a man learning to steward the image of God to purposefully glorify God in the specifics of his life. In the beginning chapters of Abram’s life in Scripture (Genesis 12–21), we see a man who is more concerned with his own welfare and domestic tranquility than with seeing the manifestation of God’s glory in his life. God had promised to bless him and watch after him, blessing those who blessed him and cursing those who cursed him, yet Abram still acted in fear and self-preservation both with foreigners and at home with his family.

But we see a much different Abraham in the final chapters of his life (Genesis 21–25). Abraham had been changed through the trials along his path to be a man that trusted God and pointed to God’s glory when the circumstances of life threatened the harmony of his life. His son’s life was threatened, his wife died, and he struggled to find a wife for his son as he approached death. In all these matters, however, he learned to point to God’s glory with his life. He trusted God. He knew God was good and sovereign. He acted according to that knowledge even when there was no apparent way that in doing so, things would work out the way God said they would.

Abram became Abraham and learned to glorify God through the image he was given to steward. He used it to point out God’s glory.

How does this story help me today?


Let me encourage you to read Philippians 1:19-30.

Our own circumstances will dictate specifically how we point out God’s glory with our own lives. It may be strength and peacefulness in the midst of a parent’s divorce. It may be courage in the face of a career or life-changing decision. It may be dignity and humility in the pain of a broken relationship. The point is that we reflect God’s Image by demonstrating our faith in His sovereignty and faithfulness in whatever way is appropriate for who God made us to be.

Strength, peacefulness, courage, dignity, and humility are all marks of His image being represented in us through our faith. It is when we focus on His purpose for our life instead of the brokenness of our circumstances that we experience the power of the Holy Spirit conforming us into the likeness of Christ. This is what it means to be an Image Bearer. Be an Image Bearer in your world as only you can be. That is what you were created for!


With you for His glory