Section 3: Humanity
Week 3: God Created Us in His Image
Day 4: We Were All Created with Dignity
All of us have the potential to reflect God’s image in many different ways. But some of us seem to reflect God better than others. We said earlier, for example, that being created in God’s image includes the intellect. So if I’m smarter than you, doesn’t that mean I am better than you because I reflect God’s image more clearly than you do? After all, we’d say LeBron James is a better basketball player than I am because he dribbles, shoots and passes better than I do. To be consistent, don’t we need to say I’m a better person than you if I reflect certain characteristics of God better than you do?
There’s a certain logic to the argument that some of us might find appealing. In part, that’s because it has the potential to make us feel better about ourselves; we usually can find someone who isn’t as smart (or kind, patient, etc.) as we are. But it doesn’t actually work that way because all of us have a greater potential to reflect God’s image than we are able to currently fulfill.
Have you ever been driving and noticed a classic car pull up alongside you, maybe a ’67 Mustang or ’70 Corvette Stingray? It’s rusted, the driver’s side door is dented, and the front bumper is barely hanging on. It’s clearly seen better days. Even so, you can picture what it looked like the day it rolled off the assembly line. You can feel the power the engine once had. The potential is still in there somewhere. In the hands of the right person, you know it could be restored to its former glory.
We’re all a lot like that old car. The potential to reflect God’s image exists in each one of us. Sadly, as we’ll discuss next week, we are all fallen creatures, in fallen bodies, living in a fallen world. That fallenness necessarily prevents each one of us from fully reflecting God’s image. Whether it’s because of defects in our character, our minds, or our bodies, none of us is fully the person God intends us to be. But the potential to reflect God’s glory is still there. True, we can’t do that unless God restores us… but we all need to be restored and none of us is beyond restoration.
According to James, why is it wrong to curse people? What keeps you from seeing the image of God in other people?
Identify the most difficult person in your life right now. Over the next week, whenever you encounter them, intentionally remind yourself of the potential that exists within them and the ways you fall way short of your own potential.