The truths concerning who you are as God’s image-bearer can have an incredible impact on your spiritual life. I would even dare to say a life-changing impact. What you believe, or don’t believe, about your position as an image bearer impacts you in two major ways. First, it determines how intimate you believe God wants to be with you. Second, it forms how you perceive your identity and worth before God and others.
How Being an Image-Bearer Impacted Me
The revelation of being God’s image-bearer struck me in my mid-twenties and became a pivotal truth in my relationship with God. For a season, I decided to meditate on the creation story (Genesis 1-3) to see how God had revealed Himself as a father and husband. During those several weeks, God confronted broken mindsets that were limiting my ability to receive more of His love. It’s helpful to note that I had a deep relationship with God and a history of intimacy with Him, this was just a much deeper exposing of hindrances.
Related Post: “My Life-Changing Encounter with Jesus“
The mindsets suggested that God was distant, emotionally disconnected, discouraged by my repeated failures, and that He was mad, sad, boring, and even lacking life within Himself.
After spending weeks journaling, singing, and praying through these verses in meditation, something surprising happened—my heart opened up. For weeks, though not all the time, I experienced God’s free love and overwhelming desire for friendship with me. It was overwhelmingly in a good way!
It confronted and broke off self-hatred, rejection, shame, and feeling unworthy of God’s extravagant love.
At times, I wept out of gratitude and love for God. At other times, I was filled with joy and laughter as I rejoiced in the goodness of His heart. The weeks leading up to the encounters, and those encounters themselves were life-changing, forming the DNA of the Going Deeper Workbook.
God Wanted Someone in His Image
Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind….(Gen. 1:11 NKJV)
So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. (Gen. 1:21 NKJV)
For the first five days of creation, God made all of the cosmos, established the heavenly realm, organized the earth, and formed plants and animals. As a pattern, every living thing had a counterpart, something else in its likeness or “according to its kind.”
At the beginning of day six, God was the only being in the universe without someone else or something else “according to His kind” or made in His likeness. No plants or animals looked like, talked like, or related to God in a deep way. And there was no creature in His image that could reproduce with God, which was the pattern with all the plants and animals.
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.” (Gen. 1:26 NKJV)
However, the story climaxes in Genesis 1:26. God, being alone in some sense, passionately speaks up and reveals His longing for one creature to be made in His image. In my opinion, God shouted or sang verse 1:26 with a passion that only the uncreated, infinite God of love could do. On day six, God formed the most unique creature—it was a human. This one creature was destined by God to be in complete union with Him and rule over creation with Him for all eternity.
Made in God’s Image for Friendship
Being an image-bearer means you are made like God with similar DNA and makeup for the purpose of deep and intimate friendship, even to the point of marriage. Yes, being an image-bearer means you represent Him to others on the earth, but it’s first and foremost about being compatible with God as the Father’s children and Jesus’ bride. We have the God-given capacities to hear His voice, feel His emotions, be aware of His thoughts, understand Him, explore Him, deeply relate to Him, and freely give love back to Him. We are compatible with God.
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. (Gen. 2:7 NKJV)
In Genesis 2:7 (retells the Genesis 1 story with the details of Adam’s formation), Jesus formed Adam out of the dirt with His own hands. Jesus used words to create everything for five days, but He got personal with His image-bearer. Jesus formed Adam’s DNA and internal capacities with His own hands—in such a way that He could enjoy deep friendship with Adam.
3 Dimensions of Being an Image-Bearer
Here are three ways in which we are made in God’s image and are able to relate to Him:
- Spirit – Jesus gave us a human spirit so that we could relate to Him Spirit to spirit. Having a human spirit is what makes humanity distinct from every other creature. God is Spirit, and we have to engage with Him at the spiritual level. At our salvation experience, our spirit-man was born again and God’s Spirit rejoined our human spirit. We became “one in spirit” with God again (John 3, 1 Cor. 6:17). This marriage-like union allows us to perceive the deep things of God’s heart (1 Cor. 2:10-12) and relate to Him in the deepest possible ways.
- Soul – The human soul includes the mind, will (choices and longings), and emotions. As Jesus was forming Adam’s soul, He was meticulously designing the deep fabric of his emotions, the glory and power of his mind, and the incredible passion of his longings. The soul is the realm of experience—a container that is meant to receive from God and experience God. Though broken and in need of ongoing transformation, our minds, emotions, and longings reflect God’s inner life and capacities. They also reveal our incredible capacities to interact with and experience Him. God made us to receive from Him in every facet of our souls and respond in love and worship (Ps. 27:4, 42:1-2, 63:1).
The LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed, and out of the ground the LORD God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The Tree of Life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Gen. 2:8-9 NKJV)
- Body – God made our bodies to take in and experience His life and then respond to Him in love and worship. Our bodies are perfectly designed to interact with and experience the natural realm in ways that are supposed to bring us godly pleasure and joy. From the beginning, God’s plan was for us to dwell in a paradise that was the full union of the natural and spiritual realms. It is interesting to note that King David worshipped God because he had a revelation that his body was “fearfully and wonderfully” made (Ps. 139:14 NKJV).
You Are Worthy of God’s Love
As an image-bearer of God, you are priceless and holy. You are more than accepted in God’s presence. You are embraced and enjoyed and desired without reservation. Why? Because God designed you in His image, He desires you, and He washed you in His blood. Everything you are is from Him. His breath is in you. His hand prints are over you from forming you in the womb. His likeness is imprinted on you. You came from and reflect Him and are the only creature compatible with Him.
The God of passionate love made you in your mother’s womb because He longed for the deepest possible friendship with you. You are priceless because God burns with passion to know you for all eternity! Friend, He’s searching you out all day every day as a passionate lover (Ps. 139, 40:5). Do you know who you are to Him?
In fact, your worth as an image-bearer is so intense that God came into a human body to suffer and die on a cross in order to bring you back to Himself. He took your worth and purpose so seriously that He determined it would take His own blood to redeem you.
To devalue yourself or resist His extravagant love, even a little bit, would be a direct accusation against God, His handiwork, His declaration of your worth, and His burning passion for you.
Jesus Heals Self-Hatred and Rejection
I used to struggle with self-hatred (devaluing my worth, personality, body, and giftings), lies of being unworthy of God’s extravagant love, and the feeling of being somewhat rejected by God because I didn’t understand and believe who I was as an image-bearer.
If you know you have reservations about FULLY receiving the extravagant love and passion of God for you, begin your journey of meditating on Genesis 1:26 and 2:7. As you do, take time to whisper and sing the truths of your identity back to Him as a form of agreement. Stay with your meditation for several weeks until you experience tangible measures of freedom in your thoughts and emotions.
For additional help, consider purchasing the Going Deeper Workbook (and optional video course) to go deeper in the topic of being made in God’s image. Chapters 5-8 are entirely focused on getting a right view of God as father and husband and us as priceless image-bearers. The workbook is set up to inspire you with a high vision for encounter and equip you to pursue Jesus through different forms of prayer.
Additionally, you can join our Facebook Group, “Cultivate Encountering Jesus” for more support and direct encouragement. Search for this group on Facebook and we’ll grant permission to join the group.
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