Monday, January 16, 2012

Who Are You?


So, who are you? Who does God think you are and who does he want you to be? In the last post I suggested that people are made in the image of God – that they are the image of God. Having been made in that image, we are not crafted in perfect likeness of God but with an imprint of his character. That imprint drives our desires and values if we live in it.

God sees you as his creation, as his child. He loves you and wants you to grow in his image so that you can live a life most satisfying and sublime. We know he loves you because John tells us that the sending of Jesus was due to God’s love for you. Even while we were sinners, we are told, Christ died for us. In both the Old Testament and the New we are told that God’s intent is to gather all nations to himself. This statement tells us that God indeed loves the world and wants all people to live with him.

God sees in you himself; his own image being perfected and shaped through your life on this planet. God is not in a hurry nor will his patience run out. Rather than making you have compassion, God allows it to develop within you. Compassion develops as you experience situations that call for it. At first you will not be compassionate due to your own pride and defensiveness against those who seem to invade your comfort and space. God is aware that you are imperfect and that you will miss some situations. Learn this: that is OK; it’s expected; it is not damning. Over time you will encounter other situations calling for compassion and you will begin to learn that extending it does cost time, resources, and space. But you also come to learn that by giving yourself to them, you become more free and less constrained. You learn not only that compassion is right, but that it connects with that image buried inside you which confirms this, and living a life of compassion opens the world to you. You slowly come to see the world as God sees it.

In short, you eventually come to identify so much with God that it is no longer you who lives but God lives in and through you. Slowly the over-stated selfishness, defensiveness, and pride we have come to practice give way to patience, goodness, acceptance, and compassion for others.

While we are walking this path of being transformed. As we surrender to the promptings of the Spirit and in accordance with who we come to know as God, we live as God’s people have always been meant to live. We live individually and communally as God’s people who embody his image in each of us and in our communities. While neither is perfect and both remain on the path of transformation, God wants us to be his economy and his example in the world. When people see us – individually and communally – they are given the opportunity to see God. As they see God in us, they are either attracted to God or repulsed. Those who are attracted move toward and are accepted by the people of God in their imperfections just as we were. Those who reject God are blessed by God’s people because they too are made by God and bear his image. We exercise God’s grace and patience with them just as God did with us and has throughout history.

Who are you? You are both the treasure of God, blessed by him with knowledge of him and his presence. At the same time you are his image in this world. You are in fact, God in this world. The blessing is not insignificant and the call to presence in the world as God is the greatest call you can have.

God loves you. Let him show you how you were made to live.

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