You look like your Dad
Emotional wounding aside, it’s not only impossible, but quite ridiculous to decide not to bear your biological father’s image anymore. His genetic code is in you. You can’t just decide that away. Nor can you believe it away. No matter how distant or cold, he is in you.
As pervasive and permanent as one’s genetic code so is the image of God woven into mankind.
“Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…
So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:26-27)
Our first parents, Adam and Eve, sinned and wrecked the perfect (though reflective) image of God stamped on mankind. And so the distorted image of God was perpetuated through the generations.
Enter: Jesus, the “exact imprint of [the Father’s] nature” (Hebrews 1:3). It’s through Christ that we are adopted into God’s family and rebirthed as a new creation. In other words, through the gospel we “put on Christ” (Gal. 3:27), and thus put on the imago Dei anew.
How to abide in it
In our Community Group, we have discussed questions along the lines of, “How can I be immersed in God when I’m working on spreadsheets at work?”
Chances are, you are not filling those spreadsheet cells with Bible verses or prayer requests. And it’s hard to do a good job when your mind is “praying without ceasing”. So, is it possible to abide in God while doing spreadsheets? Or more basically, “Can I be connected with God even when I’m not reading the Bible or praying?”
Bearing God’s image perfectly (Colossians 1:15), Christ was ever-abiding, though not constantly performing pious acts (eg, fasting, washing). Rather, it was as a Son of God that Christ abides.
Now you bear God’s image by the Holy Spirit, as a child of God (a co-heir with Christ). It’s something we do without really trying because he is woven into our being at a dispositional level — like a genetic code. So when you are typing in numbers on a spreadsheet, you may actually say that an aspect of God is imaged — perhaps his inclination to bring order out of chaos.
My wife images God’s creativity by cultivating a garden and learning new recipes.
She images God’s orderliness when she cleans our home and makes grocery lists.
Imagine your delight when your pre-pubescent son shaves his smooth face with a toy razor next to you. Or when your daughter studies your every gesture and copies them. Just imagine the delight.
God loves his image more than anything. Bear it, and abide.
What trait of the Father are you imitating?
This post is part of the series Abide | Robust and Ordinary Life in God
Check the others out!
Bearing the Father’s image | Part 1
Performing the gospel | Part 2
Enjoying the Father’s gifts | Part 3
Renewing your imagination | Part 4