Created In His Image
What does that mean?“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Gen 1:27. It means we experience the fulness of joy when we are abiding in Him,“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing...These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” Jn 15:5, 11 &“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” Gen 1:28. Our nature is to create, as He has done, and we experience the fulness of joy when we are doing it in alignment with His plan for creation. So, we invent things and build things. We do this while we are completing His prime objective, which is to spread His love to the uttermost part of the earth,“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Acts 1:8.
Beauty is the outward expression of love, so he tells us to eat and makes that a pleasant experience. We are not just eating to sustain our lives. He has provided rich textures and flavors with various nuances so we can enjoy the food we eat. He tells us to multiple, so he makes sex enjoyable. He wants us to feel His love in the canvas of His creation, so He colors the mountains with flowers and minerals. He fills the sea with coral and fish; brings us sand and waves to fill our lives with joyful experiences. The point is that He has given us work to do and a way to enjoy doing it, as long as we prioritize His calling for us to love,“He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” 1 Jn 4:8, to be truthful and allow others the freedom God has given us, “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Jn 8:31-32. Nothing should be done for selfish interests,“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” Phil 2:3. He asks us to love everyone, as He has loved us,“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” Jn 13:34. Not because they deserve our love, but rather because we have learned from God whogave us His love even though we did not deserve it,“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Rom 5:8.
When we accept His love, our lives begin to change as we allow the beauty of His love to reprioritize what we treasure,“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Rom 12:2 &“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matt 6:19-21. He wants our hearts because He wants us to love Him as He loves us,“But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” 1 Sam 16:7. He is not after our obedience and/or sacrifices. He wants our love,“For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” Hos 6:6 &“And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” Mk 12:33 &“By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:” Heb 10:20-24.
How then shall we live?
We are to use the beautiful minds He has given us to reason with the Bible and the Holy Spirit; to examine what we see and do,“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Is 1:18. He has gifted us with the ability to honestly evaluate everything,“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.” 1 Thess 5:21. This is part of the process He calls sanctification,“But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:” 2 Thess 2:13.
When we reject His offer of love, everything we see and do becomes distorted by the darkness that exists outside of His love,“There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Prov 4:12 &“I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts;” Is 65:2. He never gives up on us and is always sending light into our lives to help us find our way out of darkness,“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” 1 Cor 10:13. However, He will never force us to love Him, for true love is always freely given, as our love of Him must be,“We love him, because he first loved us.” 1 Jn 4:19.
It is always our choice.