Imago Dei. I like the sound of that, Imago Dei. It sounds sort
of ethereal and mysterious to me, something deep, something with the potential to change our world. Imago Dei. Oh sure, it’s a fancy church word, but it stands for a deep theological idea, an idea that has the potential to solve a host of our earth’s problems. Imago Dei, this incredible idea that we are all made in the image of God. If you can grasp Imago Dei, that human beings are made in God’s image, the reflection of perfection, you can begin to see the mystery surrounding our worth as humans, the importance of us, the amazing intricate body, mind, and souls that we are and are created to be. We could spend years researching and exploring and discovering what all that means, imago Dei, but simply put, it means we are all made in the image of God. We don’t have to understand every nuance of the phrase to know the amazing implications imago Dei has for all of us, to see how the world around us would change if we all took seriously our imago Dei.
Imagine if you could reflect the beauty of your favorite actress, the strength of your favorite superhero, or the knowledge of the world’s greatest scientists. Imagine if you could reflect all of the good things of your parents or project the confidence of those we think are better than us. Imagine, for just a minute, if you could be a reflection of something even better than that. Now imagine that you are worth even more than any of those things.
In Genesis, God said, let us make humankind in our own image. If we continue the passage, we could find fodder for deep discussions on gender and marriage and equality and what God designed us to be and do, but for today, let’s focus on this: we are made in the image of God. The implications, and the gifts, are huge.
Being created in God’s image means that we have inherit worth simply because we exist. It means we are all valuable, from the frailest of the frail to the strongest of the strong. Worth without question, from the highly educated to the cognitively challenged. The wealthy, the poor. Our worth is not determined by our gender, or race, or occupation. Our worth is from the One who created us and nothing can ever take that away. No person can strip of us of the gift, no institution can derail the way we were made, no situation can upend the value we were given. Being made in the image of God; it is our right and our responsibility, our design and our destiny.
Because you are Imago Dei, you don’t ever have to worry if you are good enough, smart enough, strong enough, pretty enough, confident enough, wealthy enough, masculine enough, or feminine enough. Your birthright gives you all the value that you need. You are valuable because you are. God has created you with gifts and talents and unmeasurable worth because you were made to reflect God and God’s glory in all that you do and in all that you are. You are enough because you were made in God’s image. Hold your head high, let go of the insecurities and the anxieties surrounding your personality and your self-image. Your creator and God are more than enough, and He made you to be more than enough. You are made in the image of God and that alone gives you all the value you need on this earth.
Why are we so stuck on our own insecurities, why do we operate out of fear, when we have the ultimate Creator, the one who owns the cattle on a thousand hills, to look over us because He created us? How would our lives, our attitudes, our reactions to others be different if we lived the truth that we are created by God in His image? It is our right and if we miss this right we miss out on the safety, security, and self-confidence that accompanies it. We have true worth and it is our right to live it. It is our right to live as one who is made in the image of God.
And yet, it is also our biggest responsibility.
Imagine how the world would be different if we looked at every other person as made in the image of God? If every one knew their value and could appreciate the value in others for no other reason than they simply exist, what could happen here? Road rage would cease, because we would have patience and deference for the person in the other car. Internet trolls would vanish, because we wouldn’t feel the need to be a keyboard warrior that sticks it to everyone who disagrees with our point of view. Sick babies would not be forced off of life-support, and new moms would never be made to feel guilty for breastfeeding, bottle feeding, working, or not. Body shaming would disappear, and bullying could cease because we would not need to trash others to feel good about ourselves. Our quiet comfortable confidence would lead us to encourage others rather than discourage them from living fully in the idea that we all have incredible immeasurable value and worth.
Our Creator has already given us everything we need for Imago Dei- He has already created us in His image. It is our job, our responsibility to use this gift to its fullest. Don’t wait for a better day, don’t wait to discover your worth until you’ve finished school or finished your ordination or finished your certification. Don’t wait until you’ve already become someone to walk in your worth because you already ARE someone. Look in the mirror and ask God to show you yourself as He sees you. Ask God to show you the true worth of every person you come across. Living your value and living out the value of others – those who are like us and those who are not – might just change your world. Recognizing your value might just give you the strength and the confidence to instill that value in others, one person, one Imago Dei at a time. God did not create us to be insecure, afraid, depressed, and confused. He didn’t make us to be angry and show hatred to those who are different or those whom we perceive as less. He created us to walk our life journey in love for ourselves and love for others and love for God. As we learn to value ourselves and value others, we can’t help but change the world, one Imago Dei at a time.
You have value because you were made in the Image of God. Live it.