- Text: Gen. 1:27.
- In the familiar story of the Prodigal Son in Lk. 15:11-32, Jesus made an interesting statement when He said that, having wasted his inheritance, the young man "came to himself" (Lk. 15:17) and decided to go back home.
- This young man changed his course of action when he changed his thinking about himself -- that is, when he learned to see the truth about who he really was.
- The question "Who am I?" is an important question for every human being.
- We are greatly affected by the way we think about ourselves: our self-concept, our sense of personal identity.
- If we are to have a quality relationship with God -- and hence a quality life -- we are going to have to answer the question "Who am I?" in a way that is true to reality.
- If we are serious about the question of who we really are, the place to begin is the beginning: we must come to grips with the fact that we are nothing less than God-created beings -- made in His own image!
I. The Question of Identity
- The Bible affirms that we are made in God's image: "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them" (Gen. 1:27).
- God is a personal being -- and so are we.
- We are not merely things, or even animals -- we are persons.
- The difference between us and the animals is not merely quantitative -- it is qualitative.
- We are not merely a more complex organism -- we are of a different order of being altogether.
- To murder a human being is a fundamentally different act than to take the life of an animal - Gen. 9:6.
- God also made us male and female -- we are not just generic persons, we are men and women.
- Since we have been created in God's own image as personal beings, the central concern of our existence is our relationship to the God who created us - Eccl. 12:13,14.
II. The Question of Personal Worth
- To say that we are persons created in God's image is to say that we have personal worth.
- We are worth more than any of the lower creatures.
- "Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?" (Mt. 6:26).
- But as equal bearers of the divine image, no person is worth any more or less than another!
- Every human has a deep need for two things:
- Security - the confidence that we are unconditionally loved and appreciated.
- Significance - the confidence that we matter, that what we do counts for something good.
- Having been created in God's image each of us has an equally full opportunity for both security and significance.
- Security - Rom. 5:8.
- Significance - 1 Cor. 15:58.
- We need to feed our minds not only God's love for us, but on the steadfastness of His love.
- This does not mean God will not punish me if I persist in sin.
- It does mean that God will never quit loving me -- He will be there waiting for me as long as life lasts.
- But here is another thing: although each person has equal worth as a person, each person is uniquely significant!
- Equality does not mean sameness.
- In the human race, God has created a wonderful blend of equality and uniqueness.
- No two people are exactly alike.
- "Strengths" imply corresponding "weaknesses" -- each person has a unique combination of both.
- We never seem to be satisfied with what God has given us as individuals -- and we waste a great deal of time wishing for someone else's unique combination of qualities. Cf. 1 Cor. 12:14-20.
- God cares equally and deeply about every detail of every person He has ever created! Cf. Lk. 12:7.
- Our value as persons is intrinsic value -- it is inherent in what we are: creatures in God's image.
- It will do us good to keep focused on what we are worth as persons.
- The "internal gyroscope" of eternal worth as God's creature is vastly better than the ever-changing "social mirror" on which we sometimes base our self-concept.
III. The Question of Responsibility
- In thinking about who we are as persons, we need to think "with sober judgment" about ourselves - Rom. 12:3.
- As persons, in God's image, we are "free moral agents."
- It is an awesome "responsibility" to be endowed with a free will.
- We have been given the "ability to respond" -- we are accountable for how we respond to God - Heb. 4:13.
- Nothing I can do can lower my value, but what I do may waste my value and throw it away.
- My eternal destiny depends on what choices I make about myself as a person created in God's image.
- The ultimate question is: what am I doing with myself, the person God made me to be?
- Augustine said: "Thou hast made us for Thyself, and our hearts find no rest until they rest in Thee."
- We were made individually for fellowship with God.
- God wants each of us to be all that He created us to be!
- When we've done our deepest thinking about who we are and what we are worth, it's not likely that we will improve on the song we learned as children: "Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so."
Gary Henry - WordPoints.com + AreYouaChristian.com