The words of God, “let us make man” (Genesis 1:26) on the sixth day of creation introduce the creation of a being that would be different from every other part of creation. Man became the greatest part of the week’s work and the only part of creation that is said to be made in the “image of God” (this word “image” is used three times 1:26-27). This image of God is of course, no longer a perfect image, because of sin (Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10). But it is important to understand that the “image of God” is still in humanity despite man’s sin, and for this reason, human life is sacred (Genesis 9:6; James 3:9).
There are two things you need to know about being made in the image of God. First, we represent God on earth. As representatives of God, we are to rule the world for Him; to “be fruitful and multiply…” (Genesis 1:28), to be good stewards (Genesis 2:15), and to have dominion over the rest of creation (Genesis 1:26). also means that we have an obligation to our fellowman (Matthew 22:39).
But we also share personality and intelligence with God. We are made to think. Man was endowed with an extraordinary capacity for knowledge. Some are more endowed than others, but we all can think, reason, form arguments, and make choices. This is not just something we can do. This is our responsibility.
Remember, as God deals with you as a sinner, and pursues you, He knows how He created you; He knows that you can think, and He demands that you use that gift. Conversion—being born again—is an exercise of intelligence. God gives you information about yourself, and about Him and demands that you respond to that information. The same is true throughout the Christian life.
God Sets Choices Before Us. The Scripture clearly sets before us two ways, two destinies—only two. There is service to Satan and sin or service to our Creator-God (Joshua 24:15). There
He stimulates a response. The very first sinner God dealt with was Adam. Adam was running and hiding, but God found him. It is important to see that God dealt with Adam on a question and answer basis. God asked Adam a series of questions, not because God did not know. God knew where Adam was and what he had done, but God was agitating and
He summons us to engage Him. Do you think you should be a special case, or that God is too strict? Do you think all roads should lead to heaven, and that you should have a choice which road you take? God invites you to argue it out with Him (Isaiah 1:18). Take your arguments to God and hear what he says to you. Tell God He is too particular, too rigid, too narrow. Tell God how great you think you are or how righteous you think you are. But you have to wait to hear what he says to you, and you will find his reply in the 66 books of the Bible.
As a Christian, you must develop your mind. Throughout the Bible, we are encouraged to engage God, to argue with God, wrestle with God (Genesis 32:24-29), follow after (Luke 9:23). The Bible calls us to study and search the Scriptures (John 5:39; Acts 17:11) and to grow in knowledge (2 Peter 3:18), “renew the mind.” (Romans 12:2) “gird up the loins of the mind” (1 Peter 1:13). Notice the verbs (action words).
Christianity does not allow for inactivity, staleness or sameness. Just like standing water grows stagnant, so the Christian who is not spirituality engaged reveals his true nature. Staleness and sameness in the Christian life is a sign of no life at all—like standing water. The Christians in Laodicea in the first century, Jesus said were “lukewarm”—they were not cold (i.e. opposed to God), nor were they hot (eager for God). They were content with the name and appearance of Christianity, but they were dead.
A living and vibrant Christianity recognizes that God is sovereign over our lives, wrestles with Him therefore in the circumstances of life, communicates with him through prayer and His Word, engages with him in worship and serves him in the daily and mundane routine of life. Again, notice the verbs in this description of Christianity.
Also, the writer to the Hebrews tells us that our interaction with other Christians is an essential part of spiritual growth—provoking us to love and to good works (Hebrews 10:24). Exposure to other Christians and Christian thought is so important to our development; it pushes us into the Scriptures, challenges our assumptions, forces us to think through and it sharpens our spiritual wits.
Now, there is something else you need to know. Since God demands this of you as a human being and a Christian, then he will work out ways in your life to make this happen. He suggested to Satan about Job, so that he could prove the power of faith in Job’s life and so that Job might know God more—not just hear about God but see God in his life (Job 42:5). God told Paul that the “thorn in the flesh” would remain so that Paul might continue to lean on God’s sufficient grace.
Sometimes adversity comes as a “chastening,” to bring us back from disobedience or to make us listen to God in his Word. Sometimes we hear best in adversity. Many have testified, as Job did, that in adversity you will see him clearer and feel God closer than at other times in your life. You should learn to recognise these times and be thankful that the Lord works with you in this way. He is making you think, causing you to interact with him, not just in what we call nominal Christianity (Christianity in name), but in a very personal way.