Blaise Pascal once wrote: “God made man in his own image and man returned the compliment.”
How true! What we believe about God–his character, his way of interacting with us, his ultimate intentions toward us–defines the kind of people we will become. This is true in beautiful, positive ways, and at the same time it can also be true in very destructive ways.
If your God is angry, vindictive, capricious, stingy with grace, continually looking upon you with disapproval and disgust then that is most likely going to become your way as well. After all, we are made in the image of God…and if that’s the image of God we have, then that is what we will become. Too often this view of God, which is highly toxic, actually pushes people away from God. And for good reason! There are some versions of God that I don’t believe in either–that aren’t worthy of belief.
Yet, there is another option. We can be formed in the image of the God that we find in Psalm 103:
Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel:
The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. [vv.1-8, TNIV]
When we are formed in the image of a healing, rescuing, compassionate, generous God who works for justice, reveals himself to us, and is patient with us–all because he is love!–we are formed in that way as well.
What is your God like? What image are you being formed in?
May the grace of God transform us more and more into his kind, compassionate image.
grace and peace.