By: Adam Dorsey
Church Planter & Pastor, New Life Fellowship & Ferryland Bible Fellowship
St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada
What is your goal in life? How do you set your goals and priorities? The reality is that we will set our personal goals based upon that which we most desire for ourselves. What is that for you? Admittedly, most of us set personal goals without even giving it much intentional thought–it flows directly out of our heart. And that’s the troubling part.
There are tens of millions of Americans on anti-depressant medication today. There are millions each year who commit suicide. Scores of young high school and college students stare blankly into the future–clueless as to what their responsibilities are, and what they should do with their lives. And guessing from the soaring flat screen sales, it seems like men think they were made for TV. And all the while, long before any of our generation existed, Moses penned these words, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit:
“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth'” (Gen 1:26 ESV).
There is so much behind our being made in the image of God, but for now, I’d like to focus on how that should affect our goals in life. In short, to be made in the image of God (male or female) is to represent Him. God has created us to image Him in this world. That’s why He gave us dominion over creation. That’s why He stamped us with morality, and gave us creative abilities, and created us to be in relationship with one another. All these things represent Him. This is what it means to have as our purpose in life to glorify Him.
So many of us are depressed, confused, unfulfilled, and frustrated because we are trying to find our meaning and purpose in life without regard to our Creator, who created us with the purpose of imaging Him. Being created in the image of God means that the purpose of our existence is to represent Him–His plans, His purposes, His wisdom, His love, His revealed will. We are to turn to Him for all knowledge, all counsel, all direction. We are to seek to represent Him in what we do, where we work, who we marry, where we live, etc. We must stop trying to conceive of ourselves as independent from God, because we are not! We must stop seeking self-fulfillment and start seeking God-fulfillment. How does He want me to image Him at my job? At home? At church? In my marriage? To my lost co-workers?
This explains Jesus’ earthly ministry as perfect man. He never spoke without first seeking to hear what His Father was saying, so He could say that (Jn 12:49-50–“For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment–what to say and what to speak…”). He never did anything before first seeking to know what His Father was doing, so He could do that (Jn 5:19–“Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.”) In doing this, though, Jesus was not only showing us what true humanity is–what it really looks like to image God–but He is also winning our salvation for us. He is imaging God perfectly because as sinners we cannot image God perfectly. Likewise, when He dies on the cross, He does so as our substitute. In His perfect life and death and resurrection, Jesus of Nazareth has won our salvation for us!
If you are united to Christ by faith, you are a new creation (2 Cor 5:17). You are being renewed daily by the Holy Spirit into the image of Christ (Rom 8:28-30). God’s divine power has granted to you all things that pertain to life and godliness, including being a more faithful representative (image) of God (2 Pet 1:3). Because Jesus was perfect man for us, we can now be made right with God, and we can now–through the sanctifying power involved in our union with Him–be more faithful imagers of God. And nothing can be more fulfilling in life than fulfilling the purpose for which we were created!
I’m pretty certain enslavement to pornography, alcohol, and King of the Hill is not what we were created for. If our goal in life is self-fulfillment, we can never be fulfilled. That’s because we weren’t created to fulfill our heart’s desires. We were created to fulfill God’s desires. And God’s desires are spelled out for us in the Scriptures. This explains why Jesus says in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” If we had more time, we would examine exactly what God’s desires are for men as it pertains to representing Him. I encourage you all to seek that out diligently, asking Him to reveal to you what it means to image God as male. I recommend Kevin DeYoung, Just Do Something, Stuart Scott, The Exemplary Husband, and C.J. Mahaney, Humility: True Greatness.
May the Lord Jesus Christ–perfect Man–bless each of us as men, and may we take what we have learned and teach it to our wives and children, in obedience to our Creator’s command (Deut 6:4-25).