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Made In the Image of God

Made In the Image of God

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” Genesis 1:26

We moved down the road a few weeks ago, soon discovering that our new property has a healthy population of deer. This introduced a new word into our dog’s vocabulary. This is amusing, but I’m annoyed by how many words that dog knows, because now, every time we see a deer out our window, we must spell it. If he hears us say deer out loud, he goes bonkers, whining, crying, and running to all the windows, trying to find this deer. Somewhere in him is an innate desire to chase deer. He can’t help it. It’s not a choice. It’s simply a natural impulse that he must obey. We can try to change his behavior with rewards and discipline, but still, he can’t comprehend right and wrong. He’s all impulse and appetite. There’s no morality in his decisions. He can’t reason because his mind isn’t equipped for it. He may possess a broad range of feelings, but still, he can’t know God because he’s only flesh with no soul or spirit.

These are the things that separate man from the rest of creation. In today’s passage, we’re told that God created humans in his image. Unlike the beasts, we are capable of reason. We can comprehend right and wrong and we can understand morality. We possess the capacity to make healthy choices, rising above our base, self-destructive instincts to experience the divine. We can know God because we have a soul, and because he created us with the spiritual senses and abilities to be able to interact with him.

Still, I’ve spent a lot of my life acting more like my dog. I’ve obeyed my appetite like he obeys his impulse to chase deer. My god has been my stomach and though I’ve known right and wrong, I’ve followed my base nature to profound destruction. In doing so, I’ve dulled my spiritual senses. While acting like the beasts, I’ve blunted my spiritual abilities and become deaf to God’s voice.

In recovery now, the daily challenge is to realize that I can and must rise above my impulsive nature. I don’t have to be a slave to my stomach, and I don’t have to be ruled by my feelings. Feelings and emotions are an important part of who I am, but my feelings are fickle and make poor decisions by themselves. Made in the image of God, I can listen to him, comprehending right and wrong. I can understand that doing right may mean some sacrifice now, but choosing God over self is the only way to experience the blessed life for which I was created.

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