Whose Image Do You Bear?

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27

Why am I here? Every soul seeks an answer to this question. Every heart cries out for purpose. And yet most find the answer elusive. Many live their whole lives without discovering it.

But you don’t have to wait your whole life, beloved. I’m going to tell you today.

You exist to reveal God.

It’s true. God created you to reveal His glory—His very nature. You see, God created man and woman to reveal who He is.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth…” Genesis 1:27-28

Beloved, when God repeats Himself, He wants us to take notice. God blessed mankind to multiply and fill the earth with all that He is.

We were supposed to reveal His image, dear one. His love. His joy. His peace. His patience. His gentleness. His faithfulness. His kindness. His goodness. His self-control. His unity. His life.

God created man as an earthly expression of who He is. The same oneness shared by Father, Son and Holy Spirit joined man with God in beautiful fellowship. And life flowed unhindered on earth through our perfect union with our Creator.

Until the serpent slithered into Eden and convinced Adam and Eve to separate from God by disobeying His word. Man exchanged truth for deception, and our enemy planted a new seed—the seed of sin— in man’s heart. That new seed changed the fruit we produce. Now, instead of revealing God’s character, we display His enemy’s nature.

Beloved, the fruit of God’s Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)—given by God to nourish, grow, and produce abundant life—has been replaced by sin’s fruit.

  • Love became selfishness that bred hate.
  • Sorrow overtook our joy.
  • Instead of peace, we naturally worry.
  • Instead of patience, anger erupts.
  • In place of kindness, we hurt people.
  • Evil has overrun goodness.
  • Faithfulness withers into doubt.
  • Harshness crushes gentleness, and self-control is all but lost.

God’s image on earth has been overshadowed, beloved. Instead of mankind revealing God’s loving and giving nature, we bear our enemy’s self-centered one. And devastation increases as God’s blessing over man proves itself.

You see, when God speaks, nothing can render His Word void. And God blessed man to bear fruit, multiply, and fill the earth.

So man continues to bear fruit. And that fruit multiplies and increases. But instead of giving and sustaining life in God’s image, the fruit man produces destroys it.

We see the evidence of sin’s increasing nature as violence becomes commonplace in our world. Hatred divides and separates, and terror claims innocent lives with growing frequency.

Mankind reveals our enemy’s nature with increasing measure.

But here’s the good news. God didn’t leave us alone to reap the consequences of our sin. He sent Jesus to conquer the sin in man’s heart through the cross and restore us to God’s image.

Beloved, Jesus enabled us,

…to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24

Christ has empowered us to fulfill our true purpose. We can once again reveal God’s image. Jesus restored our ability to produce godly fruit that reveals God’s character.

Beloved, only the church can counter evil’s rise on earth. Believers must submit to God’s Spirit within them and fill the earth with God’s image. His nature displaying itself on earth produces life and peace.

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“By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” John 15:8

I have to ask, dear one. Whose image do you bear? Does the fruit your heart produces resemble God’s character? Or are you still overcome by selfishness, worry, anger, and sorrow?

Christ endured the cross to make your heart love again. He suffered so you could be healed. He gave you His own peace to ease your worry.

Do you experience His gifts of grace? Or have you rejected them in favor of your old nature?

Living from your old nature will only cost you, beloved. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. Jesus came to restore you to life.

Don’t live the rest of your life in the desert, dear one. Let God show you who you really are. As you step into your redeemed nature, the life of God will manifest though you. And you will show the world who He is.

I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe. Ephesians 1:16-19

Know who you are, beloved, so you can show the world who God is.

The Seed of Power

Rise up, you women who are at ease, hear my voice; you complacent daughters, give ear to my speech . . . you will shudder, you complacent women; for the grape harvest fails, the fruit harvest will not come. Isaiah 32:9-10 ESV

I find it interesting that this passage speaks specifically to women. The warning? If women are complacent, the harvest will fail.

I can’t help thinking of Jesus’ declaration in John 15:5, 8.

I am the vine; you are the branches . . . By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.

Rise up, complacent daughters, or the fruit harvest will not come.

On Sunday we celebrate Mother’s Day. We set apart that day to honor women, applauding the influence we have in raising up the next generation.

But I’d like to take this time to speak to all women. And, if you’re willing to listen, to the men who have the potential to either encourage or repress.

You, precious daughter, have a significant role to play in reaping the Kingdom harvest.

The enemy knows it. And he wants to suppress it.

Perhaps you have believed his propaganda declaring that women have a lesser role. Jesus did, after all choose twelve men as His Disciples. And I can’t find anywhere that the names of the women who loved and served Jesus will be inscribed on the foundations of the New Jerusalem.

Yes. Satan easily convinces us that even God Himself holds women in a lesser regard.

This might be a good place to remind us that only together can man and woman fully reveal 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. . . . and behold, it was very good. Genesis 1:27, 31

In fact, the only place that God used the words not good in the creation story was Genesis 2:18.

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”

Yep. Man without woman: Not Good.

Yet the message resounding throughout almost every culture and religion translates a little differently —woman: not as good. Veiled faces and withheld rights proclaim it. Our own nation’s history reveals it. And even today, women are regarded as property, sold as slaves.

Have you ever considered where it all comes from, dear one? I’ll give you a hint. The prince of this world sets its agenda, manipulating hearts and minds. But why would he direct so much attention toward devaluing women?

Consider God’s words in Genesis 3:15, spoken to Satan at the time of the fall.

“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

In case you’re wondering, enmity is hatred or hostility. Notice that man is excluded from God’s prophecy. That’s because earthly man would have nothing do with the deliverance God promised to bring. God Himself stepped into that role.

But He did use a woman.

This is why Satan has worked throughout history to crush women, beloved. He hates us, because God told him that He would bring deliverance through us.

And He kept His promise. From the womb of a virgin, a Deliverer emerged. God’s own Son crushed the serpent’s head. The serpent has not forgiven us.

But I think his hatred is also rooted in fear. You see, God’s Word is eternal and never returns void. So it’s still true, dear one. What God will birth from His seed planted within a woman still holds the power to crush the enemy’s head. He may bruise her heel, but the seed within her ensures her victory.

So you see, the enemy must convince woman she does not hold the power she wields. Otherwise, she will crush him.

Will you believe, dear one? Will you believe that Jesus sees eternal value in you that perhaps you cannot? Would you believe He has purposed great victories through you by the seed of His Word implanted within you?

Jesus spent His earthly life countering the enemy’s message that women have lesser value. He stood alone to rescue a condemned adulteress from being stoned, counting her life precious. He proclaimed Himself to be the Messiah for the first time to a woman—a woman considered an outcast in her town. And He revealed Himself after His resurrection first to Mary Magdalene, who happened to be in a garden.

That particular scene brings tears when I think of the whispers I entertained before stepping out in ministry—whispers that said, “Women have no place proclaiming Truth. That job belongs to the men.”

Jesus saw things differently. You see, Mary hadn’t been alone that day visiting the empty tomb. Peter and John had run there ahead of her. The disciples left when they found it empty, but Mary remained, weeping.

It strikes me that Jesus waited for Peter and John to leave before revealing Himself to Mary.

No, God didn’t say that Mary’s name would be inscribed on the foundations of the New Jerusalem. But Jesus loved her, and He chose to meet her in her grief. Then He gave her a job.

Go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her. John 20:17-18

It seems the Apostles received a Word from Jesus through a woman.

Don’t let the enemy rob you of your value, dear one. Know whose you are, and that you are accepted in the Beloved.

Yes, men of God hold great value. But so do you.