Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, after our likeness, so they may rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move on the earth”. Genesis 1:27
You must be holy to Me because I, the Lord, am holy, and I have set you apart from the other peoples to be mine. Leviticus 20:26
My daughter loves to make art. Creating something helps her unwind after a busy day. There are little stacks of her artwork laying all over our house. Sharpies, crayons, markers, and colored pencils lay messily around with piles of papers of unfinished drawings and complete masterpieces (because she is young it is hard to tell the difference sometimes). Whether it is tiny doodles on an index card or an elaborate scene on canvas, she treasures them.
Because I like to keep things tidy, when I see endless piles of artwork sprawled widely all over the kitchen table, there are times when I enter a crazed state of “I can’t live in this mess one more instant!” In a whirlwind, and in secret, I must admit that I have picked up some of her artwork and thrown it in the trash.
Before you write me off as an insensitive mother, please understand that I do treasure her pieces. In fact, I have so many piles of her art that the plastic storage bins are overflowing. I pick and choose the ones to keep.
On the other hand, every single piece my daughter creates has value to her. The first time she realized I had thrown away a few pieces of her art she was very upset. “But I made that; it’s mine!," she protested loudly.
She had a point. We do own what we create. Creator-ship naturally leads to ownership.
For me, it has been a long process of learning that I am God’s work of art and that, because He created me, He owns me.
We all like to be captains of our own ship and kings and queens of our own kingdoms. This is not bad. In fact, God did create us to rule. “Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, after our likeness, so they may rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move on the earth’” (Genesis 1:27).
This is important: God created us in His image so that we may have dominion over this world that He created. God’s purpose in creating us as image-bearers is so we would reign His created order on His behalf. This is both jaw-dropping and humbling. Why would He do this? Are human beings really trustworthy stewards of this great mission on earth?
God told His people, “You must be holy to Me because I, the Lord, am holy, and I have set you apart from the other peoples to be mine” (Leviticus 20:26). In essence, God is saying to us, “You may rule in My place and be My image-bearer but I am calling you to live your lives set apart and holy."
God has called us to be a picture of His lovingkindness on earth. Because He owns us, He is calling us to display His kingdom. He is passionate about the image of God being represented.
This is an impossible order without the person and work of Jesus. We literally cannot display this kingdom in our own strength. It requires giving up our stubborn rebelliousness to embrace the plans He has for us. It requires a humility for God to shape, prune, and chisel us to live lives that are set apart and do not look like the rest of the world. This is hard work (there is no way around it), but in the end, we are fulfilling a God-given longing we have to be a part of His story.
As we recognize God as our King and practically give Him more and more ownership of our lives, He is faithful to free us from a meaningless existence. In the same way my daughter treasures her created works of art, God treasures each of us. We can trust Him with complete ownership of our hearts and lives.
Is there one area of your life that you are holding on to ownership? Spend time with God today and be brave enough to release it.
God has granted you dominion over some stretch of the earth. Whether you recognize it or not, He has given you an area of influence. Are you ruling as one “holy and set apart” or does your area mimic the rest of the world? Ask Him to guide you to one tangible thing you can do to live “holy and set apart."
Lord, thank you for giving me dominion over some area of this earth. Help me to be a faithful steward of this charge. Help me to see You as the One who gives us freedom as opposed to the lie that you are the One who restricts it. In Jesus name, Amen.
PC3 writer Gina Fimbel wrote today's devotional.