Made in God’s Image means that we have been designed lovingly, and specifically by God to represent him, and manifest his characteristics to the world. God’s dream, and desire, was for someone just like you that he could interact with, and partner with!
Through the relationship that we have with God, and the unity we have with the body of Christ, we can begin to move and operate in the power and authority that God wants, and intends for us.
Adam and Eve were given authority to rule, subdue, increase, and multiply as they cared for God’s creation. They were free to eat from any tree in the garden. This freedom came within the boundaries of one command: to not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil [See Genesis 2:16-17].
Though Adam and Eve failed to obey, God’s mandate and commission was not revoked. What Jesus did on the cross, what believing in Jesus for our salvation means, is that our relationship, and position with the Father is restored. We can now know his love, know his heart, hear his voice. Jesus also won back our authority to complete our mandate: to rule, subdue, multiply, and increase.
 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you… Matthew 28:18-20
Jesus did not come to earth to complete our job. He came back to empower us to finish the job! He set us free from the rule of sin over us, and won back the authority and power that God wants us to walk in to complete the commission. Jesus also commanded the disciples to not go until the gift of the Holy Spirit came. The Holy Spirit is our power, authority, and seal upon our lives to rule, subdue, multiply, and increase.
I read a book recently that got me so excited about this idea of freedom, and power. Though the book is not about what it means to be made in God’s image, the story I found might help with the idea of authority we are talking about today. The complete story, and more awesome stuff can be found in Powerful and Free by Danny Silk. Go. Buy it. Now.
Here is my paraphrase of the story:
Abraham Lincoln began his presidency without a strategy for emancipating slaves. His primary goal was to preserve the union of the nation, even if it meant protecting slavery in the South. He knew slavery was an injustice, and didn’t want it spreading to other regions of the nation, but feared outlawing it altogether would split the nation. He created a law prohibiting new territories from having slaves. If a slave ran away, that person would be sent back to their owner.
Lincoln, though he valued all people, and believed that slavery was wrong, had no hope or vision that black men and women could integrate into American society, because of the impoverished, and uneducated state in which they had lived for generations.
Then Lincoln met Frederick Douglass, an educated and powerful black man. Through this relationship Lincoln began to imagine how freed slaves could be integrated into American society.
Douglass also challenged Lincoln to allow freed black men to prove their patriotism and serve as soldiers in the Union Army. Something the politicians weren’t comfortable doing:
“Though they believed black people should be free, they still weren’t sure black people could be trusted to be noble. They suggested that the black men be drafted into the army but not given weapons. Fortunately, through his relationship with Frederick Douglass, Lincoln realized that freedom isn’t freedom if it doesn’t come with power.” (emphasis mine) – Danny Silk, Powerful and Free
Inviting people to fight in a battle, but without weapons, sounds more like inviting them to be bait, rather than soldiers. You and I are also in a battle. Though the victory is won, there is still ground to take for God’s Kingdom. There are still people under the influence of darkness, blinded, and heading for eternal death. It is incredible to me that God would entrust us with such incredible authority. Yet, as we just saw, freedom isn’t freedom if it doesn’t come with power. And God wants you to be truly free: free from the power and dominion of sin, free so you can life as freeborn sons and daughters in this beautiful, expansive life. And true freedom means that you are equipped to defend your freedom, and the freedom of those around you. Freedom to therefore go into all the world.
I am so grateful that God has entrusted us with weapons of power to fight this battle with!
Here are some thoughts about the weapons you have been given:
The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
Our weapons are not earthly. They are spiritual weapons, to do spiritual battle with. This isn’t anything weird. Doing spiritual battle means taking your thoughts captive, or raising up your shield of faith when doubt and fear come flying at you. And our authority is given to build up those around us, never to pull down (2 Cor. 10:8). Our weapons are to be used to heal, not to destroy.
God has invited you and I to know him intimately. This intimacy with God gives us a glimpse of what he loves, and what he thinks is worth fighting for. Our response to seeing that love in God’s heart should be to take that love to the world. He has given us the power and authority to love and serve well, which often means fighting for those who aren’t even aware of the battle raging around them. The battle is never against people, but against the sin and darkness that influences people.
 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of god so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore put on the full armor of God…
What is the full armor of God? (And I will resist elaborating on each one…for now…)
- the BELT OF TRUTH
- the BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
- the SHOES OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE
- the SHIELD OF FAITH
- the HELMET OF SALVATION
- the SWORD OF THE SPIRIT
 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests… Ephesians 6:10-18
God wants to fully equip you for everything he has prepared for you to do on this earth. You do have a job to bring light and life and hope… don’t take the commission, or the authority for granted. How has God empowered and enabled you to reach this world?