Ever wonder just what the image of God is like?
After all, we are made in that image. A common list goes like this: - God is reasonable and goes by the name logos (the word from which we get “logical”); we too have the power of reason. - God knows right from wrong and wrote the book on it; in Romans Paul says we too have a conscience that convicts us even if we have never read God’s book. - God shows self-agency when choosing to love us and save us despite our lowly state; we too have free will and are not forced to follow God’s ways. We choose. - And God is relational, consisting of Father, Son, and Spirit, a community in perfect harmony; we too are wired for relationships where we experience our greatest joys and sorrows.
Of all these God-human qualities we have – reason, conscience, free will, and relationships — it seems our relational core is especially challenged today. Did you know that Western countries are the most individualistic on the planet?
That means we tend to see ourselves as separate from others and bent on promoting my rights, my identity, and my needs. Did you know that the use of the word “I” in books and articles today far outpaces “we”? Or that the average number of close friends we have today has slipped from three to two in the last two decades? Or that people belong to far fewer community groups today than fifty years ago? Add to this our digital devices and today we connect thinly. We limp along scrolling through our phones comparing “me” with everyone else and feeling jealous or angry that “I” do not have it as good as “them”.
Amidst this decline in community, I hear Jesus calling, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11: 28, 29). You will note that the antidote to wearisome individualism is to come and rest in sweet dependence on Jesus.
Are you weary today? Is it from doing life alone? Is it from grabbing for your rights or fighting for your identity or pursuing your needs? Is it time to rest in Jesus and find his community of care?
Dear God, forgive me for making life all about me. You have made me and I am created to thrive in communion with you and others. Help me put down my shield of hardened individualism where I try so hard to be strong and go it alone. You have made me with a relationship-shaped heart. Be my friend and help me connect meaningfully to people closest to me. Amen.
Throughout This Day: Spend at least ten minutes alone with God. Thank him for all the good he has poured into your life, and ask him to remind you of his constant presence in you as you go from task to task. Then find someone close to you and ask them about their day. Listen well and encourage them.
Photo Credit: Rocco Caruso on Unsplash