Would you agree with me that we live in an image-driven society?
As Americans, we are consumed with it. There are entire parts of the medical industry that exist because of our desire to improve our image. The weight loss industry is a multi-billion dollar a year business and the demand for Botox and various forms of plastic surgery are constantly on the rise.
Just about a few weeks ago, an “older” model was called “brave” because someone released pictures of her that were untouched by a Photoshop magician. The infamous, unretouched picture showed flaws, imperfections, and age. A human with flaws…imagine that. Why was that news?!?
Because we are so image driven that it’s almost like an icon (perhaps an idol?) crumbling when we see physical imperfections in them.
It makes me sad when I think about it: there are so many people who are unhappy with how they look. There are so many people who evaluate their self-worth based on some preconceived notion. What they see in the mirror defines their self-worth. Even a trip to get your teeth cleaned can turn into an exercise in “what’s wrong with your smile” and “a few thousand dollars will restore your self worth”.
None of us are immune to this. And yet Genesis 1:27 records this profound sentence:
“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
Does that excite you as much as me? Okay, maybe it doesn’t, but think about it: you are made in the image of God. Your self-worth is not based in what others think of you, but based in what God thinks of you. Your value as a human being is not based on how clear your skin is, how small your waist is, how muscular your body is, how tall or short you are—nope! It’s based on the fact that God made all of humanity in His image.
The late pastor Adrian Rogers said, “God doesn’t love you because you’re valuable. You’re valuable because God loves you!” That is so incredibly true. You are valuable to the Kingdom of God because God loves you and made you wonderfully.
That isn’t to say we shouldn’t try to take care of our bodies. They are, after all, the only ones we have but we shouldn’t obsess over unhealthy images of ourselves. For example, no matter what I do, I will never, never, never be a fast, long-distance runner. I don’t have the build for it. What good does it do for me to be depressed about that when God has created me for something else? I am made in His image and I am designed for something for His Kingdom. That’s my destiny and no one can take that away from me.
You know what else? So is every single human being you see—and yes, that means the person you see in the mirror too! The poor person, rich person, tall person, short person, homeless person, disabled person, white person, Hispanic person, black person—we all express the creativity of the image of the living God. The very next person you see—no matter who it is—tell yourself, “they are made in the image of God; just like me”. Do it! Say it to yourself. I promise: you will treat them, and yourself, very differently.
We are all, after all, made in the image of God.