I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. -Psalm 119:11
By Debbie Ramamoorthy (WITHIN Devotional Writer)
As we continue to step into 2021, I'm sure many of you are actively seeking out intentions for the new year, whether that may be dreams, desire, goals, areas of life to illuminate, or areas to let go. There is a fresh energy that we clothe ourselves with as we continue the process of engaging with the newness of what we have entered into-what is to come.
In my personal life, I love the new year- I love the energy it brings, the clean slate, fresh start, new beginnings, all of that! With 2020 being the year we were leaving behind, I set out to seek out what God was laying on my heart for 2021. And I was ready to receive it! As I'm sure many of you probably can resonate with- 2021 felt relatively easy to usher in.
As I continue to modify my desires and goals for 2021, verse 27, in the first chapter of the Bible, Genesis kept being highlighted to me. The verse is, "So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
Allow yourself a moment to really let that verse sink in. What jumps out to me is the stark contrast in my motivations for why I was setting out in my intentions, and what scripture brings to light in the very beginning of the Bible. To be honest, so many of my intentions include some variation of modifying who I am- working out more, eating more plant based, putting on real clothes more than once a month (covid, y'all!) and obviously a sprinkling of reading my Bible daily, practicing Sabbath, deepening my understanding and practice of solitude and rest with Jesus. But in total transparency, when I look back at those first 3 intentions- they are not wrong in themselves. But when I dig in a bit deeper and understand why I am pursuing them, I am able to see that I want to in some way, change who I am. Me- made in His image- in His likeness: I look like Him, I reflect Him, I am His image-bearer. So why on Earth would I contemplate modifying who I am?
I kept seeking out intentions but also making sure I understood the real motivation behind them. The deeper I dug, I recognized my motivations that were not glorifying to God and immediately changed them to honor Him.
This process allowed me, and continues to, sit in the reality that I bear the Savior of the world's image. This isn't just some feel-good saying, but is the truth. So, what can I do to honor that? And not only that, how does that truth being awakened, affect how I treat those around me? Am I seeing who I want to see or am I seeing the person Jesus created them to be? Not only that, am I seeing them as image-bearers of our God Himself?
I also recognize the importance of the continual renewal of our minds so we don't keep falling into the trap of surrendering to our own selfish desires. Rather, we keep seeking Him and surrendering to Him- taking on a mind that is glorifying to Him, and a perception of ourselves and those around us, that is honoring to Him.
My encouragement to you is to meditate on these words: You are made in His image. When the world feels heavy, and your role in this world feels even heavier, rest in those words. Recognize that not only do you carry His image, you carry His power within you through Christ!
The weekly devotionals seek to encourage you to dig deeper into Scripture as you take the time to daily read, meditate, and internalize the verses in the devotional, along with the passages provided below to give greater context. Take the time to read them throughout the week (repetition is important) and ask the Holy Spirit to help you grasp what God is showing you about Himself, about you, and how to live in light of these truths.
Passages to read/memorize/meditate:
Questions to Reflect on:
1. In what ways do you see yourselves as a reflection of Jesus?
2. Are there any areas of your life where you want to understand yourself as a reflection of God?
3. What are the obstacles that get in the way of you believing you are His image bearer?