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Made In His Image

hands-440God loves us exactly as we are, not how we think we should be. This means that no matter what you did yesterday, if you have sinned in the last twenty-four hours (willfully or otherwise), what you said last week, or even what you look like in this moment, Jesus died for you, exactly how you are. This is a bold statement. Do you ever think that God can’t love you because of something you have done? You would be wrong. We have a tendency to put limits on God, but God is love, and He can’t be put in a box. God doesn’t need to be told when and how to love us. Yet we do just that. Sometimes it’s hard to see how God can love us when we have difficulty loving ourselves. We are our own worst critics. We consistently nitpick on our personalities, our feelings and our looks.
The media does a great job telling us how to look. It seems everything revolves around our appearance. Pick up any magazine and it has at least one article on how to “lose weight fast”. We constantly compare ourselves to one another and to celebrities, but what can be really dangerous is when we compare ourselves to game and comic book characters. Ladies, have you ever picked up a comic and thought you wanted to look like the heroine on the cover? Guys, have you ever compared yourself to your favorite, ripped super hero? Maybe you passed on your first pick for cosplay because you felt self-conscious and you were worried about what others would think about you. We receive pressure from many sources to look a certain way. We get pressure from the media, our friends and family, but most of all ourselves. Realistically no one looks like a character in a game, or a comic, but it doesn’t keep us from comparing our bodies to theirs. Don’t get me wrong; I’m one hundred percent in support of a healthy lifestyle. Our bodies are temples to God after all. We literally house the Holy Spirit. It’s chronic doubt and shame I’m addressing. I’m talking about those times when the enemy tells you that because you don’t look a certain way, that somehow you aren’t worthy. The enemy tells us that, based on our appearance, we aren’t worthy of love from others, love from ourselves, and even from God Himself. This is a terrible lie from the enemy. Satan is the father of lies. The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). That is his purpose; he will do anything to bring us down, and to keep us from recognizing the perfect love of Jesus. We do a thorough job of telling ourselves what we aren’t, rather than relying on the truth about who we are.
Lets take a step back from what we say we are and take a look at what The Word says about us:
• So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them (Genesis 1:27). Take note in the repetition of the word “created”. Like an artist, God created man from dust and then woman from man. We were the icing on the cake of God’s creation on earth.
• But God is so rich in mercy, and He loves us so much that even though we were dead because of our sins, He gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead. It is only by grace that you have been saved! (Ephesians 2:4). In no way did we earn our salvation, or the perfect love of Jesus. No. This is just a free gift from God. This is amazing grace.
• For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mothers’ womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well (Psalm 139:13-14). What a beautiful reminder that we are God’s wonderful work. In Psalm 139, David paints a beautiful picture of how God intimately put you together.
• Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quite spirit, which is also precious to God. (1 Peter 3:3). God reminds us in His word that we are precious to Him, precious simply because we are His children. We don’t need to do anything extra to qualify as worthy in His sight.
Outward beauty fades. The “perfect” body is an illusion, but even if you did have it, that would fade too. Let us be more concerned with showing the fruits of the sprit (Galatians 5:22) than the size of our pants, definition of our muscles, or if we look like the people in the magazines (spoiler alert: they’re all photoshopped). Ultimately, we don’t look like our beloved super heroes/heroines (or anti heroes), and that’s okay. We aren’t supposed to. They are awesome creations by amazingly imaginative people, but our worth does not come from them. Our worth comes from Jesus.
Only Jesus.
It doesn’t matter what anyone says about you. Not your parents, your friends, or your spouse (yes, even your spouse). You are enough. You are enough because God loves you. You are enough because Jesus died for you.
Remember when I said that Jesus died for you exactly as you are? Good. Remember that, because it’s really important. God knows you so personally. He knows what you struggle with. If He wanted you to be any different, you would be.

By Stacey Kline

Stacey is a full-time cosmetologist, full-time geek, and full-time Jesus lover. She delights in living a life in Christ centered recovery. She loves comics, video games, and the cheesiest puns you can think of. Her obsession with the X-men is only partially worrisome.

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