My son is almost seven and my daughter almost five years old. What a fun age this has been! Fun individually and so fun to watch them together as siblings.
One of the things I love to observe is their energy for daring and imaginative play. At this age neither are shaken by others’ opinions or by the notion they might not be able to do something. Both have such vibrant inner worlds.
They regularly turn themselves into superheroes, historical figures, master artists, important scientists, or royalty. Their storylines for play center on achieving something impossible that no one else can. And there’s never any doubt that they will do it. They claim a higher power and always triumph in what they set out to accomplish as they pretend. There is a self-worth and confidence I can envy.
I pray that God seals that sense of value and assurance so the world doesn’t steal it away. Because that is truly a gift given to them.
Given to us.
The thing is, I believe they have it more right than many. I believe my kids, even in their play, model certain truths of Scripture more accurately than I often see reflected in adult circles.
I say that because the Bible teaches we are made in God’s image, the imago Dei. We are born with a likeness to God’s nature, reflective of God. We are afforded a place and a purpose in relationship with God and the created order. From the beginning of time, men and women were equally made this way (Genesis 1:27).
Sin marred our reflection of God’s image (Romans 3:23). But it never changed the fact that we were created in it.
Because we are marred by sin, God chose to send Jesus. He came to erase the image distortion and restore what was meant to be. Jesus’ death and resurrection make it possible that God is reflected again in and through us (2 Corinthians 5:18). We are given the Holy Spirit (John 15:26) and able to align to Christ’s mind (1 Corinthians 2:16).
The Spirit enables restoration of God’s best in our own lives, for others and all creation. We are invited to play an active role in living out God’s heart for justice, peace and sound stewardship of all entrusted.
Knowing this, at Tearfund we embrace God’s mission and work to address complex systems like extreme poverty, climate change, and structural injustice. We actively seek to participate in God’s work of redeeming and restoring what is broken in the world.
We don’t get stuck in situational paralysis or assume we can’t make a difference even against the greatest challenges of today. We believe and proclaim the truth that in God’s Spirit, the biggest obstacles can be overcome.
Nothing about being made in God’s image indicates we are to simply be creatures of comfort. God’s nature is not inwardly focused. His design is for so much more than just social media reels, leisure travel, Pinterest parties, or retirement plans. God’s image in us is meant to reflect far beyond our cultural norms.
Joining fully in reflecting God through mission brings abundance of life (John 10:10). Therefore, we embrace the role to serve as an extension of God in this world. We unite with God in the greatest of life’s adventures to pursue our own and others’ transformation.
Any time I have a moment of weariness or doubt, I’m going to pause and watch the object lesson of my superhero kiddos going all-in on supernatural battles. I’ll be inspired by their boldness as they assume authority to right wrongs. I am going to allow their courage to remind me how in childlike faith, we go forward in our cause.
While their reality may be played, ours is promised.
By faith we choose to follow Jesus where the needs are greatest. We wholeheartedly join with God whose image we share, who restored our brokenness, and who openly invites partnership to bring wholeness and harmony to this world.
Just as we are. Seasoned warriors and first-time beginners. Loving God, denouncing injustice.
All welcome and included, no conditions. Each bearing God’s image.
Care to join God in new ways with us? We’d love to follow Jesus together.