Never Grow Passive About Smashing Up False Images

Through the blood of Jesus, you have been made “blood” with God’s family. You are a child of God, with all the benefits and blessings that comes from being part of his incredible family.

By Aubrey Sampson, adapted from her title, Known.

“OH MY GOODNESS! Aren’t you just the spitting image of your mom?”

My fourteen-year-old son hears this all the time. He handles it graciously, but can you imagine being a teenage boy, burgeoning into a man, constantly being told you look exactly like your fortyyear-old mother? I mean, I know he’s lucky to get my good looks, but I’m not totally sure he agrees.

The phrase spitting image alludes to someone who looks so much like another person, it’s as if they were expectorated into existence straight from their look-alike’s saliva. The term allegedly came into circulation around 1689 when playwright George Farquhar used it in his play Love and a Bottle. “Poor child!” the line goes. “He’s as like his own dada as if he were spit out of his mouth.”

A more posh way to put this is the word likeness— the idea that someone so strongly resembles someone else, it’s like looking at a picture. And that, Genesis tells us, is what we are: “When God created [humankind], he made them in the likeness of God” (Genesis 5:1).

We are the spitting image of God.

Typically, whenever we talk about, debate, or consider what it means that humans are made in the image and likeness of God, we look at characteristics or attributes. Now of course, some of God’s characteristics are simply and wholly his—his omniscience, omnipresence, self-existence, eternality. But many of God’s other characteristics are already true and become increasingly true about us, as we are made more like Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.

We are like God in that we rule creation.

We are like God in our creativity.

We are like God in our relationships.

We are like God in that we are unlike animals.

We become like God in our mercy.

We become like God in our love.

We become like God in our holiness.

We become like God in our justice.

But Genesis 5:3 offers us a clue to help us better answer this question—What does it mean that humans have been made in the image and likeness of God? “When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth” (Genesis 5:3).

Seth was made in the image and likeness of his dad, Adam. So naturally, we assume that Seth probably looked like Adam, and in other ways favored Adam and acted like Adam. They probably spoke in the same dialect and scratched their beards in a similar fashion. In another life, they might have had the same taste in hip-hop music or the same affinity for piña coladas and walks in the rain.

Still, the concept of Seth’s “image and likeness” is much deeper than the ways he looked and acted like Adam. The point of Seth being made in his dad’s image and likeness is that Seth had a blood relationship, a familial bond, an incomparable connection with his dad.

The image and likeness of Adam that resided inside of Seth wasn’t strictly a series of attributes or similarities. It was an indication of his unique and special intimacy with his father.

Seth was part of his father’s family, his father’s community, and his father’s purposes on this planet, just as you and I, in Christ, are part of our Father’s family, community, and purposes for this world.

Listen, friend: I know you’ve lost some battles. I know you’re weary. I know you’re lonely. I know your heart is prone to wander. I know you’re angry. I know you wonder if you ever truly hear from God. I know you’ve been let down. I know you’ve been hurt. I know you have struggled with your name and maybe even with God’s name.

But what I also know is this: Through the blood of Jesus, you have been made “blood” with God’s family. You are a child of God, with all the benefits and blessings that comes from being part of his incredible family. In Jesus, you are bound with God, as God is bound, ever faithful and true, to you.

Known by Aubrey Sampson

Who am I? Does God see me? Does God love me? What is my purpose?

So much is tied up in our longing to know who we are: our worth, whether we’re loved, what we’re meant to do with our lives. But there’s a powerful truth that settles every question: God has named us, and the names he has spoken over us settle every question and pain we have experienced in our search for identity.

Names help us know that we belong and to whom we belong. Names carry authority and power. But we also carry other names—painful, damaging names that we have spoken over ourselves or that others have branded on us. Too often, in times of low self-worth, grief, or failure, we exchange our God-given identity for those false names.

When we believe God’s names for us, we will discover a life lived with purpose and passion. Are you ready to accept God’s invitation to silence the inner voice that keeps you from living freely, joyfully, and confidently?

A lot is at stake in understanding the sacred truth of who you are. The names you believe about yourself impact how you live, how you love, and how you move and bear witness to the gospel.

Hear this: God has true names that he speaks over you and wants you to hear above the false banter.

Known invites you to understand and embrace what it means to be created and named in the image of God. In the process, it will ignite a passion to speak life-giving names over others, to bless them through the power of the Name that is above every other.

With vulnerability and humor, Aubrey Sampson shows you what it means to be powerfully and personally made and named in the image of God. Everything changes when you believe this incredible truth: You are known by God.

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