I was walking one day in the garden, admiring the beauty that surrounded me and trying to choose which bit of beauty was my favorite: the delicate deep pink plum blossoms? the ornamental grasses surrendering their pale, wispy tassels to the breeze? the grand and steady backdrop of mountains still wearing their snowcap?
I chatted with God about my struggle to choose—it was all so beautiful. Then I asked Him, “What’s your favorite?” I tried to guess, expecting he’d choose the mountains or the redwood trees which towered far above me—something tall and grand and, if not eternal, at least stretching toward ancient. “You are.” Tears sprang from the surprise of finding myself so deeply loved and honored. I wondered why I was his favorite. “The mountains and trees can’t have this conversation with me.”
I’ve been reading through Genesis in The Message, hearing again and again the echo of our godlikeness:
“God spoke, ‘Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature so they can be responsible for. . . Earth itself. . . ‘” (1:26)
“God created human beings, he created them godlike, reflecting God’s nature. He created them male and female.” (1:27)
“When God created the human race, he made it godlike, with a nature akin to God.” (5:1)
“. . . God made humans in his image, reflecting God’s very nature.” (9:6)
God clearly wants us to understand our greatness.
But I often find myself afraid to receive God’s gifts. Like this one. I hold it at arm’s length, afraid of the responsibilities that will accompany it. Afraid that the gift will take the place of the Giver. Afraid of becoming proud. Or selfish. (Does God really want me to see myself as godlike?)
But every gift that God gives is meant to be received. Including this gift of our greatness.
And I’m surprised to discover that in receiving the gift and the accompanying embrace of the Giver my hesitations disappear. The fear of the accompanying responsibilities is calmed as I realize that God is telling me who He has already made me, not demanding that I make of myself something I can’t possibly be.
And as for proud and selfish, I’m at far greater danger of that when I don’t embrace my God-given greatness than when I do. (Underlying our society’s increasing self-absorption Brene Brown sees “the shame-based fear of being ordinary.” (Daring Greatly, p. 22) Is this why our enemy goes to such pains to keep us from seeing and receiving our God-bestowed greatness? Does he know that if he does, he’ll keep us forever tied up in trying to create and prove our extraordinariness instead of being free in humble confidence to live our already-bestowed godlikeness in ways that bring glory to our Creator?)
We are made godlike. How can we ever be ordinary?
Knowing who we are frees us to engage rather than compete, give instead of grab, and celebrate instead of cling. I look again at Jesus who, accepting the authority bestowed on him by his Father who loved him, stooped to serve (John 13:3-5).
So come, friend, be free in the God-spoken guarantee that you aren’t ordinary. Be free to live your godlikeness in grateful humility and in union with Christ who, living in you, takes your godlikeness to a whole new level.