It is no secret that God is always intentional. Genesis 1 reveals God’s intentionality through the creation story. Interestingly, man is the only one in God’s image and likeness of all the entities that God created. Understanding this exposes to us a responsibility designed for us before our existence, to be God’s representatives on earth.
What does “Imago Dei” mean? What does it mean to conform to God’s image? How do we conform to God’s image? This post will attempt to provide answers to these questions.
Imago Dei: What it Means
Imago Dei is gotten from the Latin translation of the Bible, and it means “image of God.” Genesis 1:26-27 tells us that God created man in His image and likeness. Trying to define “Imago Dei” is to understand the expression of the “image of God.”
The “image of God” is the metaphysical expression uniquely associated with humans. It signifies the symbolic connection that exists between God and man. One shouldn’t confuse this image as physical semblance because God doesn’t have a body like ours. Instead, it refers to our spiritual, intellectual, and moral essence.
When we talk about man being in God’s image, it refers to us reflecting God’s divine nature. We can only achieve this through God’s unique characteristics upon us. No other creature, not even the angels, possess these characteristics. For this reason, we are regarded as higher than the angels according to Hebrews 1:4-14.
What Does it Mean to Conform to God’s Image?
God has always been intentional. No part of His plan is without purpose. He will never speak words that He doesn’t mean. Romans 8:29 reveals God’s purpose for us as believers, to conform to the image of Jesus Christ.
Our discussion leads us to an important question, what does it mean to conform? To conform means to become similar in nature, form, or character. This definition further buttresses the point that God called us to become like Him not just by looks but by character, productivity, and conduct.
When God created Adam and Eve and placed them in the Garden of Eden, they were at this level. Unfortunately, they fell, and man lost that privilege. Thankfully, God had a plan to restore us by sending Jesus to die for our sins (See Romans 5:10). Conforming to God’s image means aligning ourselves to the Word of God so that we are transformed into “Imago Dei.” Romans 12:2 explains this by telling us that we should be transformed by the renewing of our minds to know God’s good, acceptable, and perfect will.
Imago Dei: How to Conform to God’s Image
God’s ultimate desire for man is to be like Him in conduct, character, intellect, and productivity. God designed man to be fruitful, multiply, replenish the earth, subdue it, and have dominion over it (Genesis 1:28). When Jesus Christ was leaving in Acts 1:8, He told us that we would be witnesses unto Him after receiving the Holy Spirit.
All of these boil down to one truth, we must conform to God’s image to fulfill these commands. Jesus Christ yielded to the Father’s will entirely, and He expects us to do the same through the help of the Holy Spirit. How do we conform to God’s image? Here are a few suggestions:
Study the Word
The Word of God is His mirror through which He reveals Himself to us. How can you conform to an image that you do not see? If you don’t spend time with the Word, it is impossible to become like Jesus.
2 Corinthians 3:18 says that we are changed into God’s image by His Spirit as we behold this mirror. To become like Christ, you must spend time studying the Word. Read the Bible and connect to other Biblical resources like the Messiah Devotional.
Avoid the distractions
Our world is filled with all kinds of distractions. There are so many distractions from social media to TV shows, sports, and running businesses. If one isn’t careful, it is only a matter of time before we lose contact with God.
You cannot be too busy to interact with God if you want to conform to His image. Jesus Christ was so active, yet, He found time to go into a solitary place to commune with the Father daily. You must find your “solitary place” to study the Word, pray, and have communion with God.
Desist from worldly standards
The world has standards. They call us “churchy” or “over-saved” when we show that we are Christians. There are expectations that we should satisfy to gain acceptance into certain spheres of influence.
In Romans 12:1-2, Paul admonishes us to desist from conforming to the world standards. Instead, we should allow ourselves to be transformed in God’s image by understanding His will. God hasn’t changed and wouldn’t lower His standards because the world is ever-evolving. Instead of switching to suit the world’s standards, we should emphasize kingdom culture in our spheres of influence.
Understanding the idea of prayer makes us want to spend more time praying. God wants to have conversations with us. He is interested in our lives. Prayer is communication with God, not laying down a list of requests at His feet.
When we pray, we are supposed to speak to God and hear Him speak to us. We should stay in His presence until His very nature rubs off on us like it did on Moses. The more we spend time in the place of prayer, the more we are transformed into His image.
We often want to do all that is mentioned above, but the flesh is weak and unwilling. Connecting with others helps us through such times when our flesh seems to be gaining ground. Never forsake the assembly of the righteous.
Our world is now a global village, so there are platforms like GodKulture that can help you connect over long distances. Engage in discussions with like minds, share your challenges, and learn from the experiences of others. The more of God you see in others, the more your desire to be like Him grows.
You were called to display God’s image in your sphere of influence. While this was the original plan, conforming to God’s image takes some effort from your end. We have shared a few things that you can do to become like Christ. Kindly share them with us in the comments section below if you have any others.