At the core of the image of God is the restoration of the perfect relationship between the trinity + us.
PROBLEM – Living without God creates a lot of problems
- If you can’t love yourself you are going to have problems. Loving yourself is necessary for happiness. Where there is a lack of self-love, there’s also an assumption of being unlovable to the core.
- If you’re not really loving yourself, your message is “I don’t love me for my strengths and weaknesses, and I don’t love you for yours either.”
- But what does it mean to love yourself? It really depends on what you mean by the word love. Does it mean you like yourself enough? To Jesus, love is about seeking what’s good for someone else.
- But if love is about seeking what’s good for someone else, then we are naturally quite good at that for ourselves. That’s the point Jesus was making in Mark 12.
GOD – Jesus loves us and that’s what counts
Mark 12:28-31 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
- What Jesus was saying, since you’re great at caring about yourself, then at least treat others as well as you treat yourself.
- According to Jesus, we will never assess our lives as good enough to be loved and nowhere did Jesus talk about self-love. But he did talk at length about how much he loved us.
- He had come to serve, not to be served, and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). Jesus despised nobody/ honored-world dishonored/ accepted-world rejected/ spoke to women in public/ invited children/ words of hope-others hated/ allowed leprosy sufferers/ ministered to poor, hungry and outcasts.
- Nothing indicates more clearly the value Jesus placed on people than his determination to suffer and die for them. It is only when we look at the cross that we see the true worth of human beings. “My worth is what I am worth to God, and that is a marvelous great deal because Christ died for me.”
APPLICATION – As Jesus denied himself out of love for us, we too are to deny the fallen part of us
Mark 8:35 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it
- In our quest to regain the image of God, we have to face one of the hardest questions of all ages. Who is the real me?
- Answer: We are not a simple entity that is either wholly good or wholly evil. We are quite a complex entity of good and evil. At the same time we are a Jekyll and Hyde, a mixed-up kid, both beautiful and ugly, good and bad, upright and twisted, an image of God and a slave of the Devil.
- What we are is partly the result of the Creation (the image of God), and partly the result of the Fall (the image lost). We are to deny everything within us that is incompatible with Jesus Christ and value everything within us that is compatible with Jesus Christ.
- But whatever we are by the Fall, we must deny: our moral perversity; our fascination with the ugly evil; our lazy refusal to develop God’s gifts; our pollution of the environment; our selfishness, individualism, and revenge, which is destructive of human community; and our refusal to worship God. All this is part of our fallen humanness. Christ came not to redeem this but to destroy it. So we must deny it.
- The Holy Spirit teaches us that accepting God’s love for us is necessary for happiness. When we realize our worth is set by God, we realize that the worth of others is also set by God. “I’m me and I’m good, ’cos God don’t make junk.”
- The image of God is being restored in us as we distinguish what in us is compatible with Jesus and what isn’t. The Holy Spirit helps us develop his image in us.
- The ultimate paradox of Christian living is that when we lose ourselves in the selfless loving of God and neighbor we then find ourselves.