Today I am starting with the word “image.” The Bible first uses this word when God says “Let us make man in our image” (Gen 1:26). It is used in this context five times. The pursuit of identity, also begins in this story. Humanity was created to carry a resemblance of God in our physical being. Our natural state has an innate reflection of God. Therefore, when we recognize our own characteristics, God is there, in the midst of every individual. We cannot escape His presence.
Despite the temptation of being defined by these attributes, identity should not be placed in the characteristics alone. Identities crumble when the attributes of God become the pursuit of life, rather than God, himself.
An identity based on being a perfectionist, could be formed from a desire to be more like God. It could emerge from a longing for God in the day-to-day. A life in pursuit of perfection will eventually turn a person from waiting on God’s perfection to be revealed, toward creating circumstantial perfection in the day-to-day. An impossible task. Perfection is a burden that was not meant to be carried on human shoulders. An identity built on perfectionism will overpower any person and one day become too heavy and the identity will crumble. So it will be with an identity built on any of the godly attributes: love, peace, relationship, justice, strength, and wisdom. These attributes reflect God’s character. Each of these are reflections of something greater that we are not able to fully acquire. The pursuit of godly attributes for the sake of empowering a worldly identity, is a truth turned upside down. The godly attributes are tools to lead us to God alone. A dedication to one divine characteristic is a pale replacement for a life in pursuit of God.
The first biblical uses of the word “image” was when God placed a reflection of himself in humanity. The rest of the Old Testament uses the word to describe how humanity created false reflections of God. It is our responsibility to recognize the reflection of God in ourselves and to use what we find, to return to Him.