I’m wondering if I should tell you this.
It’s not something you just bring up in casual conversation. Christians sometimes doubt its validity and non-Christians think you are talking some weird religious language and back away slowly. My hesitation is well-founded.
Alright, I’ll do it.
I had a vision. Yes, a vision from the Lord and it was awesome!
Here it is:
You know how, in the frozen food aisle of the grocery store, when you walk by each section of the freezer, the light comes on so you can see what’s in that section? Well, that’s how I got to see what I saw –not peas and frozen pizza but people. Hundreds of them!
Let me back up. I woke up that Thursday morning to one of those terrible, not very good days. Everything went wrong trying to get the kids off to school; Banks, late for a meeting, couldn’t find his keys; the dog threw up in the middle of the room; the un-vacuumed living room rug was taunting me AND I had forgotten to turn the water on for my hot tea.
Oh, but it continued! A trip to Wal-Mart was on the agenda for my morning and as I got ready and dressed, my make-up didn’t go on how I wanted, and my hair would not cooperate with the tools intended to tame it. The only pair of jeans left to wear were my least favorite because they cut in right at my muffin-top waist and ladies, you will know what I’m talking about here. The bra I had on did NOT go with the shirt I picked out!
Basically, between the morning’s follies and how I felt about how I looked, I was walking around Wal Mart feeling less than positive about myself and certain of my inadequacies. Each aisle brought new awareness to my physical state as I attempted to suck in my protruding belly and tug at the not quite right bra. And you’d better believe I refused to look in the mirror near the dressing rooms! Ugh!!
As I made my way to the grocery section, I felt the Lord asking me to look beyond myself. My head understood my appearance did not end the world and my heart said there must be other people in the store who were having a much worse day than I was so I mustered up something from deep down and simply made eye contact and smiled at them as we passed in the aisles.
But the enemy was having none of that. His purpose is to keep our focus off of what the Kingdom of God is about so he just kept reminding me of the messy living room waiting for me at home and my hair that was obviously not as well done as the lady in aisle 7, who by the way, had on an appropriate bra for her outfit.
As I rounded the corner to the frozen food section, my goal was green beans and then a swift check out and exit. The lights were off in all the cases, the sign indicating “Vegetables” was about three quarters of the way down on the right and so I began to move my cart towards it.
When I did, something extraordinary happened. As I passed the first section of the freezer case, the lights came on and the cases on both sides were filled with people, rows deep. They were reverently bowing down saying, “Make way!”
Astonished, I quickly turned around to see what royal person had entered the aisle behind me, excited to see what I was about to witness.
No one was there. I was the only person in the aisle.
“Keep walking”, I heard in my mind.
As I slowly moved forward, each new section lit up and there were hundreds more people, all bowing down as I passed saying, over and over, “Make way, make way, for the image of God is passing by.”
The image of God? Were they referring to me?!
As I intently looked and took in all that I was seeing in my mind, I knew it was not my mind that was witnessing this but instead it was my spirit. The Spirit of God was speaking to the Spirit who lives in me. And He was reminding me of what I had learned in Sunday School as a child but never properly understood – I am created in the image of God. My body, my person, my character, my human self has been created, like D.J.A. Clines says, as a “formal, visible, and understandable representation of who God is and what He is really like”.
Wait, what?! Me, who makes good attempts to live a life for Jesus, but screws up so much – that’s the image of God?
Yep! Simply by being human, I am created differently than everything else in the universe, meant to be a carbon copy of who God is. Meant to point the rest of creation to the One who created it. And even though I so often break or distort that image by the things I do, because the image cannot be revoked, I am worth redeeming and saving. That’s why Jesus came. To redeem me each time I mess up. And when He left this earth, He left His Spirit in me to model what that image should be like!
And because I want to be a person in whom God’s image is being restored, I strive to reflect who He is by displaying those things that define who He is. Things like friendship, grace, integrity, mercy, fellowship and compassion, goodness, self-control…
This all explains why the enemy kept reminding me of my shortcomings and did not want me smiling at people that day. Even that small gesture was a display of the Lord’s glory and pointed all involved to a God who loves.
So, could it be that how I feel or what I look like has nothing to do with who I truly am? That the extra-pounded, insufficiently vacuumed, awkwardly underweared person roaming around the earth is indeed endowed with everything necessary to bear the image of our Lord to a world so desperate for Him?
Could it be Jesus needed me to believe who I am so I can have confidence in who He is? So that my unbelief no longer caused me to be impotent?
I think I’m beginning to understand.
Those moments at the frozen food aisle have given me a powerful weapon to use in the daily skirmish with the enemy. Whenever the devil tries to tell me that I can’t and that I’m less than, I confidently address him and say, “I am a daughter of the risen King, created by Him, in His likeness, for His purposes, not yours and He fashioned me as a reflection of His glory. So, enemy, you don’t get to tell me who I am or what I am to be about today. The Holy Spirit showed me exactly who I am, and you are not allowed to tell me otherwise. I belong to the Lord Jesus Christ, not you, and therefore your plans for me today have failed and are cancelled. In Jesus’ name! Hallelujah and Amen!”