Athlete, You're Made In His Image

Genesis 1:27-31 says this:
"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.' And God said, 'Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.' And it was so. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day."

Athlete, while all of creation reflects the glory of God, the first two chapters of Genesis reveal a number of ways that humans uniquely reflect God's image.  Humans are relational (Adam & Eve relate to each other and to God), we have the gift of reason (God communicates with Adam and Eve), and we are creative, just as God is creative.  Genesis 1:28-30 shows that we also reflect God in the way that we "rule over" the earth.  He shares his rule with us by making us stewards of creation, and we rule well when we rule in a way that reflects God's love, justice, creativity, beauty, wisdom, and order.  In addition, we have the blessing and responsibility to "fill the earth" with humans who reflect the image of God, so that the whole earth reflects the glory of God (1:28) -- the first command in Scripture.

Questions for Reflection and Prayer

1. What are the different ways that you are personally called to rule over what God has made, using your mind (student/career), your creative gifts and your body (athletics / fitness / music / art / design / etc.), your relationships, your opportunities, privilege, and network, etc.?  Do you think about these areas of your life in light of the high calling of reflecting God's image and rule in the world?  What would it look like to rule well in these areas?

2. The calling and command to "fill the earth" with the image of God is similar to Jesus' command to "go and make disciples" in every nation (Matthew 28:18-20).  To "make disciples" of Jesus is to be part of God re-making people in his image.  Search your heart and ask yourself if this command, the very first command in the Bible, is at or anywhere near the top of your priorities.  Who are the people in your life with whom you have regular contact?  How might God use your words and actions to point them to God and to help re-make them in the image of God?  What group of people outside of regular contact might God call you to reach out to?  Take time to pray regularly for all these people and to pray for your role in their lives, as God works through you.  Thank God for the gift of stewarding his creation and multiplying his image!

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