Image Matters

Posted On February 4, 2021

What’s Your Image of God?  What’s God’s Image of You

“Who do people say I am?” Jesus asked Peter. They’d narrowly escaped from an angry mob that tried to push Jesus off a cliff because he claimed he was the Messiah.

Why would the Son of God ask such a question? Didn’t Jesus know who he was? Was he having an identity crises?

Was Jesus inviting Peter to understand who Jesus really was by asking him directly, “Who do you say I am?”

Or was Jesus pointing to the fact that our images about ourselves and God are important because they shape and form our relationships


Who Do You Say I Am?

At my first meeting with my spiritual director twenty-five years ago, he asked a simple question: “Who is God to you?”

As I pondered, I discovered I’d formed a false image of God. In my mind’s eye, God was an old bearded man ready to blast down fiery thunder bolts if I stepped out of line. Even worse, I feared if I didn’t shape up, the Creator would banish me at the end of my life to the eternal fire. Yikes!

My image of God was based on fear. Sometimes I hid from him. Other times, I tried to be perfect so he’d notice how wonderful I was and shower favor upon me. (Can you say “ego?”)

Over time, my mentor helped me reframe my image of God. I let go of the fear-monger god I’d imagined and learned to lean into the God of Unconditional Love.

As my image of God changed, so did I. I no longer ran from God. Instead, I sought him out. Each morning, I poured a cup of coffee and sat in silence with the God who loved me and cared about my life. During those quiet times, I opened my heart to let God embrace me. He became my Divine Friend. He spoke and continues to speak to me in whispers as I pause each day and seek his wisdom and guidance.

Who Does God Say You Are?

My mentor also asked me a second question: “Who does God say you are?”

My initial response was a mishmash of conflicting thoughts filtered through my inner critic. “I’m a flawed human trying to do my best,” I responded.

My mentor shook his head. He reminded me the God of Love speaks only words of truth and encouragement. “God’s image of us is always rooted in love, since we are made in the image and likeness of our Creator,” my mentor said. “We reflect the Divine Image like a mirror. So, let me ask again, ‘Who does God say you are?’”

I gazed out the open window to let the question find its answer within me. Who, exactly, would God say I was? How did God perceive me?  A robin’s whistled love songs filled the fresh spring air. A smile unfolded on my face. “I am God’s song.” I proclaimed. Tears of joy softened my heart.


Practice

Consider sitting in the quiet for twenty minutes each morning this week. In the stillness, open your heart. Let your imagination wander as you ponder these questions:

What’s my image of God?
What’s God’s image of me?

When you have those two questions answered,
consider asking yourself and God:

What’s Our Image of Us?

Notice what the Creator spills into your heart as you allow the Divine Spirit to speaks its Truth to you.

If helpful, write down the words or images that rise up within you as you let God have his way with you.


Let your answers mold and shape you.

—brian j plachta

Written by Brian J. Plachta

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