When I was a little girl, I remember learning the story of Noah’s ark and the flood, singing songs about “Father Abraham’s many sons,” and painting glitter fish that Jesus’s disciples caught in their nets. But it wasn’t until recently that I learned how the stories all connected together! The Bible wasn’t a book filled with separate stories like I thought, all neatly stacked together like a tray of Oreo cookies. It was one singular narrative with one unified purpose.
When I first learned that connection two years ago, it was like reading the Bible for the very first time. I had no idea that all along I missed the main point of Daniel and the lions’ den. Or that the Tower of Babel could change the way I wake up each morning.
And here it is:
God loves people so we can fully love Him and create world-wide worship! God loves us so that we will love God.
All throughout the Bible, God manifests His glory to His people, so that His people will give glory back to God. The economy of God’s glory is actually a beautiful, unending cycle of love.
Back in Genesis 1, God created the heavens and the earth, the sun and stars, and filled the earth with life. And then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” (Genesis 1:26). We were created in the holy image of God, bearing His likeness and resemblance.
Next, God said, “Be fruitful and multiply.” (Genesis 1:28). Contrary to popular belief, God is not just saying – “Go have lots of babies!” He is commanding us to multiply His image both physically and spiritually. In other words, we are to multiply God’s image in everything we do, everywhere we go, to everyone we meet – so that HIS image would fill the earth, and to magnify His Name. We are God’s image-bearers.
This is a striking contrast to what the world tells us to pursue – which is to replicate our own image and build a name for ourselves. Our society today praises self-promotion, self-sufficiency, and being “self-made.” Our worth is measured by our success, our appearance, and the title in our email signatures. We are respected more or less by the numbers in our brokerage accounts and our number of followers.
The Tower of Babel
Thousands of years before stock exchanges and social media existed, people’s hearts still sought after the same thing. In Genesis 11, people built a tower known as the “Tower of Babel” to acquire fame and prestige. The people said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the earth.” (Genesis 11:4)
How interesting – did you catch that?! They wanted to build a name for themselves and not be scattered. What was God’s command in Genesis 1? To multiply His Name and to go and fill the earth. The people of Babel were literally seeking the exact opposite of what God commanded us to do.
So what happened? God intervened and cut off their efforts by scattering them over the earth, and the irony of this story is little did they know they actually did build a name for themselves. The Hebrew word Babel translates to, “confusion or to confound.” The people of Babel went down in history as the ones who confused God’s purpose. Their tragic legacy reflects the natural desire of humankind to spend our lives building a name for ourselves, rather than exalting the name of the Lord.
For a long time, I lived like the people of Babel and sought after this same thing. While I pursued law school as a means to help make a difference – if I’m being completely honest, it was also to build a name for myself. I wanted the respect and praise of others, and I thought a legal career was the best way to achieve it. Same with Miss Texas. I did genuinely compete to earn scholarships and champion child advocacy, but I also craved the titles, applause, and accolades that came with it. If you read my first blog post, Choosing Grace over Perfection, you will see how I’ve been performance-driven and perfection-obsessed my entire life.
It took years until I realized none of that truly matters, and my most important title and role in life is to be an image-bearer of God. I had to let go of my “Babel mentality,” take off my old self, and embrace my new identity as Paul stated in Ephesians.
“… put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on a new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22-24)
We are to be “imitators of God, as [His] beloved children.” (Ephesians 5:1)
“For at one time you were darkness, but now you are a light in the Lord. Walk as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8-9)
The same is true for you. You don’t have to resemble the image of anyone else, or fit into a certain mold, or strive to make your life appear a certain way. Your plans and prosperity and picturesque life are not where your true purpose lies.
You are made in the image of the Holy Almighty God. Made for so much more beyond anything this world has to offer! You were created to be a follower of Christ – holy, precious and dearly loved. You were designed to be an “image-bearer” of God and represent His Name in every way possible, in all that you do, so that His image would be multiplied. Bringing more people to know and love Him, and fulfilling His purpose for world-wide worship!
If we go back and look carefully at scripture, it’s the same reason why God made a promise to Abraham, why the Hebrews crossed the Red Sea, why David defeated Goliath, why the Psalms were written, why the temple was built, why the Queen of Sheba praised King Solomon, why Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego walked out of the furnace, why the Old Testament prophets endured exile and isolation, why Jesus came, died, and rose again, why Paul and the disciples devoted and sacrificed their lives to ministry, why the Holy Spirit descended, and why Jesus is coming again: All so that the great name of God would be proclaimed and His glory would fill and flood the earth!
Beth Dykhuizen says
Beautifully written Christine. I admire your insight, wisdom and vulnerability. I was especially touched when you wrote that to be fruitful and multiply can mean to multiply His image spiritually in our lives. Looking forward to more posts!