In the Likeness of God

Karen Bables

READ : 2 Corinthians 4:1-12
Colossians 1:15

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image.” (Gen. 1:26)

When a child is born, someone inevitably will say, “He’s the spitting image of his dad.” In terms of physical appearance the boy is a lookalike. But as a child grows, someone might remark: “He’s a hard worker like his mom” or “She is gentle, just like her dad.”

The Bible says Christians are “to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Rom 8:29). God wants us to look and act exactly like Jesus, who was exactly like his Father (see Heb. 1:3). Being created in God’s image, each of us also shares certain attributes with God. We can act rationally and love wisely. We create and invent stuff. We can have compassion, mercy, grace, fellowship, and friendship. We can also choose. Our moral compass prompts us to recoil from evil. When we marry or hug or show empathy or create community, we demonstrate who God is and what he is like. Sin impairs and severely damages all this, but God’s Spirit conforms us to Christ’s image so we increasingly resemble Jesus in thought, word, and deed.

Spiritual formation means being shaped by God toward wholeness. It requires acknowledging that we often create God in our image, not the other way around. The opportunity for growth happens when our un-Christlike behavior shows up, and that’s when we realize we’re not as mature as we thought and hoped, and we can surrender to the Spirit’s way.


I would be like Jesus!