The time which our nation has set aside for the giving of thanks is soon approaching. For what do you give thanks? How many of us have considered giving thanks because we are man? Have you every really thought about what you are? Genesis 1:27 reads, "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." Verse 31 reads, "And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good." Most of you can probably quote these passages by heart. BUT have you ever really thought about who YOU are?
If we are created in the image of and likeness of a Creator, then does it not follow that we, too, should be creators? Indeed, we see the physical creations of man all about us in the world in which we live. We see the various technologies such as space exploration and computer science being used for the betterment of man's physical world. But there is another facet of our creative ability which is often overlooked -- the ability to create our own manner of the acceptance of the circumstances of our life. Someone has said that the resources of the human mind have not been taped. No one really knows what our minds are capable of achieving.
Do you realize that you have within yourself the ability to create the world in which you live? It is true that we cannot always control the circumstances affecting our lives, but we CAN control their effect on our lives. We CAN create the world in which we live! No, I am not one of those people who has never tasted of heartache, and who looks at the world through rose-colored glasses. Nor am I one who thinks that trouble will disappear if it is ignored. It will seldom do so. I have been a victim of a world few people realize exists. I have known abuse; I have known bitterness, and I have known grief. But as a child of God, created in His image, I am learning that abuse, bitterness and grief are not my masters! As a child, I had no control of the circumstances which placed me in a home where I was not wanted. I had no control over the verbal and psychological abuse which I received. But I did have control over the effect it had on me. I am the one who created the bitterness in my own heart. I am the one who permitted it to be lord over me long after the circumstances had changed. Suppose that, instead of bitterness, I had created love for my enemies. Suppose I had created blessings for those who cursed me. No, it would not have changed the circumstances of my life, for I was cursed not for that which I did. Rather, I was cursed for my mere existence in a place where I was not wanted. It would have, however, made those circumstances easier to bear. What additional pain we create for ourselves!
Romans 8:35-37 reads, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us." Generally, when I have heard this passage discussed the emphasis has been on what has been done for us. What has been done for us is indeed wonderful, but let us look closer at what we are to do. Examining the Greek text in verse 37, we find the verb hupernikomen, which is translated "we are more than conquerors." Hupernikomen is in the present tense and in the active voice. When a Greek verb is in the present tense, it means that the action of the verb is continuous. When the active voice is used, it means that the subject of the verb is the one performing the action. The subject of a Greek verb is designated in the verb's personal pronoun ending. The personal pronoun ending of hupernikomen is first person plural. WE are the ones performing the action we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. We are NOW more than conquerors, and we will continue to be more than conquerors!
All creation reflects the glory of God, but man is His only creation that reflects it by choice! For if God created us of His own will, after His image and likeness, does it not follow that one created after His image and likeness would likewise have his own will? Man has the ability to create and to serve other gods. Deuteronomy 5:7 reads, "Thou shalt have none other gods before me." Since we know that there are no other gods besides God, then the gods referred to must be of man's own creation. Romans 6:16 reads, "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?" Shall we permit tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword to become our masters? Shall we yield to them to serve them? Yet how often we permit the circumstances of our lives to conquer us! Ecclesiastes 7:29 reads, "Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions." The Greek word hamartia, which is translated "sin" means "to miss the mark." When we do not walk upright as God intended that man should walk, do we not miss the mark? When we choose other masters, we walk with our heads bowed in servitude to those masters. We no longer walk upright. We miss the mark.
Yes, I am thankful that I am man, created in the image and likeness of God. Thankful that I have the power to walk upright and glorify God out of a free will and out of love. Acts 2:36 reads, "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ." As a Christian, you have made Jesus your Savior by obeying the gospel, but have you made Him your Lord? Or do you still serve other lords? Does the Scripture teach you that you can serve more than one lord? You already know the answer to that! Through the one who loves you, become conqueror of that which would make you walk with your head bowed in servitude! Let Jesus be Lord of your life. Walk upright before our God. Walk as a man. Walk as God intended man to walk! If you have not believed the Gospel, confessed Jesus to be the Christ, and followed him in Baptism, why have you not done so? Is there something that you think is your master that you can not overcome? Read Romans 8:35-37 again. You have the ability within yourself, through Jesus, to become master of the circumstances of your life. If you have chosen to create and serve other gods, let me ask you, will they be able to save you from wrath in the day of judgment?
Sandra F. Cobble
Published in The Old Paths Archive