What is your true identity?
Have you ever wondered what it means that we are made in the image of God?
An image is a reflection or a representation of something else. If we are made in the image of God, then we have to wonder - what do we reflect? What do we represent? What is God's image? Once we know the answers to these questions, we can try to reflect this image more clearly, don't you think?
I have found a few clues that may help us out:
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God lives in him.
1 John 4:16
Love one another as I have loved you.
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind." This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
At the core, God is love. Pure, unmitigated, life-giving love. It is reflected in the existence of the Trinity - The Father and the Son whose love for each other is so strong it brings the Holy Spirit into existence.
Our very being is designed in this image. We are to love, and only then are we fully human. And this love is meant to give life and blessing to everyone around us.
But how do we love? What if we are called to love someone we feel is pretty unlovable?
I think the answer to that is in the verse from 1 John 4:19 - "We love because He first loved us." Once we have truly experienced God's love for us or each time we rediscover it, we are able to reflect that love much more freely. In fact, it's almost impossible not to. When you see how beloved you truly are, not only in spite of your shortcomings but because of them, it's so much easier to give that love to others.
When I look at others and ask why I should love them, it's a much different question than when I ask what that person needs in order to feel loved. When it's about me, love is really going in the wrong direction anyway. When it's about them, it ends up filling us both.
God's funny that way, isn't He?