Devotional & Reflection

Week 2, Oct 2001

Genesis 1:26-31 - In His Image / Righteousness
By Pang Hee Hung, Director & Trainer, Ezra Resources

26 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

28 God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."

31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning-the sixth day.

Last week we looked at how we are to reflect God in our "Relationships". This week, we look at how we are to mirror God in "Righteousness".

In the English language, righteousness suggests an (outward) compliance or adherence with certain established norms, rules or regulations. A righteous man does what is right. Biblical usage of righteousness on the other hand is broader and suggests fulfilling the terms of a covenant in a relationship between God and humanity or between humans. We need to mirror God on the inside - in his righteous character of holy, just and humble love. Rather than just doing right things, we ask ourselves how can we please God? I.e. How can we be in a right relationship with God? A right relationship with God means we are saved. The right vertical relationship with God (first four of the Ten Commandments) will manifest in right horizontal relationships with humanity (last six of the Ten Commandments).

There are a lot of things we can do right on the outside. A leader or pastor or any Christian can look good on the outside. But on the inside, we struggle with unseen sin. Invisible sins like pride, power-seeking, greed, covetousness and lust - lurk in the background. If we are not careful, we are taken in. Thus, we need always to recognize our spiritual poverty (first beatitude, Sermon on the Mount, Matt 5:3). We are to be humbly dependent on and spiritually hungry for God in our vertical relationship.

In our horizontal relationship, we need to be an expression of God's "love" - not the self-seeking or lustful love, but the unconditional giving kind of love. Then we have righteous relationships. As for Christian leaders, we need to humble ourselves taking the form of a servant like Jesus (Php 2:7); and we need followers who can submit to God and die for others like Jesus. On the other hand, God's relationship with us is not a chain of command hierarchy. Likewise a Christian leader-follower relationship is not a hierarchy. Submission and obedience is not like an army general and soldier relationship - but like a husband and wife relationship.

Then there is righteousness, and there is relationship - a righteous relationship.

Reflect: How is our spiritual hunger barometer? How is the inner condition of our heart in terms of invisible sins like pride, power-seeking, greed, covetousness and lust?