By Jasmine Timm
There’s an old story in Greek mythology about a young man named Narcissus, who falls in love with himself. The story is odd and tragic, and the young man eventually becomes so consumed with himself that he drives himself crazy and ends up self-destructing. In his quest for happiness, Narcissus places himself at the center of his universe, and this ends up destroying his soul.
Throughout human history, mankind has had a fascination with self-discovery. From ancient literature to New Age philosophies, humankind has long been concerned with the question, “Who am I, and what am I meant to do with my life?” The answers to this question range widely, but like for the young man Narcissus, the focus generally comes back to self. Our culture scurries about tirelessly trying to find the answer from within about who we are supposed to be, what type of job we are supposed to have, what type of person we are supposed to marry, what kinds of things we are supposed to be interested in. And yet as a culture, we come up empty. The more we search internally for the true definition of ourselves, the more we end up despairing.
In Jen Wilkin’s book In His Image, we are directed toward the answer that humanity has been frantically searching for. Instead of asking the question, “Who am I, and what should I do with my life?” a better question is, “Who am I meant to be?” And God has not left us to search endlessly for some hidden, inaccessible answer. Rather, He has revealed to us exactly who we are supposed to be.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus tells us that humanity must “be born again” (John 3:3). The Epistle writers clarify being “born again” as being “made new.” When Jesus died for us, He did not remove our sins simply to make us feel good and go about living our lives guilt-free. No, He died so that we might become new creatures to the glory of God. He died so that we may become like Him. We read of this often in the New Testament letters:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”I Peter 1:3
“Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”Romans 6:3-4
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”2 Corinthians 5:7
The whole purpose of life is to glorify God by being restored into His image. We must first recognize that we have fallen way short of what we were created to be, that we have sinned against our Creator and need to be rescued from sin and restored into fellowship with Him (Romans 3:23). Once we have recognized this and turned from our sin to trust in Christ, He begins the process of making us into new creations. We die to sin and live to God. By His grace, we become gradually more like our Savior. C.S. Lewis puts it this way: “Every Christian is to become a little Christ. The whole purpose of becoming a Christian is simply nothing else. The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God.”
We will not find contentment by staring endlessly at ourselves, but by beholding Christ and becoming like Him. He has set the example for us, and as we “consider Him” (Hebrews 12:3) and behold His worth and glory, we are equipped to become the type of people God has created us to be. We have received Christ Jesus as Lord, and we are now to walk in Him as new creations (Colossians 2:6).
As we study In His Image together, we will learn about who God has called us to become now that we are in Christ as new creations. We will see the ways He has created us to reflect His character, the aspects of His nature that we are called to embody. Rather than pining endlessly for self, searching for some hidden message from within about who we are and what we are to do, we are called to look to Christ, our Author and Perfector (Hebrews 12:3). Unlike Narcissus, who was in love with himself, we are called to love our Lord, and this love is one that changes our very DNA. As we behold Christ, our risen Lord and Glorious King, we learn who we were intended to be all along.