As husband’s, fathers, friends, peers, we are responsible to how we wield the powerful influence that we are given as the image bearers of God . This influence we have derived from Jesus himself is to be used to love and serve our wives, for teaching and raising our children to Know god and to love and serve our neighbors. The impact we have in this world is greater than you may know. Please enjoy this guest post about using our influence as image bearers.
Guest Post by Burton Corley
Genesis 1:26 informs us that we are created in the Image of God to have dominion over the earth. I recently got a unique perspective of what this means. Bailey, my 14-year-old daughter, who lives and breathes for horses recently started training at Country Meadow Farms. The owner, Shelby, teaches a method of horse training known as “Liberty.”
The methodology is to establish a bond with the horse by learning how the horse communicates and using that knowledge to build trust and communicate with the horse.
On Bailey’s second lesson her trainer brought out a 1000-pound, 8-year-old purebred Arabian named Chance for Bailey to work with. His previous owner was going to put him down because he had anger and behavior issues and was not safe around people or other horses.
You might say Christina and I had some concerns.
Chance ran into the arena. He was beautiful and majestic. He moved gracefully and carried himself proudly. Even with a winter coat and a little winter weight, the muscles in his body rippled. They spent about 10 to 15 minutes just observing him in the arena.
He had been in a stall, so, at first he enjoyed the arena and the opportunity to run, but as that wore off he began to show some anxiety. Christina & I were beginning to have second thoughts about Bailey going in the arena with Chance and just when he seemed to be at a fever pitch, Shelby sends Bailey into the arena.
Chance began paying attention to her as soon as she stepped in the arena.
As Bailey walked to the center, Chance began pacing a specific pattern from one end of the arena to the other, always with his eye on Bailey. Bailey began following Shelby’s instructions in interacting with Chance. Turn this way, move here, cut him off, raise your arm, back off.
Bailey understood the instructions; she only had to be told once. She understood why Shelby was having her do each action and instinctively was able to duplicate the appropriate action the next time it was needed.
What transpired over the next 15 to 20 minutes was beautiful to watch. After 20 minutes of being in the arena, Chance and Bailey had bonded. This 1000-pound purebred Arabian was calm and was following my 14-year-old daughter around the arena. If she turned left, he turned left, if she went right, he went right, if she ran, he ran, and when she stopped, he stopped.
It was an amazing blessing to watch this transpire and see the pure joy on Bailey’s face as she developed a bond and played with Chance.
I have thought about this a number of times over the past few weeks and I am convinced that what we witnessed that day was a small glimpse of God’s “very good” original design we read about in Genesis 1:26-31.
Bailey reflected the image of God, living out what God created man to do; exercise proper, loving dominion over the beasts of the field.
For a few minutes we witnessed what God intended and it was indeed Very Good.
God reveals himself to be Omnipotent (all power over all things), Omniscient (All knowledge of all things), and Omnipresent (in all places at all times). Being created in his image means that we reflect these attributes.
Individually I do not exercise power over all things on the earth, but I do have the capability to exercise power over some things (plants, animals, etc.) of the earth around me. A power those plants and animals do not posses.
Bailey who is all of 130 pounds, exercised dominion over a magnificent 1000-pound horse; in terms of raw power the horse was obviously the more powerful, yet Bailey clearly was the one who exercised authority.
The same principle applies to knowledge. We are not omniscient but we have the capacity to learn and reason that far surpasses any other living creature on earth.
Bailey speaks human and Chance speaks horse. Chance does not posses the ability to watch Bailey and learn the way she communicates and initiate building a trusting relationship between them. Bailey who is created in God’s image does have the requisite knowledge to be able to learn how to do that.
We do not posses the ability to be in all places at once. In fact, as hard as we try, we can’t physically be in more than one place at a time. But we do have the ability to project our influence into multiple places through numerous people for years at a time.
Each of us are the product of significant people who have mentored us and influenced us. The fact is people who are no longer in our physical presence (for years even) have an impact on how we conduct our lives today.
Bailey was listening and following the instructions of Shelby, her trainer; the things Bailey learns from Shelby will impact her and influence her for many years regardless of where Bailey’s life takes her and regardless of where Shelby is.
Animals do not have the ability to project this kind of power and influence.
This underscores the reality that being created in God’s image comes with great moral responsibility, not just for managing the animal and plant kingdom, but in managing our personal relationships as well. God created us to have relationships and gave us the ability/power to conduct them according to His design.
It takes work and patience. It doesn’t matter if the relationship is with our spouse, child, or co-worker; we have to spend some time learning how the other person communicates, understand who they are and why they act a certain way before we jump in the arena.
We have a responsibility to reflect God’s image by building trust and exercising our power in the same loving and caring manner in which He created us.