This past weekend, we stepped away from John to speak toward the notion of human flourishing. By examining a handful of different texts, we saw that: As believers we endeavor to bestow honor and dignity on every person because they bear the image of God.
1. The Significance of Our Creation: Genesis 1:26-28
There are a number of important doctrinal truths that come out of these 3 verses in Genesis. But there were two that we focused our attention on. First, we are created beings. This is important because it reminds us that focal point of creation, the Bible and all of history for that matter, shines the spotlight on God and not ourselves. Secondly, we see that people are distinct from the rest of creation. We see this primarily in the fact that we, unlike the rest of creation, bear the image and likeness of God. This is seen in our being blessed by God, that we have the ability to hear from God, that we rule for God and that we are made children of God.
2. Our Posture Toward the Image of God:
Given the distinct place that humanity finds in the creative order, when working toward a position of human flourishing, we see a few postures that we must hold.
The Unborn Must Live: Psalm 139:13-16
In Psalm 139, we see God’s perspective on the unborn; He treats them the same way he treats the born – as image bearers! If our posture is to match the dignity and value that God places upon the unborn, then we must be quick to pray for, advocate for and look to serve and support in this capacity.
The Living Must be Cared For: Isaiah 58:6-7
In Isaiah 58, we see God’s concern that the living should be cared for. The people lament that God won’t accept their worship, to which God replies that He’s not interested in their religious duties divorced from a heart that desires Him. In seeking human flourishing in this, we realize that we must affirm the value and dignity of every person, that we must seek to care for all people and that we should speak to and about people with the dignity that befits a fellow image bearer.
The Marginalized and Oppressed Must be Defended: Isaiah 1:14-17
In Isaiah 1, God is frustrated with the people who will bring their religious offerings, but allow injustice to continue. So God rebukes the people. If we are to pursue human flourishing, then justice must be something we stand for. In doing so, we realize that we must do right by others, we must advocate for those without a voice and we must use our position and platform to bring opportunities for others.
I get where a topic like this past weekend and the far-reaching implications of this may feel overwhelming. This is far from exhaustive, but will hopefully give you some ideas of how you might choose to put into action what we looked at this past Sunday.
1. Read the book Adopted for Life by Russell Moore – Besides the Bible, this has probably been the most influential book in my life. Additionally, I’ve given away more copies of this book, than any other book besides the Bible in my life. This has great perspective on how we view adoption through the biblical lens and what it means for us to be a church that thinks this way.
2. Watch this brief video to see the inter-connectedness of pornography and human trafficking – The video is somewhat dated, but it does a really good job of helping us to see the interconnectedness that often exists between pornography and trafficking. This will hopefully give us a better sense of what all is at stake and how we can share and participate in coming against these horrific attacks against the dignity of human life.
3. Look for places to serve the poor and the marginalized – There are plenty of avenues that you can do this within the city (Joy Junction, Steelbridge, Roadrunner Food Bank, etc.) and then there are opportunities even within our church. Helping to get firewood to those on the reservation who have no other means to heat their home is a perfect example. You can participate in that on February 1. We’re working on getting a trip set up to head down to Rivers of Mercy. Most likely that will fall over Spring Break (March 30 – April 3). What better way to care for the poor and marginalized than to come alongside and serve orphans?
There is certainly other ways to share as well, and these are meant to simply get us thinking in that direction.