Genesis 1:27 (NKJV) So God created man in His [own] image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
In the opening of Genesis, we are told that humanity has been made in the image or shadow of God—in Hebrew, tselem (Strong’s H6754). Something that I have frequently meditated on is what this term tselem means. This meditation most often happens when I’m going through trials and tribulations. During these times when my soul is grieved, and I’m searching for the righteous path through the chaos of life, I will hear my Heavenly Father’s still small voice saying, “Come back into My shadow.” I‘ve come to understand that He means this is several ways.
Firstly, He is reminding me that it is only under His shade—tsêl (Strong’s 6738)—that we have any hope of finding real comfort and peace. Sometimes if we are not careful, life’s difficulties can chase us out of our hiding place in God instead of remaining in Him. Nothing in the world can refresh and sustain us better than our Source. In the heat of trials, when I pause to listen for His voice, I can tell that I have unintentionally moved out of His shadow. It is like standing outside on an incredibly hot day and completely avoiding the shade of a nearby tree. While the shade doesn’t compare to air conditioning, I would be a fool not to abide there when left with no other choice. Plus, there is sweet fruit from the tree that revives and sustains me.
Secondly, I know that by calling me to come back into His shadow, the Father is also referring to His image. One can say that, during troubles, we are tempted to lose our mind—or lose the mind of Christ. We can quickly forget who we are and the vows we have made to His covenant. Trials always require a response from us, but what will our response be? Will we let the trials disconnect us from our Source, leaving us with only the resources of our flesh? Or will we continue to abide and bear the fruits of the Spirit while under pressure—love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control? We have a choice in difficulties even when we may feel like we don’t.
When trials come—and as our Savior told us, they certain will come—they become an opportunity for God to build His character into us. The more we yield to the process and are mindful of the point of the difficulties, the more we will have access to the life-giving flow of the Holy Spirit. And the more of God’s Spirit that we are able to receive, the more we are able to accurately hear His voice and reflect His image in the earth—in both good times and bad.
Galatians 5:22-24 (TPT) But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions:
joy that overflows,
peace that subdues,
patience that endures,
kindness in action,
a life full of virtue,
faith that prevails,
gentleness of heart, and
strength of spirit.
Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless.