God Made Us In His Image and Likeness
God said "Now I will create human beings in my image and likeness."
Based on Genesis 1:26
When God created us as his children, he made us in his "image and likeness." God gave us certain qualities: and eternal soul, a free will, and a mind. Like God, we will live forever. We have the power to choose. And we can use our minds to make good choices. In a small way, the qualities inside of us reflect God. This is why we are created in God's image.
But, do we show others "God's likeness?" Do our actions show others what God is really like? Sometimes we act selfish. Sometimes it is easier to be selfish. These are the times we do not show "God's likeness." These are the times we need help.
Jesus helped us when he taught us with stories and wise sayings. One time, he gave us the Beatitudes. They tell us to love God first. They challenge us to say "no" to selfishness. And they remind us that our goal is God's Kingdom.
When Jesus saw all the people, he went up a hill and sat down. His followers drew near. And Jesus taught them:
God blesses the poor who have humble hearts. He rules over them now and forever!
God blesses the sad people. He will make them feel better!
God blesses those without power. He will give them a place in his land!
God blesses those who hunger to do what he wants. He will satisfy them!
God blesses those who forgive others. He will forgive them!
God blesses those who love him most of all. They will see him!
God blesses those who make peace. He will call them his children!
God blesses those who suffer because they follow him and try to do what is right. He rules over them now and forever!
God blesses you when people insult you, punish you, and spread lies about you, just because you follow me. After all, God's prophets suffered in the same way long before you were born. So, grin with a big smile! God will give you a huge gift in heaven!
Based on Matthew 5:1-12a
Think about the beatitudes for a moment. Have you ever known someone who was humble? Who forgave others? Who made peace? Who was willing to stand up and do the right thing, even if others criticized them for their actions? Does this person show others what God is really like?
As much as we might want to be the kind of people who live out the Beatitudes, we need extra help. Jesus gave us that help in the Holy Spirit. The Spirit gives us the gift of eternal life with God, the insight to know the right thing to do, and the power to do it.
When Jesus taught the Beatitudes, he challenged his audience to look at God's Kingdom in a new way. In his Kingdom, God would bless the unselfish: the humble, the forgiving, the peacemakers, those who fought for the good of others, those who follow Jesus. Happy are those people who love as God loves.
But Jesus had a warning for the selfish:
Watch out, you rich people! You've already lived a comfortable life.
Watch out, you overeaters! You will soon go hungry.
Watch out, you jokers! You will soon cry and feel miserable.
Watch out when everyone likes you! Their ancestors also liked those who claimed to be prophets.
Based on Luke 6:24-26