Along with the Bible and prayer, relationships with fellow believers can be used as a powerful help during the tough times of life. In His sovereign and providential wisdom, the Lord has chosen to use personal interaction as a force to strengthen and sustain His people. Tragically, many modern Christians discount the need for godly fellowship. Some even downplay the need to regularly gather with God’s people.
Describing the creative process that took place at the beginning of time, the Bible says, “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness’” (Genesis 1:26). Notice the implementation of the first person plural — “Us” and “Our” — used to depict the dialogue that took place amongst the Trinity concerning the creation of humankind. This plural number is the first biblical reference to the three-in-one nature of God.
Further notice that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit intended to make humanity according to their “image.”
When God created us, He made us to resemble Himself. What’s involved in such a resemblance?
Well, since God isn’t a physical being, this similarity cannot be a material one. Our Lord is a Spirit (cf. John 4:24), a consuming fire (cf. Hebrews 12:29), who shouldn’t be compared to, or portrayed by, the physical representation of any earthly thing (cf. Exodus 20:4).
It seems that references to “Us” and “Our” within Genesis 1:26-27 show that the image of God involves a relational component. In other words, men and women are created to relate to others, just as the Trinity has unity and relation amongst Itself. Jesus spoke of this truth when He prayed a prayer for us, saying: “May they all be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You. May they also be one in Us, so the world may believe You sent Me” (John 17:21).
We have all been wired for relationships — a relationship with God and a relationship with other people. Though each of us has different personalities and relational leanings, God intends to use our connection with Him and His people to aid us during the difficult seasons of life. This is why Scripture encourages us, saying, “And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works, not staying away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24-25).
Do you have any meaningful Christian friendships? Are you regularly assembling with other believers for worship? Do you have a small group of believers, perhaps a Sunday School class, with which you meet for encouragement and accountability? By the Lord’s creative design, such relationships are meant to help you in your Christian journey, especially during the tough times of life.
Dr. Patrick Latham