Then God said,Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.Genesis 1:26
Man was given dominion over all the created universe. He was made to govern and to master the world in which he was placed. Even though man was fallen, he has never forgotten that command, and this accounts for his unending persistence in trying to master the forces of earth, to climb the highest mountain and explore the deepest sea and to utilize the animal creation for his own purposes. But also, the effect of the fall is seen in the amazing fact that man, who was placed in this world to govern it, is now on the verge of destroying everything.
Despite the fact that man has lost his ability to master, the desire to do so still remains as a kind of racial memory within us. And that desire in itself is a picture on the physical level of what redeemed man is called to be on the spiritual level. Here we come to the great purpose of this passage. It is here to illustrate to us that when we become redeemed, we are called to reign in life, to master life. Let me give that to you directly from the pen of the apostle Paul. In Romans 5:17 he says,
If, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.
Reign in life--not in heaven--in life, now, at this present time. That means to control events, to govern the effects of life around us, through fulfilling the program of the Father and moving in the direction God determines. Redeemed man is never to be a helpless victim of circumstances. It was not meant for the world to make havoc of the church but for the church to make havoc of the world.
If you read the events of our Lord's last week in Jerusalem, you will see exactly what I mean. There He is, moving toward the goal that the Father has ordained, that He should die upon a cross. He sets His face like a flint to go up to Jerusalem and is constantly aiming at that moment He knows to be the Father's program for Him. But notice how He goes toward it in full control of every circumstance. He sends out the disciples to do the work that leads to His arrest. He dismisses Judas to go out into the night. When the soldiers come to take Him, He rebukes them, and they fall to the ground in fear. He could easily have turned and fled, but He waits quietly for them to take Him. The only untroubled person in all that troubled account is the person of the Lord Jesus as He walks in solitary majesty through all those tumultuous events. He was reigning in life. And that is what the Christian is called to do. The circumstances of our lives are sent by the Father--they are the program God has picked out for us--but our attitude in them is to master every event, not being taken by surprise.
Father, how often I live like one defeated and crippled by life's challenges. Teach me to reign in life through Jesus Christ.
Being made in God's image makes us spiritual beings. Are we letting the Lord reign in and through our lives? Have we appropriated His righteousness by faith to do so?