This is a golden age for the self-obsessed where image is everything and nothing. Yet way back in the 1570s, famous poet Edmund Spencer had it right: ‘Gold all is not that doth golden seem’. Diana Ross suggests that a golden dream is possible but that, ‘You've got to get out there and make it happen for yourself’. So what is this golden glitzy image that people so crave?
- ‘An image is not simply a trademark, a design, a slogan or an easily remembered picture. It is a studiously crafted personality profile of an individual, institution, corporation, product or service’ – Daniel J Boorstin
- ‘The 'self-image' is the key to human personality and human behaviour. Change the self-image and you change the personality and the behaviour’ – Mazwell Malz
- ‘Everyone is comparing lives on social media and wants the perfect body, perfect image, perfect outfit, perfect life - we're striving for this perfection, and it's so unhealthy because there's no such thing as perfection’ – Emily Atack
- ‘Behaviour is the mirror in which everyone shows their image’ – Johann Wolfgang Von Goeth
Image is often projected through the model of car, size of house, status of friends and fashion brands. We may think these are the exclusive concern of the rich and famous!
- ‘My glasses say a lot about me because I think me in a pair of sunglasses is an image that a lot of people would recognise’ – Victoria Beckham
- ‘Every few years, I change my look for the simple reason that I get bored. If you Google Image me, you will see so many different looks: long hair, short hair, clean shaven, beard, etc’ – Johnny Iuzzini
Yet personal image is something that the large majority of populations think about and it leads to exploitation, bullying and personal anxiety.
- ‘Think about what people are doing on Facebook today. They're keeping up with their friends and family, but they're also building an image and identity for themselves, which in a sense is their brand. They're connecting with the audience that they want to connect to’ – Mark Zuckerberg
- ‘Aim high and don't sell yourself short. Know that you're capable. Understand that a lot of people battle with a lot of things - depression, body image or whatever else - so know that it's not just you. You're not alone’ – Holly Holm
- ‘Old age is a special problem for me because I've never been able to shed the mental image I have of myself - a lad of about 19’ – E B White
Images come and go, vanishing like phantoms of the night or evaporating with the morning mist, leaving people to grapple with the undeniable realities facing them.
- ‘I have to struggle to change people's perceptions of me. I grew very frustrated with the perception that I'm this shy, retiring, inhibited aristocratic creature when I'm absolutely not like that at all. I think I'm much more outgoing and exuberant than my image’ – Helena Bonham Carter
- ‘Every person has a different view of another person's image. That's all perception. The character of a man, the integrity, that's who you are’ – Steve Alford
- ‘The image you see of me out in public is really different from who I am in real life’ – Lucy Hale
- ‘Man is important in one sense only. He was made in the image of God: That is his importance. He is not important for his body, ego, or personality. His constant affirmation of ego-consciousness is the source of all his problems’ – Mukunda Lal Ghosh
You have possibly never considered why you were not made in the image of a monkey or a polar bear! If you were, you would be reflecting something of those beings which God declared to be good. However, there is something in a human being which God declared to be very good because it reflects his image. Even with the relationship broken, mankind still bears that image and can see it in other human beings.
- ‘So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them’ – Genesis 1:27
- ‘I can see, and that is why I can be happy, in what you call the dark, but which to me is golden. I can see a God-made world, not a manmade world’ – Helen Keller
The temptation is to worship man and his images rather than the God who made us. Remember the king who wanted to extract worship from three men who knew that worshipping man or a golden image was pointless and disobedient?
- ‘Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up”’ – Daniel 3:16-19
Knowing that we needed a tangible image of himself, God did that most amazing thing in giving us a living image of himself:
- ‘The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created’ – Colossians 1:15
Not only did he do this but he also revealed his plan for each one he calls, that we might become like his son and so have that broken relationship restored. God the Father shows us how we can properly bear his image:
- ‘For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters’ – Romans 8:29
- ‘Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit’ – 2 Corinthians 3:17-18
- ‘Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator’ – Colossian 3:9
This is not some kind of ‘spiritual evolution’, it is the very will of God for each one he calls that we might enter into the glorious freedom of the children of God. Creation is ‘on tip-toes’ waiting to see you and all God’s children revealed – now there’s a future worth waiting for, where image is restored to the glorious reality and glory of God … and we’re part of it!
TAGS - image, fashion, reality, looks, fame, famous, children, God