What is The Image Model?
The Image Model is a biblically-based, Christ-Centered personality profile rooted in being created in the Image of God (Gen 1:26).
- We are Created in the Image of God (Gen 1:26, 27)
- We reflect many of God’s attributes (solve complex problems, create beauty, speak in complex languages, love, etc.).
- Specifically, we reflect God’s Moral and Relational aspects in how we interpret and process events, actions & words (this is the heart of the Image Model).
- We still reflect His Image, even though we are sinners (Gen 9:6, Jam 3:9)
- God’s desire for us is to become like Christ (Rom 8:29), who is the full Image of God (Col 1:15), full of Grace and Truth (Jn 1:14)
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness”— Gen 1:26
The heart of The Image Model lies in the understanding that we reflect God’s Moral and Relational aspects in how we interpret and process events, actions & words. As we understand how we are created in His Image, we can better understand our paths to become like Christ, who is the complete Image of the Invisible God (Col 1:15).
His Image In You
We Reflect God’s “Moral” and “Relational” aspects in how we interpret and process events, actions, and words.
1) The Moral Operator
While Moral Operators reflect God’s Moral Attributes, these attributes are tainted by our sin nature. In light of these things, Moral Operators are:
- Moral Interpreters – Interpret through Moral Lens; See as Right vs. Wrong (as defined by the law, God or self); good or bad, black or white; some would rather be right than get along
- Perfectionistic – Signs of being perfectionist (high standard); may be critical towards others (who feel judged) when standards not met
- High Performance – Driven to succeed; good & valuable workers; often excel at work
- Actions (Fruit) Oriented – Focus on behavior and actions (doing the right thing); in parenting, may focus on discipline over relationship; look at the fruit and may ignore the heart
- Prefer the Tangible – Rewards and consequences for behaviors; Re: Love languages – Gifts, and Acts of Service rank highest; physical rewards (money, prize) over the intangible rewards (feel good inside)
- Concrete Thinking – Facts & figures, literal meanings, lists; meaning behind actions which are observed, measured, quantified and qualified; abstract concepts like love, feelings, philosophy, etc. are more difficult to grasp
- Processes & Procedures – There’s a right way to do things; procedures should be followed; good at quality control; Will use the words “should” and should not” often. Eph 4:15 (“Speak truth in love”) – emphasis on TRUTH
- Importance of Fairness – Things should be fair or equal (how I see fairness); Work hard and get rewarded well
- Emotional Intelligence (EI)– Will depend on how far on the scale. The further from Relational, the less EI. Female Moral Operators have higher EI
2) The Relational Operator
While Relational Operators reflect God’s Relational Characteristics, sin has tainted the Image of God in us. In light of this, Relational Operators are:
- Relational Interpreters – Interpret through a Relational Lens; more sensitive to the emotions and feelings of self and others; more sensitive to words and actions that may cause emotional pain
- Value Relationships – Rather be liked than succeed; rather get along than be right; may suffer in a poor relationship than stand up for what is right or against what is wrong; more likely to become people pleasers or need affection / attention
- Feelings Focus – May make decisions based on feelings, or determine what is right according to how someone would feel
- Prefer the Intangible – Relational rewards, recognition of appreciation goes further than trophies or money (though it’s appreciated); knowing good was accomplished and people helped more important (feel good)
- Abstract Thinking – Emotions, philosophy, thoughts principles & concepts – all of these are easier to comprehend that concrete items
- Process & Procedures – The right way to do things is so that others are not offended or upset, but feel important or loved; May not be detail oriented; May do activities because they feel like doing it (leads to procrastination); Eph 4:15 (“Speak truth in love”) – emphasis on LOVE.
- Emotional Intelligence – Typically higher in Emotional Intelligence than Moral Operators; the further from the Moral Operator side, the more easily swayed by emotions or less anchored by truth.
Take the Quiz!
Download and print the Image Inventory below. Place a mark on the sliding scale which best reflects your character or what is most important to you. Make sure that you do not mark on the line, but choose a side! There is no right or wrong answer. Though what is most important may vary based on the situation, mark what you reflect most often.
Becoming Like Christ
If you’ve taken the Image Inventory, you’ll see which side you reflect more. The goal is not to reflect either the Moral or the Relational more, but to reflect Christ (Rom 8:29), who is fully Moral (Truth) and fully Relational (Grace) (Jn 1:14).
If the Image Inventory shows you are a Moral Processor, becoming like Christ will be to focus on the Jesus of the Gospels. Jesus in the Gospels shows us God’s relational side. Humility, other-centeredness, compassion for sinners, love for people, grace (unmerited favor) to those who deserved wrath. These are the key relational qualities to study and emphasize in your life. Note his lack of judgment or standards on people who didn’t measure up (sinners), his kindness in interactions, his selflessness throughout, and his forgiveness to those who didn’t deserve it. The only ones he became angry with were the Pharisees, teachers of the law who were the “Moral Processors” of the times. They kept the law and standards, did not show empathy and love for others well, and looked down on others for not meeting the standards.
To become more like Christ, you don’t need to give up any “Moral Processing,” but instead become more like Christ. Asking forgiveness and following the Jesus of the Gospel is essential for Christ-like change.
If the Image Inventory shows that you are a Relational Processor, your goal of becoming like Christ will be to look at the Jesus of Revelations. Although Jesus in the Gospel is so attractive to us, we need to understand that the Jesus of Revelations emphasizes a different side of Jesus. Same Jesus. Different emphasis. Jesus in Revelations is the victorious conqueror, the ruler of the world, and the one who judges (declares right and wrong, good and bad). While Relational Processors are mainly concerned about the emotions and feelings of people, we see that Jesus is concerned with faith, followed by the fruits of the faith such as love and obedience. In His letters to the churches, especially to the church of Thyatira (Rev 2:18-29), he applauds the church for their faith and love, but he warns them about their lack of standing for the truth. At times, Relational Processors are so concerned about theirs or other’s emotions or opinions, they don’t speak truth or stand up to what is wrong. Jesus clearly instructs his people to stand for the truth and do what is right, even when the world does what is wrong.
To become more like Christ, Relational Processors don’t need to stop processing things emotionally, but need to stand firm in the Truth and not be swayed by emotions or fears. Ask forgiveness if you’ve been swayed too much by emotions or fears, and ground yourself in the Truth. Know your value and worth come from Christ alone and stand for Christ alone in your heart and in the world. And as you study His truth, and in humility, the Holy Spirit will give you peace and strength in His name.
Created Like Him. Relating Like Him.
Becoming Like Him.
by Fred Jacoby, MA
Coming in 2020
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