For June 6, 2021
It is amazing how many of us have forgotten our God-given identity. He has created us in His image and endowed us with a personal and distinct life purpose. Sadly, human hearts that do not embrace the Lord’s intricate design, often experience distress and peril,
In the morning you will say, “If only it were evening!” and in the evening, “If only it were morning!”–because of the terror that will fill your hearts and the sights that your eyes will see. (Deuteronomy 28:67 NIV)
Hosea 4:6 (NKJV) states, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” Thus, the current political uncertainty, coupled with recent spikes in crime, racial polarization, random shootings, terrorism in the US and abroad, and suicides are “real time” indicators of the helplessness many of us experience in today’s world.
Our recent suicide rates are telling statistics. For instance, although it was the second leading cause of death in 1999 for the 25-34 age group, it spiked within 20 years to become the second leading cause of death for the 10-34 age group in 2019.1
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention offers no single reason for a person to decide to take their own life. Life stresses combined with childhood trauma, substance use, and chronic physical pain can be contributing factors to this self-harm act.2
Inflicting harm on others or ourselves do not reflect what Jesus Christ says is our God-given purpose,
One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question: “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:35-40 NLT)
We are the “crowning achievement” of God’s marvelous creation. Unlike all other created beings, we can choose to love God, our neighbors and ourselves deeply while living noble lives that reflect our Creator’s glory and dignity.
Satan’s job is to confuse and distort God’s perfect plan by telling us that our differences “prove” we are flawed, worthless or won’t amount to anything. As result, many of us have embraced the idea that we will be failures in life.
But these are lies because no two of us are exactly alike by God’s design. He has created us differently—much like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle—to make a beautiful portrait of His love, redemption, and glory when He joins all the pieces together in Heaven.
We are not mistakes or afterthoughts. Instead, we are uniquely designed to fulfill His perfect will. In other words, God created us, with all our complexities, to function according to His design—to honor Him.
Consider our human mind, which controls our cognitive and anatomical functions. God also designed it for us to have proper thoughts, feelings, perceptions, and memories as Philippians 4:8 (NLT) teaches,
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your [minds] on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
In addition, God created our bodies to be expressions His grace, kindness, and love around the world; not as weapons for pain, death, and destruction. We are to live out His noble plan to enjoy an abundant life that is filled with loving God while helping and healing others around us—including ourselves.
Because of the presence of sin in the world, we have lost both God’s fellowship and perspective. We concern ourselves with loving the things of this world that do not last, while we spend little time loving those Christ-centered things that are eternal.
For too many, it is far more important to chase career goals and miss church services regularly; to purchase a new boat for recreation seems more financially responsible than giving our tithes and offerings; to splurge on us instead of helping others in need seems to be a far more constructive use of our time and resources.
And for others, raising children to be spiritually ambivalent seems far more practical than teaching them about God, reading His Word to them, and teaching them right from wrong. Our children need to know that lying, cheating, and stealing (or what many of us use “to survive in this dog-eat-dog world”) are an affront to the Lord, and to His perfect righteousness within us.
Although there are those who futilely try to discredit our God-given purpose, still God has not. Through faith in Jesus Christ, God can break the curse of sin forever to create His offspring who will do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly before Him daily (Micah 6:8).
Jesus declares He is the light of the world, and anyone who follows Him will “not walk in darkness but will have the light of life instead” (John 8:12). Thus, we can be a changed people, who by His Spirit’s power live out our true identity—now and forever,
I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing (John 15:5 NKJV).
God’s purpose is that we contrast the prevalent, sinful lifestyles of those who celebrate pretense and reward dishonesty. We can do so as we allow His Holy Spirit to work through us to share a compelling Christian witness with those we encounter in our personal and social lives.
Through Christ, we can embrace His perspective and realize how we are the unique and significant parts of His wonderful master plan. Won’t you embrace Him today and live out your full potential in Christ?
What a Wonderful Savior!
- From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, accessed online at: https://webappa.cdc.gov/sasweb/ncipc/leadcause.html.
- You can visit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention online at: https://afsp.org/ for more information about suicide and prevention.