The Source of All My Ramblings (I)

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What if someone asked you, “What is your purpose for living? Why are you here?” What would you say? I have heard traditional answers to these questions, such as “To know God and to make him known,” and, to “Love God and enjoy Him forever.” Is that why you are alive? Is there not a more tangible, concrete answer to that question?

I believe the Bible does give us a much more specific purpose for our existence. It is hard for me not to reference this purpose, or at least the vision it imparts, every week on this Two Edges of the Sword blog, as everything that appears here is based on it. It is encapsulated in a single passage in the Bible. Here it is (drumroll)!

“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ 

“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 

“Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth’” (Genesis 1:26-28).

This is the summary version of man’s creation (the more detailed version is in Genesis 2). This gives us, very clearly, the three foundational reasons why God created us to live on this earth. All other reasons why we are here are but the means whereby these three objectives are fulfilled. The first reason is::

1. To bear God’s image (v. 26); i.e., to possess the will, intellect, emotions and creativity of God Himself to express His very character (the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22, 23). In other words, “bearing God’s image,” means that we will demonstrate by our lives, inconsistently, while Jesus modeled that very purpose perfectly! As He said of Himself in John 14:9: “You that have seen Me have seen the Father!” Our first purpose in life, to “bear God’s image,” means that this is increasingly also true of us!

Uh, oh! I am in deep trouble now! As I have gotten older, I have become more and more aware of what a terrible image of God I exhibit. I am constantly aware of my need to be recognized, always listening for my name, always wanting to be known as the one who is “right,” who knows more and is more insightful than others. 

In other words, I have “bitten on the fruit” of wanting to decide for myself and then do what is “good” and not let God lead me, like a little, unaware child, into “all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15).This is all directly contrary to God’s purpose #1 for me 

However, a sovereign God is very aware (much more than I!), of my shortcomings. They were fully and finally dealt with at the cross. “It is finished,” said Jesus as He died, and the majority of my ramblings in these postings deal with this full, glorious, inconceivable gospel of the grace of God, poured out on me because of that cross  “Knowing” this gospel in my heart and not just my head is how I fulfill my commission #1 and bear God’s image on the earth today.

So, we are all “image-bearers” of the great, sovereign, creator God. When you are a little child, wherever you go Jesus is there. “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but CHRIST LIVES IN ME; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith (the faith of a little child!) in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). When I am trusting Daddy alone for everything, it is Jesus, by His Holy Spirit, Who is living His life through me!

Being a little child “image-bearer” is the first facet of our three-fold eternal purpose for living. It has to do with, as Martin Luther taught so insightfully, “what is above you” —our relationship with God. There remains, “what is beneath you,” our relationship with the earth over which we have been given “dominion,” or “rule.” That’s next week!

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