Created for Significance
When we were young we loved to recite the story of Simon Makonde. A man whose life spanned a week. He was born on Monday and he was dead by Sunday. For a child’s mind this story did not mean much. This story elicited a feeling of sadness. Perhaps it is the way it ended. He died.
But isn’t that how everyone’s life ends? We die? Perhaps it was not that he died, but that his life was ordinary and unremarkable. Clearly, the writer of this story had something in mind. I doubt his intention was that we take it literally as no one goes through all that in a week.
The milestones in the short life of Simon Makonde are similar to what often our lives end up being about. Think about it. Our lives go through the same motions from birth to death. Is that all? Have you ever felt like your life could be more?
Let’s journey back to Monday. Simon Makonde was born: birth gives us a sense of belonging. Our sense of worth is strongly defined by our heritage. Birth gives us identity. In our early years we have dreams of the possible. Nothing we dreamt of seemed out of reach. What did you aspire to achieve when you were young? Think about this for a moment. Journey back to your earliest dreams in your childhood. List the things you believed you would accomplish.
Rick Warren in his book the Purpose Driven Life asks the question. “What on earth am I here for?” This may be a question many have had from time to time. When responding to this question many are limited to the what of their lives. The question of purpose is not about ‘what’ but a question of ‘why’. Why on earth am I here? When describing yourself to someone, do you find that your identity is limited by what you do or your roles? How often do you describe yourself using your character qualities?
Every person is born with potential. This potential is inscribed in the foundations of being. We are made in the image of God. We were made for a purpose. At the core of realizing our potential is Our Identity. Do you still see the image of God in you? What elements of God’s image for your potential? Can you list those?
This is first instalment of a series we are calling #Unleashed:created for significance. We will explore our identity in the image of God and how to redeem it. It is never too late to live a life of significance.
Colossians 1:6 “…—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him.” [MSG]
Finding our purpose must start at the beginning. At the source. Where did you come from? What is your identity? Can you describe your heritage. The gospel of Matthew begins by laying out the genealogy of Jesus. This was important in setting out Jesus’s purpose. It was affirmed at Jesus’ baptism when, “a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17)
Where did I come from? Whatever our story, we must trace our heritage back to the true source. We were created in the Image of God. Tracing back to this place is best described in in worship. Redeeming our purpose begins with redeeming our identity and connection to our true source.
Matt 22: 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
The entire revelation of God in Scriptures hangs on our worship to God and relationship with others. We must begin with a love for God with our all. Mind, Heart, Body and Soul. Then we ought to love others as ourselves. Jesus here was referencing all the past revelation of God’s truth as was recorded in the Law of Moses and the writings of the Prophets. The entire existence of religion and instructions of worship summarized into these two laws of love. This is the essence of worship. It would seem that giving our all in worship requires the heart, mind, body and soul. It is in this connection that our potential is unlocked. Today we will explore the mind.
The power of the mind to yield transformation
The mind is a powerful part of who we are. It has great power in unlocking our potential. It is defined as follows.
The mind is a set of cognitive faculties including consciousness, perception, thinking, judgement, and memory.
The mind is the faculty of a human being’s reasoning and thoughts. It holds the power of imagination, recognition, and appreciation, and is responsible for processing feelings and emotions, resulting in attitudes and actions. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind)
Paul in his writings recognized the power of the mind in our worship.
Romans 12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
It seems here that we have the capability to renew our minds. What has entered our minds is plenty. All throughout our lives we take in new stimulus. Alot of what we take in gets etched in our minds. It is believed that some things are permanently ingrained in parts of our brain as memory. Many of our battles are lost or won in the mind. Things that we have taken in become part of our self identity.
Self Identity: can commonly be described at thoughts I believe to be true about myself. These can be based on personal experiences, what I think others think about me, or based on how I compare myself with others. (Transformational Leadership Training)
The truth is that our identity is defined by God himself. God is He says He is and I am who he says I am.
This is the Potential that is locked in. In me is God defined DNA.
What are some of the things found in God’s DNA? What attributes of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit do we know? Study God’s word and list these.
The image of God in me is musked by the sinful nature. The mind is battle-ground for the enemy. It is a battle of identity. It is also a battle won with truth. Sin has no power in the light. Sin has power only in the dark
Getting Out of The Dark
I propose three steps to get out of the dark. These are simple things we can begin to grow in doing.
Unlock your potential:
Everything that God created was good. Sin has masked the goodness in this creation. The first step in redeeming that which is good begins with the work of God himself. We are so deep in sin that it would take the one who is without sin to get us out.
The first step is to receive God’s LIFE in our lives by accepting the Lordship of Christ.
Rom 8: 1-2 “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
If you have not accepted Jesus as Lord, start here. Click here if you would like to know more about how to accept Jesus as Lord.
Feed Your Mind Right & Starve yourself of poisons:
The second step is taking charge of what finds access into your mind. What will you let in from this point onways.
Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble,whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
What will you allow into your mind? Does it fit the description above? What kind of company do you keep? Do you surround yourself with people who share your values? People who believe in the God in you?
Many times you may not have control of what you receive into your mind. Steven Covey proposes though that everyone has control of his/her response. When you receive information or someone tells you something, you can arrest your thoughts about it. Because thoughts result in feelings which result in action. Commit from now on to own your thoughts because we always have a choice.
2 Corinthians 10:5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
Arrest it before it enters your mind!
God can redeem your past:
Everyone has a story. While the last two steps address the way forward, you may be wondering what to do with what has already made its way into your past. Can we change the past? I am afraid no. But we can change how the past affects us now. The first step of accepting the Lord is often called redemption. This means, that which is possible becoming still possible. You have been redeemed. Your story is powerful when placed in the Hand of God.
Gen 50:20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
“Life stories make up the thread that connects the human family. It may well be that we can leave no greater legacy than the story our life” (Robert Atkinson, ‘The Gift of Stories’)
Joseph’s story in the passage above would have been tragic in many ways. Can you imagine what it would do to you if your very own family sold you into slavery? Be God revealed to him a grand plan of turning was sown in tears to reap joy.
Begin to process your past with a view of identifying the Hand of God in every significant occurrence. Click here to find is a tool called for leveraging the power of your story by Gail Seidel. It uses 5 H’s:
- Your Heritage: family of origin, background, geography
- Your Heroes: key relationships, characters in your life
- Your High Points: home, school, community, career
- Your Hard Times: difficulties, stresses, health, disappointments, losses
- Notice the Hand of God: How and where was God working in every stage of your life?
As you journey through this series we pray that your potential will be unlocked and your life will be lived with significance.