The Creator decided the worth of man and woman by giving them the inherent power of imagination and creation to rule over all of creation. Whatever was lost through sin has been restored by Lord Jesus through His redeeming sacrifice and this is achieved through the process of sanctification. The evil forces on the other hand attempt to drag us back into that same pit of self damnation and lack of confidence in self through reminding us of the past. The battle is with ‘powers and principalities’ and God the Holy Spirit empowers and helps all believers to emerge victorious.
The original identity of man – God created and separated different parts of creation due to their specific characteristics and purpose of creation. Thus heaven was separated from the earth, light from darkness, waters from the earth and man from animals, since each is unique in its own self. Man was created by God to establish the heavenly kingdom on the earth as a representative of God while acting in His power and authority. He was made distinct from the heavenly angels having being given a bodily form but was placed slightly lower than the angels, though the angels were supposed to be ministering spirits to man (Hebrews 1:14). Man is supposed to reflect God’s glory, having been made in His Divine image and likeness, in all his thoughts, feelings, emotions and deeds by remaining dependent on God for all his body, soul and spiritual needs. It was this reliance on God that provided man his uniqueness for he obtains all power and authority from Him. Thus man loses his real identity on being separated from God and due to loss of power becomes subject to other forces of nature.
God is eternal and infinite with inherent perfection in Himself where nothing can be added to God by any individual through his/her acts of devotion or otherwise. His perfection overflows through His love for mankind and all of creation in all His ways and despite being just, He remains forgiving and merciful being fully aware of the weakness of man to stray (Psalm 145:17). Man’s being is in itself an act of God’s mercy and his self realization comes through experiencing and living in the love of God while displaying that same love towards others. Man’s identity being in and from God, he is able to rejoice in the love of God while remaining ever grateful to the Creator. Thus man ceases to be man in the true sense of creation from the moment he breaks off from this dependence on God through making claims in his own power.
In the Garden of Eden, man’s desires were all God centered and not on self and thus he could control these in Divine power. Despite the fall God did not abandon man and the All-knowing God still came looking for him to shower His love on the first two – Adam and Eve. Though they were forced to leave the Garden, God’s care and plan for mankind was not abandoned. Thus Noah was separated from the sinning humanity to save all of creation from perishing under sin, Abraham was separated from his ancestors by being moved to an unknown land for God to reveal Himself and His plan for redemption of mankind. First Israel and then all believers were separated from rest of humanity to show God’s merciful act of salvation and redemption so that others could also be led back to God and His saving grace.
God’s view of man – The Creator revealed His idea and identity of mankind in the creation process itself by giving a distinctive identity to them as different from animals. Man’s disobedience did not change God by turning Him from a loving to an angry God, for still “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son” to become a sacrificial offering as propitiation for our sins (John 3:16). Lord Jesus also endorsed the love of God towards us by revealing our value being much more than the sacrificial birds and animals (Matthew 6:26 & Luke 12:24). Man is valuable for he can consciously honor God through worship and thankfulness while relying on God’s mercy all along his life. The Creator is well aware of each individual and His own plan for them even before they were placed in their mother’s womb (Jeremiah 1:5 & Psalm 51:6). God’s love for man is further revealed by Him that He has inscribed us on His palms and our walls (protection) are always before Him and He intervenes when required to ensure our well being (Isaiah 49:16). The scripture further reveals the value God ascribes to every aspect of human existence that our sorrows are numbered and tears collected in a bottle, being extremely precious (Psalm 56:8). To ensure the well being of His chosen ones, god has given charge to the angels to keep us in all our ways and hold us in their hands to save us from harm (Psalm 91:11-12).
But man in his fallen state is controlled by the five senses thus controlling and becoming the source of knowledge for man. In this state the visible attains importance over the invisible in direct contradiction to what God desires. God is invisible, being a Spirit, and man is supposed to long for the invisible or spiritual things than the visible or worldly possessions. In this man has lost faith in his Creator and whatever he acquires outside of faith is sin, not being from God (Romans 14:23). Man’s being is to honor God and in his fallen state he cannot do so, even if he gives all his worldly things to the poor (1 Corinthians 13:3).
Man’s thoughts of himself – Man fears God not out of reverence but under the impression that he has to appease an angry God through his good deeds and worship offerings. This view continues in man despite the visible manifestation of God’s love for ‘the prince of this world – Satan – has blinded their minds’ (2 Corinthians 4:4). Lord Jesus illustrates the love of God through the parable of the lost sheep where the shepherd leaves the 99 sheep to go looking for the one that has strayed and on finding it, does not scold but hoists it on his shoulders, rejoicing to celebrate. The return of the Prodigal Son does not cause anger in the heart of the father but celebration for the ‘son who was dead and is now found’ (Luke 15). God also in similar manner welcomes the return to Him of every sinner in repentance and the angels rejoice over this. The Old Testament is all about God’s love for mankind and their sinful ways, return in repentance, forgiveness and after a while returning to their sinful ways. God declared Israelites to be His chosen people considered holy for Him (Deuteronomy 7:6). God commanded them through Moses, to obey Him, keep His covenants for “you are My treasured possession” (Exodus 19:5).
God breathed part of Himself into man at the time of creation, making him a part of His Divine nature. Man thus can never achieve his full potential in himself apart from the empowering and guiding hand of God. It is for this that God sent His Son to first redeem us from our sinful ways and return to Him and then ‘not leaving us believers as orphans’ blessed us with the indwelling Holy Spirit to guide and empower us. God does not punish man but it is the consequences of our past sins, which though forgiven by God, result in our punishment and suffering. Sin acts as a barrier between us and God thus depriving us of His Divine blessings and curses automatically follow. Before God’s throne of judgement, Satan acts as a public prosecutor, the accuser, while Lord Jesus acts as intercessor for us before God affirming forgiveness of our sins through His atoning sacrifice and our acquittal. God’s part is over in taking us back to our original position, our part is to continue seeking Him for empowerment for achieving our true potential.
Man’s part to reach full potential – Man having a part of God in himself can never on his own satiate his inner urge to fullness nor can he achieve his potential in entirety without God. For man to reach the pinnacle that he is destined to reach, God must be part of the effort. Nobody can achieve excellence without first analyzing his personal strengths and weaknesses by using the first and overcoming the second. All knowledge in itself is a gift from God and application of the same to gain wisdom is also from God (1 Corinthians 12:8). Thus it is only with the guiding hand of God that one can have self knowledge, for my heart will always deceive and overrate self while undermining the opponents – a sure way to disaster. Self knowledge must be supported by Godly knowledge and wisdom to fully charge the soul to finally find rest in God’s placement and His ways.
Moses attempted to lead Israel to freedom on his own and ended up murdering an Egyptian and fleeing from the ‘battle arena’ without finally entering the battle (Exodus 2:11-15). At the right time God revealed Himself to Moses in the ‘Burning Bush’ and Moses, realizing his personal weaknesses, was reluctant to go to lead his people out of slavery in Egypt without the empowering and guiding presence of God (Exodus 3:1-17). Those who seek God’s hand in every endeavor of life always come out successful. The Amalekites attacked David’s camp, in his absence, and took the wives and children of all his followers captive causing such heartburn in David’s followers that they nearly stoned him. David sought God’s guidance “Should I go after them?” and on following God’s directions, was able to not only recover his own but also the loot that the Amalemkites were carrying (1 Samuel 30). David has been named by God as “a man after mine own heart” (Acts 13:22) for he sought God’s permission and guidance for every tough task that he faced. David when faced with the Philistine army sought God’s help and was commanded by God to move out to battle only “when you hear a sound of marching on top of poplar trees” for then God has gone forth before you to smite the Philistine army (1 Chronicles 14:15).
God promises to move ahead of our every move ‘to straighten the crooked paths, to break open the doors of brass (create new opportunities) and break bars of iron (our shortcomings that restrain us)’ (Isaiah 45:2). How can anyone not accept and forego such a great blessing from God which would ensure success in every venture? One has to have patience and persevere for there is a definite time plan that God has set for everything to happen in our lives (Ecclesiastes 3:1-6). Apostle Paul prays for believers to God to ‘fill them with joy and peace in believing’ for there is contentment through faith alone (Romans 15:13). He then classifies a true believer as one who ‘does not seek his own (ways)’ and remains at peace with everything (Romans 13:5). It is in such peace and contentment that one can aspire to and achieve one’s true potential.
How to choose the best opportunity – The Scripture is clear in asserting that God has a plan for each one of His children and this plan has a bright future and is full of hope (Jeremiah 29:11). The only recorded prayer of Lord Jesus, the Messiah prayed to the Father not only for the first followers but also for all those who will come into the Faith due to their testimony (John 17:20). Having been blessed to become the ‘children of God’ through faith in His Son, God the Father naturally desires the best for His children, the believers, and He leads us towards that desired end (Romans 8:28). God has also revealed His will for His children ‘holiness through sanctification’, for He is holy and we can remain in His presence only through holiness acquired through the power of Lord Jesus’ atoning sacrifice (1 Thessalonians 4:3).
Since the Israelites were slaves in Egypt, God laid down specific instructions about treating a slave. Any Jewish slave had to be freed after a service period of six years and he was to walk free in the seventh year, free from all obligations (Deuteronomy 15:12 & Exodus 21:2). Many a times, since the slave gets accustomed to his life as a slave, he/she does not desire freedom for fear of the unknown future life. We were also slaves to the ‘lusts of our flesh and the prince of the power of the air’ and God in His mercy raised us from the dead state of sin to sit in heavenly places in Lord Jesus (Ephesians 2:1-3 & 6). Our sinful nature, however, undergoes a change through the process of sanctification under the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. But many, despite the forgiveness of sins, find it difficult to leave the sinful nature and become holy, remaining slaves to the old state. We have God’s plans for us versus our own plans for our lives. God’s plan requires continuous change, achieved through the slow and continuous process of sanctification and needs perseverance on our part. God does assure us of the ‘life of abundance’ but it is not without trials and difficulties and even the Apostles suffered persecution.
God’s power in us versus our own efforts – What we expect from God is generally for Him to act as a coach, guiding us in every step while clearly laying out His plans before us, with daily schedules and plans. But God is a Sovereign Authority, requiring us to “walk as the wise and not fools, redeeming the time, for days are evil”, while being repentant of our sins, believing in Him and His empowering presence (Ephesians 5:15-16). We must surrender our ‘self’ to His authority and in this way glorify Him in our deep satisfaction in Him by displaying least confidence in the worldly systems. Through this surrender we commit ourselves to seek His Divine kingdom to be defective in our lives, for then everything else will be definitely given to us by Him (Matthew 6:33). Everything that is visible is temporary and constantly changing, thus urging us to choose lasting things through making wise choices – holiness and godliness with contentment which is the greatest gain (1 Timothy 6:6). While choosing us to be His children in Lord Jesus, God has started a good thing in us and He will definitely take it to completion (Philippians 1:6).
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes” (Proverbs 3:5-7). The key to realizing our true potential has been clearly established by the ‘wisest man – King Solomon’ and through the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit, we can reach that what God has destined for us through His plans.