Predesigned

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Ask the group the questions in black.

Words in italics are written to help give some guidance and ideas.

Read out loud the text in blue.

Have someone read out the Scripture passages.

Introduction

If God guaranteed you an answer to any question, what question would you ask?

Gather thoughts. Ask why? This is not the time to answer those questions, but just to get people thinking.

People are curious about many things, but when it comes down to it, two of the most basic questions of life are: Who am I and why am I here?

Can you answer those questions with total confidence?

Who am I?

The question “Who am I” is a question of identity. Your identity is simply who you think you are.

When you think about your life, what influences have shaped your identity (who you think you are)?

This could be parents, teachers, sports coaches, pastors, friends, the world etc.

Share something about who you think you are.

Let people share at whatever level they are willing. Simply listen.

We all begin creating our sense of identity from birth, mainly based on our interactions with other people. The things we believe about ourselves can be both positive and negative.

So for now, we know that the “who am I” question is about identity. Over the coming weeks, we are going to explore this more.

Why am I Here?

The second question “Why am I here?” deals with our sense of purpose.

Think about things that people have created and their purpose? What comes to mind?

Share ideas. Choose any examples such as toasters, cars, lightbulbs, roads, houses etc.

Can you think of anything that has no purpose at all?

There is nothing that has been created that has no purpose. Things like space junk may seem to have no purpose now, but they did once have a purpose.

We have been created, so what is our purpose?

Gather thoughts. Ask, “what makes you think that?”

Does something that is created have the ability to determine its own purpose?

Use an example from above to pose the question. Can a toaster decide to be a jug instead?

Design

We can only come to a true sense of identity and purpose when we first understand our design. Think about a lion.

What is a lion designed to do?

To hunt animals. No healthy lion defies its design to become a vegetarian! It never happens.

What gives a lion the ability to be a hunter?

Its whole body is designed to hunt from tooth to claw. The lion’s identity as a hunter comes from its design.

In the same way, our sense of identity and purpose is connected to our design.

Do we begin life with an understanding of our design?

No, newborn babies have no knowledge or understanding of purpose or design.

How do babies learn about their physical design?

Babies and infants learn their physical design by watching people around them. In fact, studies have shown that if an infant does not hear someone talking, they will not learn to talk. If they do not see a person walking, they will not learn to walk.

The same is true spiritually. When we first begin to follow Jesus and are born again, we are like spiritual infants, and we learn our design by looking at people who we consider “spiritual.”

In our spiritual infancy, how can we be sure that the people around us are or were actually living in their spiritual design?

We really can’t be sure. Babies do not have the capacity to question their design. Because they are so vulnerable, there is a great responsibility to protect babies and nurture them in truth.

What if we have not truly learned our design? Imagine that you discover an object you’ve never seen before and you don’t know what it is designed to do.

How could you find out?

You would ask the person who made it!

Read these Bible verses together:

Genesis 1:1
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
Genesis 1:26-27
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and 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.”

Who is the Creator of the universe and of us?

God.

As our Creator, we owe our existence to God. We are not random products of chance. We have been wonderfully created by a God who has a clear design for our lives. And as our Creator, He alone holds the answers to those questions “who am I and why am I here?” The only way we can discover our design is to ask the One who designed us.

So, how does God reveal our design to us?

Gather thoughts.

Our Mirror

Look up the following passage in James.

James 1:22-24

22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.

What is the purpose of a mirror in the natural realm?

To see what you physically look like.

So, if you want to see a spiritual reflection of yourself, what is the spiritual mirror that you look into?

The word of God.

The Word is a spiritual mirror that shows us our natural face. The word “natural” used in this verse is the Greek word “genesis” meaning “source, origin or birth”. You could say that when we look into the mirror of the Word, we see our genesis face. We see our true identity and purpose as God originally designed it.

Summary

There are two questions we need to answer: Who am I? and Why am I here? These are questions of identity and purpose. Only our Creator has the right to determine who we are and why we are here, our design. So, over the coming studies, we are going to look into the mirror of the Word to find out how God answers these questions.

Questions for Further Discussion

Has there ever been a time in your life when you consciously asked yourself Who am I? or Why am I here?

Do you have any early memories of believing that God is Creator?

What do you think spiritual infants need most?

 

1 In the Beginning—Homework

Reflect

Read these verses from Psalm 139 and reflect on the questions below.

Psalm 139:13-14

For You formed my inmost being;

You knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I will praise You,

for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

What do these verses reveal about the value of your life?

What does it mean for you to be a unique creation?

Is it important for you to know “who am I” and “why am I here?” Why or why not?

Do you spend time looking into the mirror of the Word? Is this a focus for you?

Pray

As you begin these studies, ask God to reveal your identity and your purpose/design in life to you in a fresh and deeper way. Share with Him your desires for your own spiritual growth.

This article continues on from the Predestined To article.

 

The Greek word proorizo speaks of being predesigned according to a defined plan more than it speaks of being predestined to a certain fate. Predestination is not a question of destiny but of identity. As God’s creation, we are predesigned with a definite purpose. So what is God’s design for our lives?

In His Image

Genesis 1:26

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…”

Romans 8:29

For those whom He foreknew, He also predesigned to become conformed to the image of His Son…

In the beginning, God created people in His image and according to His likeness. And His design has never changed. God has designed us to bear His image in the world. As such, we are not special just because we are designed by God; we are special because of the nature of our design. As an artist, God has created us as His self-portrait. He has designed us at our very core to be infused with His life and nature so that we may truly express His image in the world. And that sets us apart from all other creation.

So from the beginning God designed us to be conformed to His image. But how do we know that being conformed to the image of Christ is a reality that we can experience in this life? How can we be sure that God’s design is not just a part of our future destiny in heaven?

 2 Corinthians 3:17-18 (emphasis added)

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

When the word proorizo is translated as predestined, it implies that our conformation into the image of Christ is a reality that we only experience in our future spiritual destiny. Yet here we see that we are being transformed into the image of Christ. Thus our transformation into His image is not just a part of our future destiny but rather it can be our present reality. The Holy Spirit can transform us now as we behold the glory of God. Therefore we do not need to wait for the future in order to experience our true design in God. From glory to glory, we can start being conformed to the image of Christ now.

Conformed to His Image

Image: eikon

From 1503/eíkō, “be like” – properly, “mirror-like representation,” i.e. that which is very close in resemblance (like a “high-definition” projection, as defined by the context). Image (#1504) exactly reflects its source. For example, Christ is the very image (#1504 “supreme expression”) of the Godhead (see 2 Cor 4:4; Col 1:15). (HELPS Word-studies)

Conformed: sýmmorphos

Properly, conformed, by sharing the same inner essence-identity (form); showing similar behavior from having the same essential nature. (HELPS Word-studies)

To be conformed to the image of Christ means that the very nature of Jesus is formed within us.[i] In an actual literal way, the nature of God is infused into our hearts and we are transformed from within. Through His love and grace our hearts are entirely renewed.

It is only as we are transformed inwardly that we can begin to exactly reflect the image of Jesus outwardly. The fruit comes from the root and so in His design God looks beyond actions to the heart.[ii] He forms His nature in our hearts so that the life of Christ is revealed naturally through our word and actions.[iii] In this way, God changes us from the inside out.

Unity by Design

John 17:20-23

“I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.”

Here Jesus prays that the Father would make us one with Christ so that the world may know that the Father has sent Jesus and that He loves us in the same way that He loves Jesus.

If we took a minute to meditate on the Father’s love for Jesus, how would we describe that love? We could say that His love is consummate, perfect, intimate, intense, unfailing, unchanging, overwhelming, consuming, uniting, unbreakable, extravagant, immersive, pure and in every way beyond comprehension. Yet none of these words really do justice to the Father’s love. His love for Jesus is a reality that far exceeds the greatest love that we could ever dream of. It is the divine and eternal Love of Love.

Love for Us

In John 17, Jesus reveals that God has loved us with the same love that He has for Jesus. The all-consuming, indescribable and infinite love of the Father for the Son is the same love that the Father has for us.[iv] The Father loves us with the same intensity, passion and purity that He loves Jesus. And just as the perfect love of God demands the unity of the Father and Son, so God’s love calls us to become one with Him.[v]

1 Corinthians 6:17

But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him.

Our call to become one with Christ is a call to return to our original design. Unity with Christ is an essential aspect of living in our design for we cannot bear the image of Christ apart from Him. He is His image. We are simply designed to be living vessels of the divine nature and life of Christ. So in the same way that we can only truly love when the love of God is present within us, so we can only bear the image of Christ when we are filled with the Spirit of Jesus and we are made one with Christ.

 

This article has been taken from chapter two of the Living Image book, which is available at now Amazon and will be available on other platforms from August 2013. For more information on Living Image or to receive an email reminder when it is released in August, please contact us.

 

 


[i] 2 Peter 1:4, Romans 5:5

[ii] Matthew 7:15-19

[iii] See 2 Corinthians 5:14: the love of Christ compels us. If we have the nature of Christ within our hearts then His love will naturally compel our words and actions.

[iv] Note that the Greek word kathos is used in the phrase “You sent Me and loved them, even [kathos] as You have loved me”. Kathos means fully corresponding to (exactly); as compared to; to the extent or degree of; or in direct proportion to (see HELPS Word-studies #2531). Therefore the Father’s love for us is of the same substance, quality and depth as His love for Jesus. As hard as it may be for us to believe, the Father loves us with an incomprehensibly deep, absolutely unfailing and entirely perfect love. This love is not based on any quality found in us apart from Christ, but rather it is entirely an expression of His nature. God is love and so to be true to Himself, He must continually love.

[v] Take some time to meditate on the love of the Father for Jesus. Could it ever fail? Could it ever fade? Could the Father’s love for Jesus be anything less than an absolutely perfect and infinitely deep love? Could we ever come to understand His love? If the Father’s love for Jesus surpasses all understanding then we can dream of the greatest love we could possibly imagine and know that the love of the Father for Jesus far exceeds our dreams. His is the most perfect love.

Only as we come into a revelation of the Father’s love for Jesus can we start to appreciate His love for us. For it is the same love. It has the same depth of passion, intensity and purity. It is absolutely unfailing. There are no situations in life that could ever separate us from His love. God is always true to His essential nature of Love and His love is always set on us.

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1 Comments

1 Comment

  1. Guy

    Thank you.
    Refreshing!

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