I am still on the subject of understanding who I am by revelation, according to the Bible, the manual of Heaven's Inc., the company that produced me.
When it comes to manuals, the most common mistake many people make is to buy a product, assume that they know how to assemble and operate it without referring to the manual. I have done that many times and most likely you have done it. Haven't you? We tend to get back to the manual when things aren't working because we have made a mistake or have reached a dead end. Many times we use the manual only as reference book.
Unfortunately, many times we import this attitude towards spiritual things.Many people use, and continue to use, the same approach towards the greatest product ever made in the universe - that is you and me. Once we are born, we start living out our lives without ever consulting our Makers 'manual' to know who we are, where we came from, and what is our purpose. All the information most people know about themselves is what other people have told them or what they themselves have figured out. To live without consulting your Maker's manual, the Bible, is to assume that you know like Him or even better than Him. The Swahili people call this, "Ujuaji," little knowledge which can be very dangerous.
Most new products would include a manual inside (mostly on top of the product once you open the box), and with a warning: "Please don't attempt to open this product without reading the manual." Similarly, our Maker's manual has a warning regarding using us without reading the manual. It's found in Joshua 1:8, "Do not let this book of the law depart from your mouth. Meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written it. Then you will be prosperous and successful."
There is a great danger of using a product without the maker's instructions. If you do so, most likely you will end up misusing, under-using, overusing, abusing, or confusing it. That's what happens, for example, with your body. The Bible teaches us that our bodies belong to God and are to be used for His glory (For instance: 1 Cor. 6:12b ' . . . yet the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body'). However, if you don't have that knowledge and you refuse to live by it, you will end up either abusing your body or misusing it - whether your own body or other people's. When you live for yourself, for your gratification, you are not living according to the manual and are actually misusing your body.
By the way, be very careful which source or manual you use. There are many so called 'manuals' out there claiming to be the Maker's manual but are actually false. Only the Bible is the true manual. Be also careful with getting your information from third parties (like retailers or street vendors) who might misrepresent the true revelation. Third parties manuals includes some aspects of education that contradicts the Maker's manual. For example, someone observed the following about the various disciplines that easily shape what we think and believe about ourselves:
For example, Psychology, he observed, tells you that you are a creature formed by heredity and environment, that everything is determined by these factors. Therefore, you are where you were born.
Likewise, Sociology teaches that everything is determined by the group, that is, the collective rules. Therefore, you are who you are around.
What about Philosophy? Philosophy will tell you that you are a thinking animal. The mind is what makes you unique. Therefore, you are what you think.
Additionally, Materialism says that you are a portion of matter, a collection of molecules. Therefore, you are what you eat.
Lastly, Existentialism, he observed, will tell you that you are what you make yourself to be. Therefore, you are what you do. (Source unknown).
On the other hand, contrary to all these, the Bible, the only true manual, tells you that you are a very special creature, created in the image of God and for a purpose; and therefore you are what God says you are.
(Now please understand that I am not against education but the use of learning to contradict revelation. For really what is education? Isn't it learning the very facts and laws that the Maker created? It follows then that proper understanding and interpretation of these laws CANNOT contradict spiritual laws because they were made by the same Mind - God).
From here onward therefore, we will go by our Creator's revelation - our Creator's manual, the Bible.
In Psalms 8:3-9, David says, "When I consider Your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have ordained, what is man that you take thought of him? And the son of man that you care for him? Yet you made him a little lower that the angels, and you crowned him with glory and majesty!"
That's a good question that David asked and which has been around for many years. What is man, that is, you and me, that God would think of, especially in light of the enormity of the universe? This question should be even more relevant today because of the increase in scientific knowledge about how vast the universe is. Think about this - the Milky Way by itself has about 400 billion stars and there are other galaxies bigger than Milky Way with over 100 trillion stars. And, by 2013, there were over 200 billion known galaxies. This is mind-boggling. In light of these, what is man really that God should think of?
The Message translation put's it this way: "I look up at your macro skies, dark and enormous, your hand-made sky-jewelry, moon and starts mounted in settings. Then I look at my micro-self and wonder, why do you bother with us? Why take a second look?"
The VOICE translation is even more remarkable: ". . . I can't help but wonder why you care about mortals - sons and daughters of men - specks of dust floating about Cosmos."
What is man that God should think of?
There are two things that make man, you and me, very special creatures, very unique, even above angels:
1. Man is Created in the Image of God
Creation (the heavens and the earth) shows the glory of God (Psalms 19:1), but only man is created in the image of God. Amazingly, even angels, powerful and as holy as they are, are not created in the image of God. Only man is created in the image of God. We read in Psalms 8:5, "You have made him a little lower than divine beings." Some versions say a little lower than angels, and others a little lower than God. The differences come from the Hebrew word used, "Elohim," which basically means divine beings. In other words, man is made a little lower than God or divine beings. One translation puts it this way, ". . . yet we've so narrowly missed being Gods, bright with Eden's dawn glory." (MSG).
The whole point here is that man, being the only one in the image of God, is very special to God. A lot of that honor and glory was removed due to the fall into sin, but, even with that, man is still special to God. When God looks at man (and mainly before the fall into sin), He sees Himself, His image. Now, who doesn't want to see his or her image? That's why God loves and values man. That's why God doesn't want any man to perish (1 Pet 3:9) - and has provided for a way that the original image can be restored through Jesus Christ. That's why God's mind is full of man. We read in Psalms 8:4, "What is man that you are mindful of him . . ." God is mindful of you and me. When someone is mindful of another it means their mind is full of that person. Same with God. His mind is full of you and me.
The lyrics of that old song, "In the Garden" still capture this truth very well, "And He walks with me and He talks with me and He tells me I am His own. And the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known."
When you see man, you see the image of God, though in a distorted way due to sin. The Bible says that we need to respect, value, and love man because in him is the image of God. We read in James 4:9-10, "With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse man, who is made in the image of God. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be so." It should not be. There is no way you can claim to love God but don't like people, His image bearers.
Some people say they don't want to go to church because they can't stand the Christians in there. They claim that many are hypocrites. They say they would rather deal with God only because He is holy and good, unlike men or Christians. But listen to John who is even more more forthright about this. We read in 1 John 4:20, "Whoever claims to love God yet hates his brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen." And, there is a period there.
When Jesus was asked what was the greatest commandment, he replied, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself." (Matt 22:37-39). Notice Jesus was asked about the greatest commandment, not commandment(s). He was asked of one but He gave two, or two in one. Why? Because you can't separate them. Man is very special and valuable to God and you can't love one and hate the other.
2. Man is Created for Intimacy With God
When God created man in Genesis 2:7, we read that He breathed in man's nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being. God did not speak out or command out the breath ( I believe He could have. He did that in Ezekiel's vision of dry bones - Ezekiel 37). Nor did He make the breath but literally breathed His own breath into man. My friend, that's intimacy - sharing breath with someone else! Actually sharing your very whole being with someone else. That's one thing God and man shares - breath or Spirit. No wonder Paul said , "In Him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28).
That's why man's spirit will not and cannot die. The body, which was made from the earth, will die but the spirit will live forever because it cannot die.
The point I am trying to make though is that man, you and me, have the breath of God. When you combine breath and image, then you see not only why man is so special to God but also that he is very close, intimate, with God. Man was created for intimacy and fellowship with God.That's why God used to visit man in the garden of Eden (Gen 3:8-10) to fellowship with him, not because God needs fellowship but because man needs it, and because it was God's plan. Man (you and me) is healthy when he is in fellowship with God.
When Adam sinned and fled the presence of God, God came out calling Adam. He called out, "Adam, where are you . . ." (Gen 3:9), not as a police officer looking for faults to give out a ticket, but as a loving father looking for fellowship to restore. And from that day onward, God started the process of redemption through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ, to redeem what man had lost at the garden of Eden. This was fully realized at the cross of Calvary by the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. By the cross and faith in Jesus Christ, we are not only forgiven our sins and restored to God, we receive the Holy Spirit, the very breath of God indwells us. The Holy Spirit regenerates our dead spirits (dead to God) so that we can be fully alive and walk and live with God forever.
If you happen to read this article and you haven't been restored to God through faith in Jesus Christ, you can do so by visiting www.dfichurch.com or www.dfichurchfredrick.org and contacting me for prayer.