Created: We Are Loved
Do you ever experience a sense of longing deep within your being? We can tell something exists which we desire. We sense we are incomplete without it. My first instinct when I think of myself as needing something, as being incomplete, as having desires and longings, is to think that there must be something not right with me. To need seems like weakness and weakness is not good. And if something is not right or good, then ultimately it must be a result of messing up.
God created us with need. We are created with desire, a mysterious hunger for a united inner life and heart, for belonging to God. He designed us this way so we would know how wanted we are by Him. To be a perfect human person is to not be self–sustaining. Our longings for beauty and love exist because we are created in God’s image, for union with God. We are made for another and for others. In love, God designed us to be satisfied when we choose Him.
So God created humans in His own image; God patterned them after Himself; male and female He created them. … And so it was. Then God looked over all He had made, and He saw that it was very good” (Genesis 1:27, 31).
Consider: Have you sensed a desire to know that the One who created you loves you? Do you recall a time when you felt close to God?
Condition: We Are Hungry
At the beginning of creation, we were designed for dependence and incompleteness. God placed into the fabric of our being a need for Him. He is our true source of life and satisfaction. But with our freedom we choose to oversee our own lives instead of acknowledging that we belong to Him. We try to satisfy ourselves our own way. We hunger for wholeness and love and sense our emptiness and need. But we often seek to fill it with popularity, security, sex, control, material things, power, entertainment, money and pleasure. This leads to our destruction and brokenness, because it separates us from the only One who can give us true life. Independent of God we live in a fog. Focusing on ourselves, we are starved for meaning. Darkness and chaos lie over every part of our lives.
Isaiah 44:20-21 (NLT) says: ”The poor, deluded fool feeds on ashes. He is trusting something that can give him no help at all. Yet he cannot bring himself to ask, ‘Is this thing, this idol that I’m holding in my hand, a lie?’ Pay attention, O people, for you are mine. I, the LORD, made you, and I will not forget to help you. I have swept away your sins like the morning mists. I have scattered your offenses like the clouds. Oh, return to Me, for I have paid the price to set you free.”
Consider: Where have you looked for satisfaction? Have you found lasting meaning in it?
Character of God: Moved with Mercy
God is perfectly compassionate and righteous. Our willful separation from Him has resulted in ruining our lives. This breaks His heart. God is Love. His nature is to always be more concerned with our welfare than His own, so He reaches into this realm of our existence with light and truth. Delivering us from our confusion, pain and fear is not too difficult for Him. He can restore all of creation to its rightful state. He makes all things new. God wants every person to know Him and to live in intimate friendship with Him so that His dream for our lives can be realized. Throughout history God has called everyone to come to Him so that He can rescue us. He takes away our fear and gives us hope and a future with Him forever.
Exodus 34:6,7: “I am the LORD, I am the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in loving-kindness and truth; Who keeps loving-kindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin.”
Isaiah 55:1–5: “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; And you who have no money, Come buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk. Without money and without price. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And let your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live.”
Consider: Do you believe it’s possible that God, the creator of the universe, desires intimate friendship with you? Have you sensed that He does have a dream for your life?
Cure: God Has Come
Our destruction through our own choices moves God to action. The human condition is so thoroughly tragic that to rescue us God Himself had to become a human person. His name is Jesus Christ. As God and human, He lived human life as He created it to be lived. Then He died sacrificially, taking our deserved judgment on Himself and taking our place. There is a price to be paid for rebellion. Only the death of Jesus was worthy of the cost. His death has the power to remove our guilt and cleanse us. He rose from the dead and is alive, giving us victory over self-centeredness and death. God can re-create us to be the human persons He always intended that we should be. When we belong completely to Jesus we become a member of His family. His Spirit will dwell in us transforming us to have His character of goodness and love.
Romans 5:8 (NLT): “God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.”
Colossians 1:13-23 (NLT): ”For He has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom with His blood and forgave our sins. Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth…Everything was created through Him and for Him. He existed before anything else, and He holds all creation together. Christ is also the head of the church, which is His body … For God in all His fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. This includes you who were once far away from God. You were His enemies, separated from Him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now He has reconciled you to Himself through the death of Christ in His physical body. As a result, He has brought you into His own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before Him without a single fault.”
John 3:16 (NLT): “God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”
The Choice Is Ours: Will We Surrender?
Would you like to be whole and find deep joy in Jesus? He wants to satisfy your hunger with real life. Are you in a fog, starved for meaning in your life? Give yourself to Him! Entrust your whole life to Him with all your heart. Turn away from the idea that you can own any part of your life for yourself, without Him. Surrender everything you are to the One who knows you perfectly and loves you with an everlasting love. Ask Him to forgive you for acting like you are the god of your life, and for all the things you’ve done and been that have been hurtful or wrong. He will forgive, cleanse and transform you. Jesus will rescue you from destruction and restore and guide you. He will give you His life, with strength and wisdom to walk in His ways. When your life on earth is over, you will continue in this wonderful life with Him forever. Will you call out to Him?
Matthew 16:24-26 (NLT): “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow Me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for My sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?’”
Confess in Prayer
Oh, Father God in heaven, thank You for pursuing me with Your heart of love, for desiring to rescue me so much that You gave Your only Son for me. Jesus, God the Son, thank You for taking human nature upon You so that You could live, suffer, bleed and die the death that I deserved. Thank You for caring more about me than You do about Yourself. I surrender my life to You, my God. You created me and I belong to You.
I confess my rebellion against You, living as if I were god of my life. I’ve brought brokenness into my life by separating myself from You. I confess my sin of _______________, and all the ways I’ve been selfish and hurtful. Please forgive me, remove my sin and guilt, and take me for Your very own. Take away my self–centeredness and evil ways.
God the Holy Spirit, cleanse my mind and heart so that I can live in a way that is pleasing to You, and be a means of good for others. Help me to live intimately with You, day by day.
In the saving Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.
Psalm 32 (NLT): “Oh, what joy for those rebellion is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty! When I refused to confess my sin, I was weak and miserable, and I groaned all day long. Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. Finally, I confessed all my sins to You and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, ‘I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.’ And You forgave me! All my guilt is gone. Therefore, let all the godly confess their rebellion to You while there is still time, that they may not drown in the floodwaters of judgment. For You are my hiding place; You protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of victory. The Lord says, ‘I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.’ Many sorrows come to the wicked, but unfailing love surrounds those who trust the Lord. So rejoice in the Lord and be glad, all you who obey Him! Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure!”
Connect: Others with God in Community
There is a multitude of people around the world who have given their lives to Jesus and He has taken hold of them to be His very own. This is called the Church. Remember, God created us to be in relationship with Him and with others. Only by living in close community with people who know Jesus will you be able to keep living in His life. We must consistently read the Bible, talk with God, and willingly obey Him. Christian friends will help us understand the Bible, which is the way God makes Himself known. The Church helps us to be able to obey the Bible’s teachings and to walk with Jesus. Life is very hard for all of us and Christian community offers deep relationship with people who will pray for us and never leave us alone.
The Salvation Army is a Christian community. We invite you into relationship with others who will help you in your new life; and where you can help others do the same.
Ephesians 3:14-21 (NLT): “When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit. Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to Him in the Church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.