Why is this Important?
When we don’t know why we are born or why we exist, it stops us from living the fullness of our life. Our focus is distracted, we prioritize things that aren’t important, and we give ourselves to relationships that could be ultimately destructive versus edifying and advancing the kingdom of God and bringing us closer to Jesus.
The goal of this teaching is to bring a biblical understanding of what God has in store for us? What are the purposes and promises that God has for us as we look to him as creator and our father as well?
Jeremiah and God’s Hope
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:11-13)
There are major words here that we want to look at and phrases that will really help us identify God’s heart for our purposes and the promises that he has laid out in the Bible.
God’s promises and knowing the will of God from the biblical perspective and where they are in scripture is important because those are things that we can have confidence in and stand on. If we don’t know what’s written in the Word of God, and we don’t know what God promises us, then we’re always going to fall victim to our own opinion. When we fall victim to our own opinion, we become anxious, worried, stressed out and start leaning into our character immaturities and vices, addictions, depression, isolation, etc.
The more we understand these promises and the more we understand who God is, the more confident and more stable we will be as we continue our life with Jesus. We also won’t be victimized to little spurts of following God for three months, six months, one year, and then fall back into our sin. We will be rooted and grounded in the Word of God, and we will be able to finish the race of faith well, just as Apostle Paul declared.
I know the plans I have for you – When we look at ‘I know the plans I have for you,’ we have to see that this is from the perspective of God. That’s important because we know that it’s not the perspective of somebody that changes. The Bible makes it clear that God is the beginning and the end, and he never changes. While his emotions are real and our relationship with him is alive, God’s character is eternal; therefore, we know that what he states in the following verses will be part of his character that will never change.
Unlike if we keep our reliance on a significant other, parent, friend, community movement, etc., then it will change when they change. All of us have fallen into sin, meaning that all of us fall short of the glory of God and the righteousness of Jesus; therefore, we cannot let our foundation be built on someone that is unstable, like all of us. The only way that we can build a solid foundation is by who God is.
Plans for welfare and not evil – When God says ‘welfare and not evil,’ he is saying that our greatest good is what his desire is. When we look at what evil is, it’s to destroy the purposes of God. Since the devil is out to destroy God’s will, which means everything that is good, that means that he is out to destroy everything that is good in our life. When the devil comes to destroy anything that’s good in our life, it’s in every category of our life; for example, categories such as:
The devil doesn’t want 2% of our lives destroyed or 50% of our lives destroyed; he wants 100% of our lives destroyed, which is the exact opposite of how much God wants our life to be in the abundance of his will and his goodness.
Future and hope – ‘Future and hope’ means that regardless of where we start from, the ending is always better. We can always know that the future and hope that God has for us is going to be better than where we start. God has a plan for us. He’s destined us to be a certain way. He’s put gifts inside of us. He’s put skills inside our DNA that we’ll have a higher aptitude for, and he also knows where we’re coming from and where we are going. We can always rest assured that God has a good future that is filled with hope for us. Anytime we feel like our future is negative and we are hopeless, we know that it’s an attack from the enemy.
Then you will call on me – This is speaking about the response that we have with God. The response that we have with God requires that we are going to call upon him, and it states, ‘and pray to him.’
When we call and pray to him, we need to seek him with all of our hearts, meaning that we can’t expect God to respond to us if he is our second priority. We can’t expect God to respond to us if we have other idols in our life. We can’t expect God to respond to us if relationships with another person are more important to us than Jesus. It says here that we will hear from God if we seek him with our whole heart. He will respond to us if we are fully given over to him.
My Rock Bottom
I was introduced to Jesus at a very young age. My mother showed me the Left Behind Series, and my sister and I were weeping and crying that we wouldn’t be left behind. That night, I prayed with my mother and my sister to accept Jesus into my life and as my Lord and Savior and forgive me for my sins. I was about eight years old.
I didn’t fully surrender my life to God until I hit rock bottom. My parents were going through a divorce, my sister was in an abusive relationship, and I became addicted to drugs at the age of 14. I joined a gang very shortly after that, and by the age of 17, my goal was to kill so many people that by the age of 21, I would be dead or locked up in prison for life.
I still held a lot of pride in my life. It took me having to move to the Philippines for a fake vacation that my parents told me I was having. When I arrived, they took away my passport, and they told me that I wouldn’t leave until I changed my life. I began selling drugs there, running around with local gangs, and I even went back to crystal meth in the Philippines. I started robbing people again. It wasn’t until one night that I decided to fully follow Jesus and give up everything, and that’s when I heard him for the first time.
God can tell what is inside our hearts. God can see when we have faith, even if it looks like we don’t to other people. God saw inside my heart that there was faith there and that I was finally looking for him. God will also see when you are looking for him, and there is true faith inside you as well. Our response can be to wholeheartedly follow God from the beginning.
Following God wholeheartedly is not about understanding God. Wholehearted love to Jesus isn’t about logic, it also isn’t about where we come from. Following God wholeheartedly is all about faith. Faith is an invisible attribute, and it surpasses all understanding, meaning that faith is a spiritual capital that we have with God; it’s eternal. When we have faith, God will hear our prayers, but if we’re filled with doubt, then he won’t hear us.
Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” (Psalms 139:13-14)
For you formed my inward parts, you knitted me in my mother’s womb – This means that before we were born in our physical form, God already imagined who we were. Even before we were an embryo inside our mother’s womb, God knew who we were. God was already pleased with who we were before we were even conceived.
Regardless of how we were conceived, or if there was sin between our mother and father, or there was sin in our situation, it doesn’t change how God looks at us and how God loves us. Just as we know that God loves us and cares for us and has a future and a hope for us, in Jeremiah, we also know that this way that God looks at us is the same way God looked at us before we were born. We can always rest assured that God loves us because God loves us even before we did anything.
This means that we don’t have to ever feel like we have to earn God’s love; it’s by God’s grace alone that he chose us, and it’s by God’s love alone that he decided to love us. There’s nothing in our own power we can do to make God love us more. For us to mature into the fullness God has for us, we have to know this reality very well. David said, my soul knows very well how much God loves me. Do we know very well how much we are fearfully and wonderfully made? How do we know it? What is fearfully and wonderfully made even mean? Let’s look at the words.
God Loves Us, Even if Our Circumstance Don’t
We can often fall victim to believing our identity is based on the way that our parents see us. In a majority of circumstances around the world, our parents aren’t going to reflect the perfect image of God’s love. Often, our parents and our family will reflect dysfunction, abuse, trauma, sadness, brokenness, sickness, and more. These aren’t the traits that God wants us to define ourselves. These traits come from the fall of mankind with Adam and Eve. This is a sinful nature that has come from the beginning of Genesis, but the redemption that God has for us isn’t the legacy of the sin that Adam gave to us. The legacy that God gave to us, as he redeems us, is that he fully loves us.
It says in the Bible that God is love. Since God is love, all he can do towards us is love. Even when God brings judgment and wrath, it’s to destroy what is hindering perfect love.
Our major point of life isn’t to simply live for this age. Our ultimate call in life is to be prepared and live in eternity with Jesus; that is what eternity is. Either we live for eternity in love with Jesus, which is love because God is love, or we live in eternity without loving Jesus, which is essentially where hell will be, where there is none of God’s love.
God will ultimately give us to what we choose, and he will never force us to choose to love him back. When God created mankind, he already loved us. He decided to make us because that’s what love does, it’s a relationship; therefore, God made a relationship with us. However, because it’s love, it requires a voluntary love back. But the love that God requires from us isn’t from dysfunction or brokenness that he has because God is perfect, unlike our parents or our family. We know that God is perfect; therefore, if we love him perfectly, that is justice, and that is how he meant us to live. That is also the way that he wanted us to live our identity.
In the passive form, the word expresses the idea of being feared, held in esteem: God was feared and awesome (Exo 15:11; Psa 130:4); His deeds were awe-inspiring (Deu 10:21; 2Sa 7:23) (Word Study)
We were made with great reverence and thought. We were not flippantly put together with a great margin of error and mistake. Before we were even conceived, God greatly loved us and put thought into us.
Why do bad things happen if God cared so much about me? While God designed us, the world is still being fully restored until the return of Jesus Christ. We are called to be the salt and light wherever we go and with whatever we are doing, but sin is still corrupting the planet since Adam and Eve.
God didn’t save us so we can remain as slaves to be our past or our circumstances. He saved us, so we can be fully set free from the grip of the enemy and be a light to the entire world of God’s love.
Do we really know we are fearfully made? We can often think that the way our parents see us is the way God sees us. What the closest people to us say about us is often what we think of when we think about how we are.
When we begin noticing that our thoughts are negative, destructive thoughts, we have to replace them with God’s good thoughts about us. When we have thoughts of worthlessness, we have to replace them with thoughts that God made us fearfully and reverently.
A primitive root; to distinguish (literally or figuratively): – put a difference, show marvelous, separate, set apart, sever, make wonderfully.
Each of us is unique and marvelous. The devil wants us to believe that we are not because his major purpose is to destroy and corrupt the perfect work of God. We can sometimes be mistaken by the enemies’ lies.
Comparison is also a great destroyer of joy for our unique design in Jesus. Comparisons make us count who we are as unworthy or disgusting, while uniqueness allows us to find joy in who God is and how he created us wonderfully.
It can take on the sense of being wonderful or amazingly constructed (Psa 139:14).
Our very design is wonderful to Jesus, not just in this life but in the next age – eternity. What has been corrupted by sin in this temporal age will be fully redeemed in perfection the next age. However, after salvation, God enables us to see, by his grace, who we were intended to be. We need to identify any false assumptions or identities in our lives we have about ourselves.
My soul knows it
It’s part of our walk with Jesus to know how much he loves us and has a plan for us. Our soul encompasses our emotions, feelings, and knowing that God loves us.
David always asks God to search his heart, as it says in the Psalms. We also voluntarily must allow God to search our hearts. When we allow God to search our hearts, we don’t do it because we know that he’s going to judge us. We do it because we know he’s a loving father.
In Hebrews, it says that we don’t like discipline when we first get it, but later on, we see that it’s good for us. God disciplines us, and that’s the mark of a true child, that’s the mark of true adoption is that we are disciplined by our parents.
We have to understand that when God disciplines us, it’s another way of saying that he is maturing us. Discipline is the process of perfection. Perfection in Greek means ‘fully matured or fully whole.’ God prepares us so that we can fully walk in the future and the hope of our calling that he has placed inside of us.
When we don’t allow God to discipline and mature us, we are always taking what’s second, third, or fourth best for us. God is the one that has made us; therefore, God knows what is best for us. God is the actual definition of love. Love in Greek is ‘Agape.’ Love to the world may be something else; it could be immoral, it could just be simply friendship, family, etc., but the love of God always thinks about the highest good for us.
Love in the world can often be selfish, it can always be about me. Even when love is sensual, a lot of times it’s about me, it’s not about the other person. That’s why marriages are broken across the church and the world. Marriage requires humility and sacrifice, but worldly love doesn’t like humility, and it doesn’t like sacrifice. Worldly love is about me. Godly love, Agape, is about loving the other person; that is what the discipline of God looks like. It looks like us growing for the greater good of us.
We have to be able to search our hearts to see if there’s anything inside our lives that presents God in a way that isn’t how the Bible talks about God. In other words, we could think God is disciplining us like an imperfect leader or an imperfect parent when in reality, that’s not God. Let’s take time to pray and ask the Lord, are there any lies that we believed about who God is, and is there any place that we need to repent on how God actually is, as it says in the Bible?