Read an Excerpt
Right Foot ForwardHow-to Guide for Seriously Lighthearted Christians
By Steve Halliday
Warner FaithCopyright © 2005 Steve Halliday
All right reserved.
Chapter OneDestined for Greatness
All of us want to get the most out of life. We want to experience the best life has to offer-and that should go for our faith, too.
Did you know God wants the same thing? He wants us to enjoy the best He has to offer. Jesus told His first followers, "My purpose is to give life in all its fullness" (John 10:10). What a promise: life in all its fullness! Have you come close to enjoying "life in all its fullness"? Would you like to?
To give ourselves the best chance of experiencing life in all its fullness, however, we have to prepare for it. And the best way to do that is to get a firm grip on how a life with Jesus Christ is supposed to work.
Some of us struggle for years in our spiritual life for one simple reason: we never fully understand who God made us to be. That's why we find it so hard to come up with good answers to three crucial questions:
Who am I?
Why am I here?
What does God have in mind for me?
Without solid, practical answers to these vital questions, some of us shuffle through life without any firm direction, fearful that nothing we do truly matters andunsure that our existence has any real meaning at all.
What a difference it makes when we hear clearly from God Himself, explaining to us who we are, why He put us here, and what He has in mind for us!
Right at the very beginning of His book, the Bible, God tells us an astonishing fact about our true identity. Unlike any of the other creatures He made, He created human beings in His own image (see Genesis 1:27). He created all men and women, boys and girls-regardless of race, nationality, color, family background, height, weight, language, personal abilities, social standing, or anything else-to resemble Himself in some very important ways. None of us are God, of course, but as people made in His image, we reflect who He is on many amazing levels.
This fact is so important that the Bible repeatedly reminds us that every one of us is made in God's image. For example, when the Bible describes the first human "family tree," it begins by saying, "When God created people, he made them in the likeness of God" (Genesis 5:1). Why is murder such a terrible crime? Because "to kill a person is to kill a living being made in God's image" (Genesis 9:6). And even to curse others is a serious mistake, because they "have been made in the image of God" (James 3:9).
So what does the Bible mean when it says you are made in the image of God? Whatever it is, it distinguishes you from dogs and cats and monkeys and snakes and all other animals.
Most important, it means you have the privilege of modeling for others what God is like. When people look at you, God wants them to get some idea of His character, His goodness, and His love. He made you to be a walking advertisement for Himself!
You could never be a walking billboard for God, however, if God hadn't equipped you with one very special trait: your spirit. The Bible does not say you are made in the image of God because you physically look like God. That would be impossible, for God does not have and never has had a physical body. In fact, the Bible makes it clear that God is a spirit (see Genesis 1:2; John 4:24). Therefore, when God created the first human, Adam, He created him uniquely as a spiritual being. Certainly, Adam had a physical body; but more important, God created him with a spirit. Why? So he could connect with God on an intimate level, something out of reach for the other creatures God had made.
Think about that! You, like God, are in essence a spiritual being. That means you have the power to relate to and interact with God on a deeply personal level. God never calls the animals His sons and daughters, but He often uses such family-oriented terms to describe us. And because both we and God are spiritual beings, the Bible can say things like, "His Holy Spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts and tells us that we are God's children" (Romans 8:16). And that isn't all!
God made us to resemble Him in other important ways, too. In Genesis 1:26, God says the people He created "will be masters over all life-the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the livestock, wild animals, and small animals."
God wanted Adam to rule over creation in a way that reflects how He Himself rules over it: lovingly, thoughtfully, carefully, wisely. God placed Adam in a fabulous spot we know as the Garden of Eden and put him in charge of it, to "tend and care for it" (Genesis 2:15). In his role as master of this new world, Adam had lots of choices to make. And what Adam decided had far-reaching ramifications for the entire creation.
So what does this mean for you?
It means that God has given you-as someone made in His image-the power to make life-altering choices. Your decisions can either benefit or harm both you and the creation around you. The words "But I didn't have any choice!" should almost never come out of your mouth, because as a person made in God's image, you have been given the awesome power to choose.
Do you consider yourself a creative person? If you're like most people, you probably don't-but you really should! Because you are made in God's image, God built large doses of creativity into your very genes.
Adam proved that God had made him "in His image" when he exercised his tremendous creativity. The Bible says, "the Lord God formed from the soil every kind of animal and bird. He brought them to Adam to see what he would call them, and Adam chose a name for each one. He gave names to all the livestock, birds, and wild animals" (Genesis 2:19, 20, emphasis added). How many kinds of animals existed at the time Adam made his appearance in the world? Who knows? But however many there were, Adam named each one-a feat of tremendous creativity!
That same reservoir of creativity lies within you as a person made in the image of God. Too many people sell themselves short and so never reach the potential God has put into them. As a person made in God's image, you have a creative side that can astonish both you and others ... if you let it.
As staggering as this is, however, it doesn't convey the full wonder of who you are and why you're here. In fact, God had something even more amazing in mind when He created you.
Did you know that God has chosen to permanently connect Himself and His future to you and your destiny? To "all who claim me as their God," the Lord says, "I have made them for my glory" (Isaiah 43:7).
God created you for His glory! He designed you to be a living advertisement of His wisdom and power and brilliance and love. If you claim the God of the Bible as your God, then you belong to Him. You are His. You are called by His name. And it's a big deal to belong to God and to be called by His name.
Psalm 138:2 (NIV) tells us that God has "exalted above all things" His name and His word. Nothing is more important to God than the glory of His name-and He has called you by that name! For this reason, it makes a huge difference to God what happens to you and how you represent Him on earth. His own glory is at stake in you.
In the Bible, glory is a big deal. But what is it, exactly?
Glory is grandeur, splendor, honor, fame. Glory is what you see when a brilliant sun rises over majestic mountaintops to reveal a gorgeous, green valley fed by a roaring, sparkling river, with spectacular fields of multicolored flowers crowding its wide banks. If glory has a favorite word, it's "Wow!" (Although at its peak, it usually inspires a stunned reverence and awed silence.)
Glory is the Bible's shorthand way of spotlighting the indescribable majesty and perfection of God. God wants the whole world to see and stand amazed at His glory (see Exodus 33:18-12; 34:3-7; 1 Chronicles 16:24-25; 29:11; Isaiah 66:18-19)-and, unlikely as it may seem, He has chosen you as one of the primary channels for displaying His glory to the world.
Okay-but how can this Bible fact be of any practical use to you in your own spiritual growth?
For one thing, because you are created for God's glory, your life has ultimate meaning. All of us go through dark periods when we feel inconsequential, insignificant, overlooked, ignored, rejected. Yet despite what we may feel at these discouraging or lonely times of life, God assures us that He sees our situation, that He cares deeply for us, and that He is even now taking steps to bring us into a fabulous future.
When we begin to feel worthless or that our lives don't count for much, we often start to act in ways that look exactly the opposite of who God created us to be. Especially in these times, we need to remember that because God made us for His glory, all of our actions and desires and hopes carry enormous significance.
This is why Paul wrote, "Whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do, you must do all for the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31). Can you brush your teeth to the glory of God? Why not? A still-quoted British preacher of the nineteenth century, Charles Spurgeon, once insisted that he could smoke an occasional cigar to the glory of God. He meant that when you live your whole life to make a big deal of God, even little things that don't seem the least bit "religious" point to His grace, love, and grandeur.
Because you were made for God's glory, even your "insignificant" actions carry consequences far greater than you know. So don't forget! God "called you to salvation" so that "now you can share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Thessalonians 2:14).
But there's one even greater reason why you ought to wake up happy each morning that God created you for His glory. God has an awesome future in mind for you.
When God thinks of the future, He thinks of you. When He plans for heaven, He plans for you. Why? Because He has decided to merge your future with His own.
Because you were created for God's glory and your destiny is permanently merged with God's, the Bible can say of you (and of all Christians), "Since we are his children, we will share his Treasures-for everything God gives to his Son, Christ, is ours, too" (Romans 8:17). If you have placed your faith in Jesus, you are a co-heir with Christ, whom the Bible calls "the Lord of glory" (1 Corinthians 2:8 NIV).
None of us can even begin to picture the amazing future God has in store for all those whom He created for His glory. So the Bible reminds us, "what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will give us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are" (Romans 8:18-19). And that's why we can say, "our present troubles are quite small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever!" (2 Corinthians 4:17).
Excerpted from Right Foot Forward by Steve Halliday Copyright ©2005 by Steve Halliday. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.