In my previous post Who Are You After The War, I asked the question: Who are you after the war?
Many times we can confuse our identity as a person (the reason we are alive) with the mission we have been given by God. For example, some are called to be evangelists and they build their entire identity on saving the lost. But what will they do when everyone is saved? What will be their purpose then?
If we make our mission our identity, we are like a soldier who needs a war.
When you fight in a war, you put on the mantle of a soldier so that you–and those you love–can live a better life. Your identity–who you are and your purpose in life–should not be the same as your mission as a soldier.
Which leads to a practical question: If your mission does not determine your identity, then what does?
Continuing with the war analogy, a soldier is only a soldier when he needs to be. When soldiers are not fighting, they are being themselves. They are playing games, talking to loved ones via satellite, making jokes, and trying to extract as much joy from their lives as possible.
We’ve all seen the movies where a soldier has a picture of his wife (and kids if he has any) with him at all times. His life outside the war is why he fights. He does not forget his family, his job, his hobbies, and his life. He uses those memories, and the vision for what life will be like after the war, as his motivation to fight.
We must do the same. Even though we have a mission, our vision of what life will be like when we’ve accomplished that mission should be our motivation. And, who we are outside the war will influence how we carry out our mission.
So, who were we meant to be? For that, we need to look at the original design.
The Original Design
I believe the Book of Genesis gives 4 key to understanding our identity and the purpose of our lives
- We were made in the image of God. Basically, God created us to be like Him. What inspires Him, inspires us. We have His DNA in our cells. And what does Genesis tell us about God? He is creative. He created the universe. He is an artist. A sunset is evidence of this by itself.Since we were made to be like Him, we to carry these traits as well.
- God created us to create. Not only do we carry His DNA for creativity, but He actively cultivates it in us as well. God invited Adam to partner with Him in creating the natural world. He gave Adam the right to name all the animals. And many believe that Adam was not only influencing what the animals were called, but also their characteristics.By giving Adam influence over naming the animals, God invited Adam (humanity) to join Him in determining how the world would evolve. He asked us to help Him finish the painting.
- God created us to be productive. God told humanity to expand the garden over the whole planet. This implies that most of the planet was “wild” and uncultivated. He said, “Here’s a planet with all the raw materials you need to make something beautiful, now go and make something beautiful.”This is creative productivity. It is not toiling in the dirt (which, if you remember, was part of the curse).
- Who doesn’t take joy in building or creating something? When you stand back and look at your creation, doesn’t your heart swell with pride and joy? And what about people who retire, only to return to work a year later?
- People have an innate need to do something. We must be productive. We must create. It was written into our DNA.
- Finally, God created us to enjoy life. This is the ultimate point. All the other points fall under this one. Why did God create the world? Because it brought Him joy to do so. Why did He create children that looked and acted like Him? Because it brought Him joy.God told Adam and Eve to enjoy the fruit of the Garden. And since they were supposed to “subdue” the earth and expand the garden, this means that they were to enjoy the fruits of their creative productivity as well.
- Genesis illustrates that before sin, sickness, and death, we were created to experience joy. We were to create/build things, which brings us joy. We were to be productive, which brings us joy. And we were to eat delicious food, which brings us joy. That’s it. That is the meaning of life. It is one word: Joy.
Imagine a world with out sin, sickness, and death. There is no theft. There is no murder. There are no wars. There are no hospitals. What would people do with their daily lives?
We would create.
Artists would paint pictures and write music. Innovators would invent news ways to make life better. We would build beautiful buildings. We would have BBQs and enjoy the company of our friends and families. We would explore and push the boundaries of our limitations. Who knows, we might even expand into the stars. What if God made the entire universe to be our playground?
This is the big picture. This gives us a framework to understand why were created. But it doesn’t answer the specifics of your life. Who are you? That is a question only you and God can answer.
Most of the time you can find clues by looking inwards. What do you love doing? What makes you happy? What brings you joy?
And we must remember, God invited Adam into the creative process. God knows your heart. He can and will reveal ways for you to understand who you are.
Your Mission, Should You Choose To Accept It…
We have a mission. But who we are must underpin that mission. The love of life is why we exist, and even though we must fight now, that doesn’t mean we can’t start enjoying life at the same time. It doesn’t mean that we can’t create now. In fact, that is exactly what we are supposed to do. I believe that is part of our duty to bring Heaven to earth. We are fighting for the world we were promised. And are empowered to start living it now.
This is this picture that we must keep in our pockets as we fight. We were made to create. We were made to produce. We were made for joy. This is the world we are building.
This is the vision we must keep in the forefront of our minds. This is the life we were meant to live. This is the life we are inviting others to join. This is the reason we fight.
This is who we are after the war.
Originally published at www.seanedwards.com on April 15, 2015.
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