In preparing for a sermon I gave on my December trip to Ecuador with Leadership Resources, I had my world rocked by one of the most familiar texts of Scripture: Genesis 1:1-2:3. Even though I had read this passage dozens of times before and could still picture the Sunday school flannel graphs from my childhood, familiarity blinded me to amazing truths Genesis 1 presents.
Familiarity can be a killer in both Bible reading and teaching.
Thankfully, as I dove head first into my prayerful exegesis of this passage, God revealed amazing truth to me, stirring my heart. There’s a lot I can share from this passage, but I will share the one truth that has impacted me the most:
God is the central figure in the creation story.
God created the heavens and the earth by merely opening His mouth. During days one through six of creation, God created the heavens, the earth, made light, the sea and sky, and filled His beautiful creation with plants, animals, lights and luminaries, and the pinnacle of His creation, man, whom He made in His own image. While God’s conclusion for His work days 1-5 was to declare His work “good” (Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 25), the conclusion for the day God made man was “very good” (Genesis 1:31, emphasis added).
Unfortunately since the fall of man, we are sinful and corrupt God’s great creation by putting ourselves at the center of the story instead of giving God His proper place.The New Testament reveals that Jesus Christ is the creator of all things. Speaking of Christ, Colossians 1:16 reminds us who is at the center of the story:
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.
You were created by Jesus Christ and for Jesus Christ. Your purpose in life is totally wrapped up in who Jesus Christ is and what He has done for you.
Yet, if you’re like me, your life can quickly become wrapped up in your own interests and pursuits instead of our Creator. I liked how, Michael Horton describes this tendency in Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church,
There is a tendency to make God a supporting character in our own life movie rather than to be rewritten as new characters in God’s drama of redemption.
When you think of telling the story of your life, what role does God have? Is He a small, supporting character that can fade into the background and easily be forgotten, or is He the most important person and influence in your life? How would your life’s movie look if Christ wasn’t in it? Drastically different? The same?
Living a Christ-centered life is not easy. The default setting of my heart is to put myself on the throne of my life instead of putting God on the throne, His proper place. This tendency even weaves its way into ministry. I like to think about who I have touched, what I have done for God, or what I will do for God instead of remembering what He has done for me and that my life is all about Him.
And when I forget my purpose in God’s greater story, I lose sight of my purpose on earth. Michael Horton diagnoses this problem and prescribes the remedy:
When we try to fit God into our life movie, the plot is all wrong–and not just wrong, but trivial. When we are pulled out of our own drama and cast as characters in his unfolding plot, we become part of the greatest story ever told. It is through God’s Word of judgment (law) and salvation (gospel) that we are transferred from our own pointless scripts and inserted into the grand narrative that revolves around Jesus Christ.
When we are tempted to care too much about ourselves, our busy schedules, our relationships, and even our suffering, we must remember the gospel. We must remember that God created the world and everything in it for Himself and that our lives find their purpose in Him.
We must cling to the historical facts of the life, death, and resurrection of our Living Savior and know that by God’s grace we play a small role in the greatest story ever told of God reconciling sinful humanity to Himself through His Son Jesus Christ.
Only by remembering our part in God’s Great Story will we enter the rest that we were created for that God modeled on creation’s seventh day. This rest and the peace God provides will fill our hearts with thankfulness and energy to live out our God-given purposes here on earth for His glory.