The Bible says you were created in the very image of God. But what does that really mean? The answer can change your life.
[Steve] What is life all about? Is there a reason for your existence?
With all our technology and sophistication, we still haven't answered the most basic question of life. On this special edition of Beyond Today, we'll join Gary Petty at a seminar where he addresses that very topic.
Now as we begin today's program, we also have a unique free offer for you: What is Your Destiny? This valuable study aid will help you discover the answer that has been available for centuries but unknown to most.
Request your own copy by calling toll free: 1-888-886-8632. Or go online to BeyondToday.tv to download, read or order your own copy of What is Your Destiny? Call us any time during this program.
Now can you answer that question? Stay tuned to Beyond Today as we join Gary Petty at a special seminar to help you understand: "Why Were You Born?"
[Announcer] Join our host Gary Petty and his guests, as they help you understand your future on Beyond Today!
[Steve] Why were you born?
>> Why was I born?
> Because my mom and dad decided it was time to have a baby.
>> Why was I born? That's a heck of a question.
> I don't know.
>> To populate the world, whatever I don't know.
> Because my mother and father had a roll in the sack.
[Steve] Why were you born?
> I guess, I guess it was fate.
>> Oh wow.
> Because my parents planned me. I think.
[Gary] You have a higher purpose. And most people never figure out what it is. We're going to talk about that tonight and I guarantee you it is going to be a little bit more exact than the man who said, well was it because my parents planned me, I think? It will be a little bit more exact than that.
I want to share with you two things tonight that had a profound effect on my life and how I answer that question. One is a book I read many many years ago. And another is an event that happened in my life that I will talk about at the end just a few years ago.
The book I read was Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. Now some of you may have read that book. Man's Search for Meaning explains Viktor Frankl's experience as a psychiatrist in Austria in the 1930s - one of the most famous psychiatrists in the whole world. And Viktor Frankl had a house. He had a famous career. He had money. He had a wife. He had kids. He had everything that people want and he felt like he was a success. He felt happy. Viktor Frankl was Jewish.
One day the German soldiers came to his home and kicked in the door and took he and his family out and put them in box cars and took them to a concentration camp. And Viktor Frankl talks about what happened in his life as he lost his wife and his parents and basically everybody he knew. His career, being a famous doctor didn't mean anything to anybody. He was a nobody. In fact, he was a man with no clothes, all his hair gone and a number tattooed on his arm. And that's all he was - was a number. He survived for years in various concentration camps. He explains that in his experience what happened, how nine men forced to sleep in a bed less than 10 feet wide.
Eating food that there was so little of it that within a short period of time he looked like bones with skin on it. He went through a horrible, horrible time. And during that time period he began to study what was it about certain people that helped them survive longer.
There were two things. One were people who were driven by hatred. People driven by hatred and bitterness. And the other were people who discovered they had a higher purpose. They survived longer and for those who actually survived the war had a different viewpoint of life afterwards. Instead of being filled with hatred and bitterness, they had a different viewpoint.
So the people who came out of those situations, with a higher purpose that somehow during that experience answered to some way that question, why was I born? It's like the ancient Hebrew prophet who said, "Why did I come forth from the womb to see labor and sorrow that my days should be consumed with shame?" (Jeremiah 10:18)
This question was asked a long time ago. In fact, it is the most asked question in the history of humanity. Three great questions: Is there a god? Why was I born? What happens to me when I die?
We don't like to admit it but deep inside every one of us in our psyche is some kind of emptiness that we want filled. There's something in there that's missing and we know it. So what we want to do tonight, we want to give you something to start a conversation with God. I'm going to read to you a couple verses from Genesis chapter 1.
I mean we're starting at the very beginning of the book, where it says that God said, "Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness. let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth" (Genesis 1:26). Now listen to this, cause this is real important. "So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them" (Genesis 1:27).
What does it mean to be made in the image of God? We're going to talk about some ways that you are I are in the image of God because we're not... It doesn't matter what evolutions says. Evolution cannot answer this question. You and I are totally different than any other creation on this earth. That's where we start. That's where we start.
Now, the first way - we're talking about a few ways we're different but we're like God. The first way is you and I have freewill. You and I have the ability to make decisions. We wrestle with moral decisions. If you ever asked a question why am I here, I can guarantee there are times in your life where you struggle with moral questions.
You and I have something else. We have the ability to reason. You can take the smartest chimpanzees and it is amazing how smart chimpanzees are. And you can't get any of them to start a book club.
The gulf between us and our reasoning power and any other animal can only be explained in that you are I are different than any other animal. And it starts with understanding Genesis.
There's a lot more to it. Remember we're just opening the door. That's all we're trying to do. Another way that you are I are different than other animals, you and I have emotions like empathy and love. I'm talking about the positive emotions here. The idea of self-sacrifice. How many times are we just moved when we read about a mother who sacrifices herself for a child, or a soldier who throws himself on a grenade for somebody else. They sacrificed themselves for somebody else.
These kinds of concepts are not animalistic. Creativity is a remarkable ability. I have a daughter that is studying to be architect. Now what she does is she gets out her computer and she puts in lines and numbers from something that's in her head. And she prints out a blueprint. Now if any of you have ever seen a blueprint, to me it is lines and numbers. She takes that blueprint which represents something that is in her head and she gives it to somebody and goes out and builds a building that looks just like what was in her head.
You know, beavers build dams. No beaver has ever built the Hoover Dam. You can't compare. You can't compare.
And then one last reason I want to talk about tonight is we are created to be relationship beings. Most of the most wonderful experiences you have in life is in relationships. And most of those terrible experiences you have in life are in relationships, right?
You and I were designed to have a relationship with God and there's where all the problems come from. Where is our relationship with God? Because the reason you ask the question why was I born is because inside the core of your being, your thought process, your emotional process you are dealing with what is my relationship with my Creator?
Now, we're beginning to open that door a little bit. We're beginning to move towards something that is very exciting that we need to know - very simple, very exciting. We were made in the image of God. Why were we made in the image of God?
Why did God go through all the trouble to do this? Why did God go through all the trouble of making you and me? Humanity. For all these centuries the mess we've made of this. Why did He do this?
You know we started in Genesis. I'm not going to read too many scriptures. I have a few. We start at the beginning. I want to go clear to the end - the book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible. Because in the last book of the Bible, there is an image, a vision that the apostle John got that lets him see just a little bit of what the distant future is and the purpose for humanity.
In Revelation 21, this vision of the new heaven and new earth. And in verse 2, he talks about how he sees Jerusalem, a holy city of God, the throne of God coming to this earth. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There shall be no more death nor sorrow nor crying. There shall be no more pain for the former things have passed away, that he who sat on the throne said behold I make all things new." He says to John, "write for these words are true and faithful. And he says, it is done. I am the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end and I will give of the fountain of water of life freely to him who thirsts" (Revelation 21:2-6).
We are made in the image of God. We live in this messed up world and then He has this future He says you can have. Why? And in verse 7 He tells us why."He who overcomes shall inherit all things and I will be his God and he will be my son." (Revelation 21:7).
Do you know why God made human beings? God wants children. Now I want you to think about that a minute. Think of a Being that created the universe. Think of the Being that created a hummingbird. Think of a Being with that much power and that much intelligence and why would He put up with us? Because He wants children.
We made a mess of the playroom but we're still His children. That is why God made all of us. Well that's a simple concept, no, no, no. It changes everything!
If you understand that you were created in the image of God, very limited image of God so that you can receive His future He wants for you to be His child, to be in His family. Now when I say to be His child, that doesn't mean to be like a little child. No, I have three grown children that are adults. I loved having children. I love having adults. I like my grandkids, but it's nice to have these adults.
When God says He wants children He doesn't want little babies forever. He wants children. You know what children have with parents? A relationship. Some of you out there never had a relationship with your parents and you know that still hurts. I don't care how old you are. That still hurts you. See we were designed to have a relationship with our Father and with Jesus Christ who is our Brother. And when we don't have it, it hurts. And that pain drives humanity to do all kinds of horrible things.
We're doing horrible things all the time because we have not dealt with a core issue that we were designed to be in the image of God, to have a relationship with Him and with His Son, Jesus Christ. And once we begin to understand that, it really should change everything in your life.
In fact, the apostle John talks about this. "Behold what manner of love the father has bestowed on us that we should be called the children of God."
Therefore, the world did not know us because it did not know Him, now we are the children of god. And it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when he is revealed we shall be like him for we shall see him as he is" (1 John 3:1-2).
That means you can have a relationship with God right now and it's personal, a personal relationship with God. It's a struggle. I mean you don't see Him, right? It's a struggle to have a relationship with God now as we try to break through our limitations but you are in the image of God. That means you have inside you, in your mind, the ability to have a relationship with God, because that's the way He made you.
So it's not an impossible thing. It's not always easy for us to do but it's not an impossible thing. You can have a personal relationship with God now if you know His future. You can be His child now. And it's amazing if you go through the Scripture, the privileges that come with being a child of God; the help, the comfort, the guidance of being in a relationship with God.
And then it says, we will be like Him. Now people ask what does that mean? And my answer is I don't know. I can only sort of guess.
Paul in 1 Corinthians 15, he says in the resurrection - now this is the basis of Christianity. All Christianity has to have this basis or it's not Christianity. Jesus Christ is the son of God who came to this earth to die for our sins and be resurrected, and that He is coming back to resurrect His saints.
And in 1 Corinthians 15, he says, Paul says, "what will we be like in the resurrection?" He said well, it's like the difference between the moon and the sun. You know what's amazing about that statement? He didn't have the scientific knowledge you and I have. You know what the moon is, we know it's a rock! The sun is a giant ball of energy. Paul says, all I know is we are like the moon now and we will be like the sun. And what the apostle Paul says we will see God as He is because we will be like Him. In other words, we won't be physical anymore. The important thing is now it has to mean something now.
This has to mean something now! It has to change your life now. We are now called to be the children of God.
You know I remember as a child maybe 12 years old - walking into a hardware store. And a man walked up to me and said, well you're Grover Petty's grandson aren't you? Yeah. You look like him, you talk like him, you act like him. He said I would have known you any place. My granddad had been dead for quite a while.
To be a Christian is to look like God, to walk like God, to talk like God. Where people say you - you're different. God is personal. It's important for us to understand how personal God is. How personal He wants to have a relationship with you.
We start with prayer. We start with going into the Scripture. We start by letting Him build this relationship towards that future. Towards that future. If you grasp that future, there is only one conclusion you can come to and that is authentic Christianity, authentic Christianity is not a tepid half-hearted, immoral, part-time religious feeling. That's not what it is.
Authentic Christianity is your Creator coming into your life and changing you so that you are prepared for your original purpose. Your original purpose at the moment you were conceived, your original purpose is to be His child in His family forever!
What real Christianity is about, it's giving everything, when I say everything I mean everything - it's holding nothing back. It's giving everything you are so that God can give you everything He wants to give you.
It's about us giving everything we are to become a child, so that He can give us - and when I say everything, that's what it says in the Scripture. It's interesting, the apostle Paul says that what God gives us is love, power and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). Love, power, sound mind. Now think about that a minute. Do you really think that new boat is going to fill that void? Is that what's going to fix this? It might fix it for 10 minutes until the prop goes down or you get some seaweed wrapped around it. Love, power and a sound mind - that fills the void. Love.
It's amazing, Viktor Frankl discovered in a concentration camp that the greatest thing that human beings can do is love others. How do you find that in a concentration camp, where he found it?
Love, not only being in love, loving others but being loved - loved by God.
Power - that power to deal with life and all its craziness. It's insanity. The deal with the problems we have.
And a sound mind. Once again I won't ask for a show of hands, but it's a pretty anxious world you and I love in. To have this power from God that helps us deal with suffering and helps us deal with our own inner flaws. Aren't you tired of dealing with the same destructive behavior over and over again?
A Christianity that says it's okay, God loves you, continue to hurt yourself. Doesn't recognize… I mean how many of us would tell our children okay we love you, go ahead and run out in the traffic. But people think that's where Christianity is, God loves you so you can do whatever you want. God loves you and He wants us to stop hurting ourselves!
You're called, you and I. You and I were born, we were born to be victorious. You and I were born to fulfill our original purpose. And it's an eternal purpose. It's to be a child of God in His Kingdom forever.
Genuine Christianity is about transformation. It's about giving everything you are in order to receive everything God will give to you. You and I were born to embrace a new life. To be reconciled to God the Father. To accept a priceless gift that we cannot earn. You and I were born to receive incredible spiritual power from God described in the Bible as love, power and a sound mind. You and I were born to be victorious. To have the power to overcome the suffering and problems of this life. You and I were born to fulfill our original purpose, an eternal purpose, to be children forever in the Kingdom of God. Take steps in your life now to realize your purpose and your potential.
[Gary] Viktor Frankl had lost his purpose and he had given up. And there he was a man who had lost everything including his life's work. He had sewn his life's work, a book into his jacket, and they took his jacket. He had nothing. And so he was scrounging around and getting clothes from people who had been taken to the gas chamber, to try to put clothes on. And he reached in the pocket of a jacket and he pulled out - this old torn up coat - and he pulled out a little scrap of paper. And he looked at the scrap of paper and what was on it was a prayer.
And that's when Viktor Frankl said he realized he had to live what he believed. In a concentration camp, having lost everything, a scrap of paper with a prayer on it made him realize, I have to live this! He wasn't Christian. He was a Jewish man.
Basically in the end, he came to the realization - his whole means of psychology was you got to learn to love god and love your neighbor. Sounds an awful lot like Jesus. A scrap of paper with a prayer.
God has a purpose for you. It's personal. It has to do with you as a person. It has to do with who you are as a child of His. A unique child of His. Don't throw this opportunity away. Learn what life is really all about. Be willing to give everything to receive everything that God wants to give you. And by living God's purpose for your life you will finally understand why was I born.
[Steve] We all want to find meaning in our lives. Have you found that reason for being? You were created for a wonderful reason, but do you understand what that great purpose is?
We have a special booklet designed to make it easier for you to unlock a proper understanding of your life today and what lies ahead for you tomorrow. It's called: What is Your Destiny?
You can request this free study aid by calling: 1-888-886-8632. Or go online to BeyondToday.tv to download, read or order your copy, What is Your Destiny?
Remember that authentic Christianity is more than just a belief in Jesus. Isn't it time for something more than just a temporary religious emotional fix - something that can satisfy that spiritual hunger that's deep inside you. Find out how you can fulfill your purpose - the one that's found in the pages of your Bible.
Now's the time to recognize God's guidance and direction in your life so you can truly answer the question: "Why Were You Born?"
Thanks for joining us. Be sure and tell your family and friends about us and tune in again next week, at this same time, for another edition of Beyond Today. I'm Steve Myers. Thanks for watching.
[Announcer] For the free literature offered on today's program, go online to BeyondToday.tv. Please join us again next week on Beyond Today!