"All things were created by God and for God." [Col 1:16]
At the risk of portraying myself as a geek, I have a confession to make. I love to study world geography in my spare time. I experience tremendous enjoyment learning about other countries and their cultures. I’ve never been enslaved to the television, the computer, the cell phone, or the iPod, but give me a book on another country, and I’m toast.
One of the things that always amazes me when studying world geography is the accompanying subject of world religions. Some countries practice Christianity, while others practice Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Shintoism, Confucianism, Taoism, and a variety of different tribal religions. A lot of ‘isms,’ a lot of religions, and a lot of gods, wouldn’t you say? Have you ever wondered why this is? Even though man is scattered all over the earth, living in different nations and experiencing different cultures, why is it that the overwhelming majority of mankind worships someone or something? What is it about man and religion that attract each other? Why this universal desire for God?
The answer to these questions can be found in Saint Paul’s epistle to the Colossian Church, in which he writes that all things were created by God and for God. What does this mean, and how does this truth tie in with the many religions that exist in the world? The answer is simple. Our Creator has placed within every human heart a desire and longing for Him. We were created for God. We were created to worship Him. We were created for communion and fellowship with Him. Religious beliefs and practices are mere expressions of the human search for God.
Unfortunately, in our search for God, the evil one often comes along and throws false substitutes into our paths and deceives us into believing that we have finally found what we were looking for. We have found what we were created for. He’ll throw anything into our paths to keep us from reaching out to the One for Whom we were truly created. These false substitutes come in a variety of forms, but they are false substitutes just the same. False religion. Wealth. Prominence. Worldly success. Human relationships. The list is endless. We go from quest to quest, relationship to relationship, experience to experience, career to career, religion to religion, town to town, goal to goal, and pursuit to pursuit, ever in search, but never finding that which we call fulfillment and happiness. This is because our Creator, who is a jealous God, will never allow those things to bring lasting peace and satisfaction to our lives. Because we were created by Him and for Him, anything that we put before that sacred purpose is doomed to bring eventual dissatisfaction to our lives. God Himself will see to this.
If all things were created by God and for God, then we have to believe that God is doing His utmost to draw men to Him. In fact, apart from that heavenly drawing, man is incapable of finding God. Jesus testified to this truth when He said, "No man can come to Me unless the Father, who sent Me, draws him." If God is drawing, how are we responding? If we do not learn how to slow down and be still, we will not even be sensitive to that drawing, and herein lies the problem. Man is ever on the go. He is in too much of a rush. He has places to go, people to see, and things to do. And because he is in such a rush and lives in a perpetual state of distraction, he mistakes that God-planted yearning for his Creator as a desire for other things. A new job. A new car. A new spouse. A new adventure. He’s content for a short while, but inevitably, that same old emptiness and feeling of unfulfillment returns, and he’s right back where he started from. Saint Augustine once said, "Our hearts are restless until they rest in God." But because we aren’t willing to slow down, stop, and truly listen to the yearnings of our heart, we keep chasing after the wind and stuffing our lives with things that are incapable of quieting and satisfying the human heart.
I want to challenge you to go off to some quiet place for a few hours in order to listen to the yearnings of your heart. Forget about what the world says you should want. Get alone with your heart, which was created for God, and listen to it. Bring a journal with you and write down your reflections. What does your heart yearn for? Truth? Unconditional love? Happiness? Only in God, who created you for His pleasure, can these things be found. If you get alone with your heart, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to discover its true desires. In that quiet time, you’ll discover that your heart isn’t yearning for new furniture, a new home, money, prominence, or a change of spouse. Your heart yearns for its Creator. Your spirit aches to be connected with the One who created you for Him. Your mind longs for peace with God, not any god, but the One True God. This is the truth which Satan is keeping millions from discovering all over the earth.
What about those who already profess to be in Christ? If all things were created by God and for God, what does this truth mean for them, since they have already come to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ? This truth serves as a wake-up call, a heavenly reminder, that God does not want to be a little part of our lives on Sunday morning. He wants to be the center of our lives 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He wants to be our reason for living and being, our every motivation, and our chief desire in life. If we are giving Him anything less than this, then we are just as ignorant of the purpose for which we were created than are those who worship foreign gods because they’ve never even heard of Christ.
How do you spend your time throughout the week? Does your lifestyle and the way in which you spend your time, talent, and treasure reflect your understanding of the true purpose for which you were created or is life all about you and what you want? If a stranger examined your life, would he be able to see in you one who fully understands what it means to be created by God and for God or would he see someone who is simply existing and going through the mundane motions of life?
Tragically, many in the Church today believe in a different philosophy than that which Saint Paul taught. They believe that they were created by God, but for self. If I believe that I was created for God, then every area of my lifestyle will reflect that understanding. If I live for self and for the world all throughout the week, yet give my Creator a mere 60 minutes at Sunday Mass and nothing more, then I have been deceived. I have been led astray by the evil one and taken captive to do his will once more.
Brothers and sisters, we are not here for ourselves. We are here for the Lord. Our time, talents, and earthly treasures are to be used for the building up of His kingdom, not our own feeble kingdoms, which are passing away and have no eternal value
In all that we do, we should be cognizant of God, doing what we do as unto Him. Are we giving our best at work because we are bucking for a promotion or because we believe that whatever we do should be done as unto the Lord? When we have an hour of free time before us, do we use it to vegetate in front of the television or do we spend that time in prayer, meditation, or doing a kind deed for another? How much of what we do all throughout the day is really for God? Is it all for us? Is it all for our employer, spouse, and children? How cognizant of God are we as we plow through our days?
When we make God the center of our lives, even the mundane activities of life become acts of holy worship. Jesus said that whatever we’ve done for others, we’ve done for Him. If our lives were created by God and for God, this truth must be demonstrated in the way we live out those lives 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
We will never reach our full potential as human beings, and we will never fulfill our God-intended destiny, unless we harness our lives to the eternal truth that we were created by God and for Him. As long as we avoid this truth, we will continue to live beneath our full potential, walking in the shadow of what might have been. When I go to my grave, I want to know that I fulfilled my Creator’s destiny for my life. I want the peace of knowing that I lived a life that was wholly centered on God and His purpose for my life.
We were put here on earth for a spiritual purpose, an eternal purpose. Our lives on earth are given to us to prepare us for life in eternity with God. If our human existence never rises above paying bills, going to work, shopping at the mall, golf on Saturdays, etc., etc., then we have entirely missed the mark regarding the purpose of life. God put us here for Him. If our lives are not centered completely around Him, then it’s time to make adjustments.
God is challenging us to look beyond the temporary things of this world which are passing away. As long as it is day, we must do the work of Him who has created us for His glory, honor, and praise. Night is coming, when we will no longer be able to work.
All things were created by God and for God. To the extent that our lives are completely centered around Him is to the extent we will fulfill the sacred purpose for which we were created.
He who has a listening ear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church.
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