What is man?

Written by Charles Ekong


Out walking last weekend, I saw a Boeing 747 approaching a runway. It was a stunning sight. I marvel at the audacious ingenuity it took to put a 380-ton object with human beings in the sky and keep it there safely for several hours. Humankind has also gone to the moon, a celestial object 250 thousand miles away, and come back in one piece. There are space missions like the Voyager programme exploring the heavens beyond our Solar System. Even in my lifetime, there have been multiple advances in medicine, engineering, information technology and so on because of the ingenuity of several men and women dedicated to pushing the boundaries of what was possible.

Today, some scientists postulate that we use between ten and fifteen percent of our brain capacity and that over ninety percent of our genes are dormant. Considering what humanity continues to achieve, it’s astounding to think we’re collectively operating far beneath our potential. Conversely, when you read what the Bible says about God and humankind, it’s unsurprising that an infinite God would create any less. The first pages of the Bible unequivocally state that God created man (male and female) in His image and likeness to dominate the rest of His creation [Genesis 1:26]. So, it’s no wonder we exhibit His characteristics like ingenuity. If the corruption of sin didn’t exist, our capacity to do good would be marvellous to behold. But sadly, we still have incurable diseases, poverty, disasters and crises fuelled by greed and lust, wars and other ills plaguing our world.

It’s a shame that many of us don’t see ourselves how God sees us. If we could comprehend the truth that the God who created and continues to sustain the universe – the seen and unseen [Colossians 1:16], thought we were worth dying for, insecurity would seize to exist. By the way, don’t let the collective ‘we’ obscure the fact that He would’ve still died for you even if you were the only person on earth. Yes, He loves each of us that much, and when that truth melds with His desire to see us flourish, it explains our latent penchant for greatness [Genesis 1:28]. I meet very few people who view themselves this way, and the ones that do are self-assured in their knowledge of how much God loves them, and they typically excel in their endeavours by any reasonable measure. Part of my life’s goal is to see myself how God sees me consistently, and as you may attest, that’s exceptionally difficult some days.

I’ve come to realise that Satan actively fights our journey of self-discovery. He often employs doubt, distractions and deceit to lure us into living beneath or apart from God’s desire for our lives [2 Corinthians 4:4]. But God isn’t passive to his schemes. Through His word and the Holy Spirit in us, He has provided all we need to overcome the works of darkness and flourish [Romans 8, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, 1 John 5:4-5]. Humankind’s ultimate temptation remains a choice between obeying God and living His way, or doing things our way. Our accomplishments, despite sin, speak to the remarkable potential God placed in us at creation. The devil, a thief, a murderer and a destroyer, knows we can be so much more, but do we? Do we settle for pursuing mundane material things that never truly satisfy our deepest longings when God, in Christ Jesus, is offering us His kingdom with all its benefits in this life and the next? 

Even a casual reader of the Bible will agree that God is incredibly invested in human beings. That’s truly humbling when you consider that He is infinitely self-sufficient and requires nothing from us. Maybe that revelation compelled David to ask: “What is man (humankind) that Your mind is full of him; the son of man that you care for him?” [Psalm 8:4]. Sadly, many of us wonder what God and others see in us. We belittle ourselves because we can’t imagine our existence making a difference to anyone. We shrink our dreams and aspirations to match our circumstances rather than boldly reach out for the seemingly improbable. We listen to the devil’s insidious lies that amplify our weaknesses and failings over our potential and the love and power of God. Worst of all, we place limitations on ourselves that God never put on us, and they become self-fulfilling prophecies.

But we have a choice: We can see ourselves as God sees us, believe all He says about us and aspire to attain the unimaginable while curiously seeking to explore the depths of what the Holy Spirit can accomplish through us. I was sharing my 747 experience with a friend, and she remarked that everything humankind needed to build a plane was already in us and on the earth at creation. How many more inventions and solutions are latent within us? Imagine a world where we all discover and manifest what God has in store for us [1 Corinthians 2:9]. I believe that should be a Christian’s utmost pursuit, especially when we understand that God has the best possible plan for each of us [Jeremiah 29:11], uniquely tailored to the talents He placed in us. Moreover, when we submit to Him, and those talents are allied with His purposes, we find peace, success and contentment too. Invariably, the world also becomes a better place because of us.

What is man? God’s beloved [Romans 5:8]; God’s masterpiece [Ephesians 2:10]; one equipped for life and godliness, and capable of the impossible with God [2 Peter 1:3, Luke 1:37] and the one He desires to spend eternity with [Revelation 21:3-4]. You’re special [Psalm 139:13-14, Zephaniah 3:17], and God can transform your life into a marvel, irrespective of its present state, if it’s surrendered to Him. So, Reject any ideology attempting to place a limitation on you at odds with God’s word.

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