Summary: Speaking about a Wasted or wise life, this message calls us to examine ourselves.

The Person I’m Designed to Be

James 1:22-25

* Have you ever taken a few minutes to consider this question? “What am I really designed to be?” Think about it this way, according to Jeremiah 1:4-5, the same God who designed the entire universe is the one who formed you in your mother’s womb. (Read Jer. 1:4-5) This thought is both incredible and sobering. For me, there are times when I wonder if God needs to do a ‘recall’ on his design? Actually, one of my goals for life is to become what my creator had in mind when He created me.

* In this room we have many who have discovered what God designed you to be vocationally, professionally, and even in service. Not everyone can lead a community as an elected official, not everyone has the makeup which allows them to serve and protect the community by facing danger, and not everyone has the know how to serve the many ways you serve. These are the skills for which God has given us the aptitude to develop. However, whether a preacher, fireman, policeman, mayor, lawyer, or doctor, the question becomes: “Is this all that I am designed to be?” The answer is no.

* In our original design, we have been made in the image of Jehovah God, given the innate desire and ability to know God, and do what He wants us to do. It is in this way that we discover real, authentic, exciting, eye-popping life. So the question is ‘How do we do this’, ‘how do we become all that God wants us to be?’ Turn with me to James 1:22-25.

* Contained in these verses of scripture are words which always catch my attention. The word “doer” leads the list because, by nature, I am a ‘doer.’ Another word which catches my attention is “listener” (because my wife expects me to listen). The concept of a mirror is a little frightening while the concept of ‘forgetful’ hits a little too close to home. The serious fear for me in found in the words “deceiving yourselves” because it is so easily to be self-deceived. It is a rare person who voluntarily evaluates themselves to see themselves in light of the larger truth. Without evaluation, deception is easy.

* The last line in this passage has my attention. A blessed life is God’s desire for each of us. From this slither of God’s word, we can discover the life that is not worth living as well as the life that is worth living.

1. The Wasted Life – There are many different ways to waste a life. Addictions which are not confronted bad habits which are not broken, attitudes which tear down, along with a myriad of other things; all work together to form & fashion a life that never completes his/her design. A lawnmower is designed to cut grass and a boat is designed for use on the water. Can you imagine investing in a mower or boat only to sit & look at them?

a. A Foolish Person – is a person who chooses to make up his own rules for life. He may listen to what other people and the Bible says, but the truth is ‘he knows best.’ In fact, this person questions whether god even exists.

The Person I’m designed to be – Pg 2

* Psalms 14:1 says, “The fool says in his heart, "God does not exist." Jesus taught that the foolish man built his house on the foundation of sand. The person who sets their own standards, makes up their own rules, and lives by their own code is a person who is foolish because they have, by their actions said, “There is no God.” When you live only by rules you make, you get what you are capable of. When you live only by the rules of society, you get what society can give. When you live only by the rules set forth by God, you will get what only God can give. Don’t be a foolish person.

b. A Forgetful Person – Most of the time we read these verses in this way, “He is like a man who looks in a mirror, goes away, and forgets what he looks like.” (Sometimes forgetfulness is good!) What this person forgets is that ‘he/she is just as human as the next person.’ The Bible teaches that we are all sinners and that no one is without sin. It is an easy thing to forget my sin while looking in judgment on another person who has sinned. Think about it this way; the mirrors in Bible days were not as polish as ours are today. In fact, if I were to take a dull finished metal pot & use it to see my reflection this would be similar to the image they saw. Why is this important? If we used a bad mirror, we will get a flawed image & impression. That type of understanding will lead us to forget what we are when left to ourselves.

c. A Fruitless Person – is a person who, at the end of his/her life, has nothing of eternal consequence to show for it. A popular but untrue belief is; ‘he who dies with the most toys win.’ When a person is laying on their death bed, knowing that their life is soon ending, they are interested in more than ‘how much money is in the bank’ ‘how many houses and cars I own’, and/or ‘how bad my neighbor treated me 20 years ago.’ When faced with our own mortality, what lies beyond the grave comes squarely into view. Nelson Rockefeller left all his money, Saddam Hussein left his country in a mangled state, Jim Jones left the legacy of 900+ bodies strewn around Jamestown, and Ted Bundy left a trail of dead young ladies and torn up family. These were fruitless, foolish, and forgetful lives that were wasted.

* Simply put as wasted life is one that puts all their eggs in the basket of time instead of eternity. Jesus said, “Lay not treasure on earth where moth and rust corrode and where thieves break in & steal, but layup treasures in heaven where none of those things are possible.” By the way, when we want to know where our treasure is, Jesus gives the word, “Wherever you heart is, that is where your treasure lies.”

* Paul follows with these words, “If we have hope ONLY in this life, we are of all men, most miserable.” Please know this; God did not design any one of us to live a wasted life. In fact, Jesus came to earth, was crucified, and rose from the dead to deliver us from a wasted life.

The Person I’m designed to be – Pg 3

2. The Wise Life – This is the time to remember Jesus’ contrast between the wise man and the foolish man. The foolish man built his house on the sand. Candidly, someone has to tell him that the sand wouldn’t hold up the structure, but he receive that counsel and made a fatal mistake which wasted a life. Many times people waste their lives even though they know better. Mother, Daddy, Family members, and more have told them & they heard but they didn’t ‘listen.’ The writer of Proverbs says that the man who refuses counsel will fail. However, the wise man hears, receives & responds.

a. The Focused Person – does at least these three things; He listens, He learns, and He looks. He listens to the voices of counsel which begins with God. If I want to be the person God designed me to be, I have to listen to Him. When I do this, I will fulfill the purpose He gave to me. God has both a plan & a purpose for every person. When I listen to God as my master teacher I will know what HE wants me to do. This is not about church attendance (although attendance is a part of a person who loves God), this is about being focused on discovery God’s will or design for your life. How does this happen? When I listen to His voice, learn His purpose, and then I will look into His perfect law of freedom. Here is where the disinformation comes; we have come to believe that giving our lives to the Lord leads us into a type of bondage which is similar to jail time. Yet, people who are outside of the Lord (and not in jail) are experiencing bondage to things like drugs, immorality (which lead to std’s), which lead to broken relationships, which by definition gives birth to a broken heart. And the list goes on and one.

* In this room today we have many focused people. You don’t get to be Mayor, Police Chief, or on the City Council by not being focused. By the way, being focused means (no disrespect intended) doing what it takes to gain the confidence of the people to be chosen for these jobs. A wise life that will become the person they are designed to be is one who is focused on the design and designer’s intent. What are you focused on today?

b. The Faithful Person – is the one who lives above the fray. This is the person who lives not by HIS OWN standard but by a higher standard. This is the person who realizes (in his wisdom) that ‘there is a God and I’m not Him.”

* I have a friend in another state who wanted nothing to do with the Lord. He would attend services from time to time just to appease his family or me, but it would obvious that he didn’t have time for or need for God in his life. He was focused on whatever he wanted to focus on. What I noticed was this: when it was time to make a big decision for his daughter or son, he tried to make it based on what he thought &/or how he felt at the time. His standard was just that – HIS, and was forever seemingly changing. Today, his family inexplicably has disintegrated. The wise & faithful person is the one who lives by a higher standard.

The Person I’m designed to be – Pg 4

* The Faithful person has a heart that is strong. How many times have you and I heard the phrase, “He has a good heart.” Yet, the Bible tells us that outside of God, the heart is deceitful above all things. Truthfully, the heart cannot necessarily be trusted. On TV I have heard that the heart wants what the heart wants. As selfish and sinful as that sounds, it is true. It was the heart of Eve in the Garden of Eden that led her astray. She let her eyes rest on the fruit, let her mind determine it is good, and with her heart – she gave herself permission to disobey God. We all are born with this kind of heart so how do we become what we should be with a heart like this? Hold that thought and I return to it in just a second. The faithful person not only lives by a higher standard and a heart that is strong, but also has a hope that is sure. That sounds like an oxymoron. How can HOPE be sure? The hope we talk about on earth is a hope that offers not certainty. There is a hope that is sure! This hope is found in the person of Jesus Christ. When He rose from the grave on that first Easter morning, it was a statement that nothing and no one can keep Him down, out, back or away. The wise person knows this because He has found his hope in Jesus.

c. The Fruitful Person – Now we’re talking! Everybody wants to be fruitful! We plant gardens, trees, bushes, and more with the expectation of fruit. Realizing that I don’t want to waste my life and that I really want to be the real deal of producing fruit, how does this happen? Three suggestions;

1) Act on God’s Word – So what exactly does God’s word say to me? God does not show partiality, He begins at the same place with everyone. First be a listener: Every one sins and thus is a sinner (no exceptions). When we sin, it offends the holy nature of God. What is sin? It is anything which displeases God. The bible tells us that the payment for sin is death, but that the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Then we are told to repent of our sin, believe on the Lord Jesus, and we will be saved. Saved from what, you may ask? We are saved from a wasted life, we are saved to a full life, and we are saved to an eternity with the Lord.

2) Accept God’s Role – God’s role is to teach us about this life which He has given us. In His word, He gives us instruction about life, marriage, kids, relationship, love, pride, and more. By the way, He is not an absentee God, but sends to us a friend which is His Spirit to become our helper, teacher, and conscious. Can you imagine the difference in our country, county, community, culture, and church if all would listen to the Father?

3) Availability to God – God’s design is not for us simply to sit and soak up His word; we are called to be doers. Now, we must get the first steps right to do right and become the person He designed us to be. We must be available to Him. That boat & mower that I talked about earlier both look good brand new in the garage & on the trailer, but that’s not what they were designed to do. What are you designed for?