IDENTITY: Who We Are and Why We Are Here–
A Journey of Discovery

 By Colleen Donahue

Part 3 – We Are Unique and Valuable – but Broken




  1. How does King David describe the creation of himself?
    Psalm 139:14

He speaks for all of us in that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. None of us were an accident. Quite the opposite. We are a one-of-a-kind, original masterpiece with miles of DNA coded specific to you and to me. No other person will ever be like you or me because when God made us, He broke the mold. That in itself makes you and I invaluable ---- like a walking miracle.

2. As we have already seen, we did not make ourselves.
Psalm 100:3

3. It was a brilliant, creative God who very intentionally designed and crafted us.
Psalm 139:13

4. God lovingly chose our parents, our race, our gender, and even the country we would be born in. He didn’t overlook a single detail.
Acts 17:26

5. And what was God’s purpose in this?
Acts 17:27

6. Yet, instead of embracing our unique design and thanking God for it, many of us have been disgruntled with His choices and arguing with Him. Doesn’t God as the Creator have the right to do whatever He wants? Does He owe any of us an explanation?
Isaiah 64:8 / Jeremiah 18:1-6

7. We are unqualified to argue with our Maker.
Isaiah 29:16 / Isaiah 45:9-10 / Romans 9:20-21 / Ephesians 2:10

8. What happens to the people who choose to be resistant and ungrateful for God’s choices concerning our life?
Romans 1:20-22

Those who think they know better than God end up as fools with minds that become dark and confused.


……that we were conceived as a product of fornication or adultery.
Regardless of the circumstances, God planned for us even if we weren’t “man-planned”.
Jeremiah 29:11

….. but I was born with a handicap. We might view special needs as a mistake, but not God. He has a purpose in everything. We see this clearly in a man who was born blind. Why had God allowed his blindness?
John 9:1-3

10. When Moses showed insecurity about his speech impediment, God asked him two questions.
Exodus 4:11-12

11. So, would a loving Creator make someone deaf, or blind, or mute? According to Exodus 14:11 He does. Therefore, people with special needs are all part of His big plan.

12. In the case of Moses’ speech impediment, it taught him to rely fully upon God. What was the result?
Numbers 12:3

13. Normally God might speak to people through prophets who had a vision or a dream. But with Moses how was God able to speak?
Numbers 12:8

The impediment Moses lamented over, actually set him up to stay very close to God and therefore to be used mightily by Him.

……but I was born into a crazy, dysfunctional family! Surely God didn’t plan this?

God knows that because of our first parent’s disastrous choice to sin and live independent from God --- we are all broken people living in a broken world. This means our family – even the best of them – are less than ideal. But God is the perfect weaver. The underside of the tapestry of your life might look messy, but the topside has become a beautiful picture.

14. There is a wonderful picture of God turning family dysfunction into glory for Himself in the life of Joseph.
Read first: Genesis 37:1-11

Did you see some of the dysfunction?
-Joseph is a tattle-tale on his brothers
-Jacob shows favoritism to Joseph creating hatred in the other brothers
-Joseph unwisely sharing dreams he had, creating more hatred
-Jealousy amongst the brothers towards Joseph

15. What was the treachery of Joseph’s brothers that landed Joseph in Egypt?
Genesis 37:18-35

16. And once in Egypt, who does Joseph get sold to?
Genesis 37:36

17. While in captivity, Joseph stayed close to the Lord and the Lord stayed close to Joseph. God met him where he was and raised him to the second highest place in the land.
Genesis 39:1-6

18. Joseph’s time in Egypt was full of twists and turns, many seeming to be bad. But behind it all was God’s purpose to save not only Joseph’s family but all of Israel as well. In time, it became apparent that God even turns evil into good!
Genesis 50:19-21

We can invite God into our dysfunctional family situations and thank Him that He can weave something beautiful in the midst of the chaos.

God wanted to make you, you and me, me. He wants to bless us AND the entire world through us. His design for you and me is purposeful and good in every way. Therefore, we can trust that He knows what He is doing.

19. So, what should we do with this knowledge of our unique, purposeful design? The same as King David did:
Psalm 139:13-18 (especially verse 14)

We trust, thank, and worship God for the gift of our unique life and then move forward in confidence and assurance into it –- doing it in partnership with God!

20. We need to land in a grateful place, knowing our days are not random but carefully planned.
Psalm 95:6-7 / Isaiah 43:1-7 / John 1:1-4




21. The complexity of creation shows an ingenious God with incredible creativity. First came the light sky, the land, the seas, the plants, the trees, the sun, the moon, and the stars. Once the environment was complete, He made a grand assortment of flying, swimming, walking, and crawling animal life. But the crowing glory of all this creativity was man and woman. What made us different from all the other animal life?
Genesis 1:26-27

Being made in the image and likeness of God means that men and women look like, sound like, and are like God at the very core of their being. God fully intended that we would reflect his attributes, represent Him with authority in this world, and relate to Him and others in an intimate, intelligent way.

22. Besides being made in God’s image and likeness, Genesis 1:26 mentions a second way that man is different from all creation.
Reread Genesis 1:26

23. Scripture affirms that we (mankind) were made just a little lower than God and his angels and that it’s you and I who have been given dominion (or rulership) over the rest of God’s creation.
Psalm 8:4-6 / Hebrews 2:5-8

24. While animals operate in an instinctive, self-preservation mode, man has the ability to develop, manage, and govern God’s creation. We were made to be kings and queens over our area of the world. And the first prototype for this kingdom living started with Adam and Eve. What was God’s commission to them as they lived in the Garden of Eden?
Genesis 2:15

25. In other words, the work God gave Adam and Eve was to watch over and manage what was in the garden. Their rulership (stewardship or management) was the purpose of their lives in partnership with God. God’s vision of work, and our thoughts about work are vastly different as King Solomon discovered. What did God want work to be for us?
Ecclesiastes 2:24-25

So, the first two ways that we are extremely valuable is being made in God’s image and likeness and then having ruling capacity to take care of everything else God made.

But there are other indications in scripture about how valuable we are as well……

26. The life of even one person is so valuable that there is a consequence for killing another person (which animals never face).  What is that consequence?
Genesis 9:5-6

27. Even to curse another person is wrong. Why?
James 3:9

28. Man is the only type of creature God made that has relational abilities. We can have intimate and intelligent relationship with God, other people, and even ourselves.
Genesis 2:18, 23-24 / John 17:20-23

29. Animals are wonderful, but only men and women can worship God, love Him and love one another.
1 John 4:15-16


30. Then we know that only man has a conscience. This is God’s internal, moral compass that He puts within all of us so that we can do the right thing. This conscience is so important that Jesus died to make it clean.
Hebrews 9:13-14

In contrast, your dog can bite your neighbor and show absolutely no remorse at all!

31. We are made to represent God here on earth. What title does God give us for this function?
2 Corinthians 5:20

An ambassador represents his nation in a foreign country. And all ambassadors carry out the express will and wishes of his government. His personal opinion means nothing. You and I are here on earth to represent the Kingdom of God. We live to make sure God’s will is carried out in the realm we are assigned to on earth

32. Animals operate by instinct, but God prepares in advance the works that you and I were created to do.
Ephesians 2:10

33. And when we do them and complete them, we actually bring Him much glory.
John 17:4

I hope you can see why every one of us is extremely valuable to God. But why do we often feel just the opposite?




If God made everything so good and man to be the most valuable of all creation, why don’t we feel this way?

34. The Apostle Paul summarizes the answer in one verse:
Romans 5:12

Had there been no sin there would have been no sickness or death. There would have been no need for the “good news plan” of the gospel that brought God to earth as Jesus. That’s because we would not have needed to be redeemed and restored to the way that God originally made us.

Everyone born comes into an imperfect and broken world with an inherited sin nature that just naturally causes us to sin and keep sinning. Every person eventually adds to the chaos that sin created and continues to create.

35. You can see what a mess God has been left with. He loves us dearly and has provided a way to restore us through Jesus --- if we will choose the way of redemption. But He’s done more than that. Since He is our Creator, He has expressed his will to us through the Bible. Since He has designed our bodies and the universe we live in, He knows best how we should relate to Him, to other people, and to ourselves. The historical record of the Bible holds the blueprint and copyright on all things concerning LIFE. Therefore, we should trust and follow it if we are to fulfill God’s purpose for our life.
2 Timothy 3:16-17

36. As you read the verses in this psalm, make a list of what King David discovered were the benefits of following God’s Word.
Psalm 19:7-11

37. God created us with great care and in his image so that we could walk with Him through life. But He knew from the beginning the tendency we have to do things our own way WITHOUT Him. The Bible calls this sin and what does all sin eventually lead to?
Romans 6:23a

38. We are biological children of a sinful family tree.
Romans 5:17a

39. In other words, we don’t arrive with a clean slate. We already have within us a natural tendency to be selfish, to resist, and to rebel
Ephesians 2:1-3

40. This is why from God’s perspective there is no one who is righteous – not even one!
Romans 3:10-12,23

41. In God’s eyes, sin is a universal, worldwide problem. If you don’t believe that, just watch the news. What do you see? Story upon story has the elements of tragedy, ungodliness, lawlessness, and lies. Or, consider this – children never need to be taught how to lie, whine, steal, throw temper tantrums or rebel. That all comes naturally.
Romans 7:14-15

42. Don’t confuse this with our good design. Nothing about us was accidental, or a mistake. But the starter ingredients, inherited by our moms and dads, affected us in both a physical and a spiritual way. “People are morally broken by inherited sin which comes standard on every human model.” (Kendrick)
Psalm 51:5

This means that our lives are just naturally disconnected from God so that we are mostly not mindful of Him at all.

43. Even those you know that look good and are following God have “issues”. If you are around them long enough those issues will emerge. While that can shock you, it shouldn’t, because the Bible is very clear.
Nehemiah 9:33 / Isaiah 64:6 / Jeremiah 17:9 / 1 John 1:8

44. The world’s general sin translates into specific sin in each of us. The root of all sin is the same but the fruit it produces can look quite different from person to person. The main root extensions to all sin are listed in:
1 John 2:16

Let me quote this verse from the NIV….
“….for everything in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life comes not from the Father, but from the world.”

The first root = the desire (or lust) of the flesh: gluttony, greed, sex

The second root = the desire (or lust) of the eyes: adultery, pornography, overeating, greed to keep getting more and better

The third root = the pride of life: superiority, judgmental, comparison with others, self-righteous.

45. Your sin may erupt into fruit that is different from my sin but the causes are the same. Therefore, we have no right to judge another. Where does Jesus say this “sin fruit” stems from?
Mark 7:20-23

46. The tendency for all of us is to compare and contrast ourselves with others and come out better (which is what pride is). We start to tolerate our own issues while becoming more intolerant of others.
James 2:11

47. All sin puts us on a collision course with God’s judgment because all sin is just a rejection of God and His ownership and authority over our lives.
Isaiah 59:2,12

48. If we don’t call out the sin in our lives for what it is, then we’ll end up in habitual and perpetual sin that will eventually kill us.
Ezekiel 18:20

And on the way to our death, we’ll have the sneaky feeling that we are hopelessly lost.

49. But, the good news for all of us is that God knows about the darkness in our life and has provided a way for us to come out of it and walk in the light. Here is your invitation:
Matthew 11:28-30

50. Ultimately, we as people – made in God’s image – must take responsibility for what we have done with the intelligence, talents, freedoms, and resources He has given to us. What is our way out of sin and brokenness? Read these verses slowly and list what actions you need to take in light of what Jesus has already done.
Romans 6:10-19




Because of what God has done in us and for us, we are extremely valuable to Him. But through our sin and ungodly living we have become lost to God.

51. What do we mean that we are “lost”? Each of these verses give us clues:

Why are we condemned?  -- James 3:16

Why are we spiritually perishing?  --- 1 Corinthians 1:18

Why are we blind to the truth? – 2 Corinthians 4:4

What is the condition we are born with? – Ephesians 2:1

Why do we have no hope in this world? – Ephesians 2:12

52. But if I was born having a sin nature through no fault of my own, won’t God overlook the sins I commit? That answer is NO, for God is just. What would we think of a judge that set the guilty free while condemning the innocent? That would be total injustice!
Proverbs 17:15

And so, here is our dilemma: although we are valuable to God, we are disqualified from being in his holy presence because of sin. God allows no sin into Heaven and yet all men and woman are sinners having inherited a sin nature. Since God is a just God, He must punish the guilty.

53. Most of us don’t even know that we are lost and need finding!
Isaiah 53:6a

54. The longer we stay lost, the more likely we will never be found and our lives will be wasted. Jesus tells us three parables in Luke 15 that show us the value we are to God.

Luke 15:1-7 – the lost sheep
Luke 15: 8-10 – the lost coin
Luke 15:11-24 – the lost son

55. Notice that all three had one owner just like we have one owner.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20

56. And all three were highly treasured, just like we are.
Psalm 139:13-14

The last parable is often called the parable of the prodigal son and that word prodigal means “waste”. The longer we stay lost, the longer our lives get used for other purposes than what God had planned. For example: a lost sheep won’t give wool, or meat, or money. A lost coin can’t be used for buying or saving. The lost son won’t be learning and training for his role in life. All this amounts to waste.

57. Therefore, in these parables the three owners wanted back what they lost and pursued it. This is the important message we must not miss. God is pursuing his lost children!
Ezekiel 34:11-12, 16, 22

58. He is doing this through Jesus the Good Shepherd – willing to leave everyone already safe in his fold to find the one missing!
Ezekiel 34:23 / Reread Luke 15:4-5

59. It’s then that Jesus brings us from lost to found, death to life, condemned to forgiven, worthless to priceless.
John 10:10-16

60. God knows we can’t save ourselves, clean ourselves, or change our own heart and so He makes it easy for us. All we can do, and need do is to cry out to Him….”Lord, save me!” …. and He faithfully does.
Acts 2:21 / Romans 10:13

61. But to Jesus, we are much more than just one sheep amidst the fold. What did he personally do for every one of us?
1 Peter 2:24

62. He would have done this had we been the only one. And when we are safe in His fold, what does He become to us?
1 Peter 2:25

Next Study: Part 4-How Can We Know Our True Identity?

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