20140304 purpose

If you want to live a purpose driven life you, first need to know what your purpose is. A number of years back there was a book that addressed man’s purpose in life.  While the book was overwhelmingly received, it did not really answer the question as well as the One Book whose author is God.

There are all kinds of books, videos, studies, and programs that provide methods of discerning and understanding who you are, why you are alive, and what you are to do.  Sadly, many of them stray from the simplicity of what is true.  The simple truth that is found only in what God says. 

All too often we want a plan, a check list.  We tell ourselves, if I can understand this, or if I can do this, then my life will have purpose and meaning.  We often plan things we can do, believing that when we accomplish them it demonstrates that we have a mission and a purpose in life. While it is good to have meaningful work to do, and accomplishing tasks is significant, the problem arises when we find our worth, and our purpose, in what we do.  It drives us to do more, so we can be more, which can become a vicious cycle of working in order to form our identity.

That is contrary to what the Bible says.  God tells us that He is the One who defines who we are and in Him alone can we find our purpose.  

The World vs the Word

The world says:  You are what you do.  You are defined by your job, your socio-economic standing or your recreational activities.
The Word says:  We are defined by Christ and what He did for us (Ephesians 1-3)

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The world says: Be all that you can be.  You are strong.  You can do it. Believe in yourself and you will be a winner.
The Word says:  When we are weak, He is strong for us (2 Corinthians 12:10).  God uses the weak to confound the mighty. (1 Corinthians 1:27)  Trust in Christ.  He has already won for us what we can never win for ourselves.

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The world says:  Do this or do that and it will come back to you in blessings and  rewards.  That’s karma!
The Word says:  Love and serve Jesus Christ by sacrificially giving to your neighbor, because in Christ we already have everything we need.  We are free to give everything we have without expecting anything in return.  That’s love!

Our Purpose is Found in His Pleasure

When you ask yourself the question, “what is my purpose in life?” turn to the Bible to read what God says.  God tells us that Adam was created for His pleasure — to live in perfect communion with Him and to magnify His goodness by loving and serving Him.   

Revelation 4:11  Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

God’s creation was perfect and Adam was to tend it.  Prior to the fall, Adam’s nature was without sin and His life reflected the righteousness of His Creator.  That was Adam’s purpose in life—to honor, glorify, and bring pleasure to His Creator.  Sadly, Adam sinned and every person since that time has been born with a sin nature, in the fallen image of Adam (Gen 5:3), an image of rebellion against God’s original plan and HIs purpose for man.  

While our nature has changed, and each of us is born with a sin nature, our purpose in life has not changed.  Our purpose is to love, honor and magnify the Lord and by doing so we bring Him pleasure and glorify His name. 

Isa 43:7  Everyone who is called by My name, Whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made him.”

How Do We Please God?

Understanding now the simplicity of God’s desired purpose in our lives, we must address the complexity of how we go about bringing pleasure to God. Most books written about finding your purpose in life, focus on what one must do.  Do this, or do that….then God will be happy with you.  

Of course, there are many commands in the Bible, and obeying them is important.  But so also is rightly understanding them, and that is often very difficult.  Yes, God does tell us what righteous living looks like and He clearly gives instructions for daily life that will reflect godly living.  What happens when we measure ourselves against those standards?  Jesus commanded,  

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)  

We Can’t Do It!

If we are honest with ourself, we know how far short we fall from God’s standard of perfection.  When we understand our sin, we understand our need for a Saviour. 

God, in His loving kindness and mercy, sent Jesus to live a righteous life and to pay the penalty for our sins.  Jesus lived the kind of life that brings pleasure to God—a 100%, sinless life—and, when a repentant sinner trust in His finished work on the cross, Jesus imputes to the forgiven sinner His perfect righteousness.  When Jesus saves, He also justifies — makes the forgiven sinner righteous in the eyes of God.  

At the moment Jesus saved us we begin a life-long process of sanctification—growing in holiness, being conformed to the image of Jesus (Rom 8:29). That means we are to reflect who God is and to honor and glorify Him by keeping His commandments.  Jesus clearly told us what those commandments are:

1) Love the Lord they God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. (Matthew 22:37)
2) Love thy neighbour as thyself. (Matthew 22:39) 

Our Purpose

So our purpose in life is to LOVE.  God is love, perfect love, so in being conformed to the image of Jesus ware to love with the supernatural love of Christ that lives in us and is able to flow through us.  

Be still and know that Jesus is God.  Stop striving in your own power and start resting in His love.  Rest in His finished work and believe that His power (the indwelling Holy Spirit) will work through you and His love will flow from you.

Phil 1:6  being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

Remember

The Westminster Shorter Catechism answers the questions, “What is the chief end of man?” with these words:

“Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.”

  • It’s not by our deeds, but by His deliverance that we are saved and justified. (Eph 2:8)
  • It’s not by our performance, but by His power that we are sanctified. (Eph 2:9)
  • It’s not by our endeavors, but by His indwelling that we live, and move and have our being (Acts 17:28, Eph 2:10)
  • And, it’s not by our goodness, but by His grace that we will be glorified. (Rom 8:29-30, Eph 2:19)

Find your peace in Christ.  Keep your eyes focused on Him and your hearts devoted to Him.  Then His love will be unleashed in your soul and it will ignite and fuel God-honoring thoughts, words, and deeds.  That will result in love and service for God and to your neighbor and it will bring honor, glory, and pleasure to our Almighty God. 

He desires to work through you to glorify His name.  Surrender to His will and watch Him work!

Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.  (Hebrews 13:20-21)

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Do not be anxious about anything.  (Phil 4:6)

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must rightly remember who is in control.  Our God is sovereign over all things, including COVID-19.  As Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) said, “The sovereignty of God is a soft pillow on which weary people lay their heads.” 

Remember also God’s gracious promise, and that it is true and He is faithful to keep it:  Hebrews 13:5 …”I will never leave you, nor forsake you.”  The next verse remind us of the power that comes in trusting God and how we can live:  Hebrews 13:6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man [or COVID-19] shall do to me.

God loves us, and in Christ we find confidence and calm in times of uncertainty and trouble.  When we trust in God, fear is replaced with faith, stress is replaced with strength, anxiety is gone and hope abounds, problems become opportunities, and we are able to receive the blessings God has for us in the midst of difficult circumstances. Turn to Jesus. He will lead you to the still waters and give rest for your troubled soul.  

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast…Hebrews 6:19

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