Someone asks that question every day! Even those who don’t truly follow God would still love it if He’d spell out the perfect plan for their life. I think the question we truly want to ask is, “What should I be when I grow up?”
The Bible fuels the struggle. We read about Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Joseph Moses, Saul, David, Solomon, Isaiah and Jeremiah, Elijah and Elisha, Esther, John, Paul and the Apostles. God even told Pharaoh:
16 But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.Exodus 9:16
We decide if God had a master plan for those fellows He must have one for us too. However, we don’t take into consideration the small percentage of people living and dead they represent. Billions and Billions of folks have walked on this earth without a burning bush experience.
Every now and then God does set aside someone at birth to carry out a major task. I wonder if Billy Graham falls into that category. But truth be told most of us will be more like Priscilla and Aquilla.
Priscilla and Aquilla made tents for a living. That’s what they did before they met Paul and became Christ followers, and that’s what they did after. However, after they met Paul, they began to talk about their Savior. They started a church, and then another. Then Luke shared their story in a letter we call Acts, so their names live on forever.
Jeremiah 29:10-14 tells us God has a plan, a plan to prosper us, to give us hope, to make certain we have a future. Many church people have Jeremiah 29:11 memorized. You’ll find it on banners and cards, even jewelry. But few read 13-14:
13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord,Jeremiah 29:13-14
Not many want to truly seek God. We want a perfect future and direction for our lives, but we don’t seek God. I believe one of our many purposes in this life should be to Seek God.
Romans 8:28 is my favorite verse and it reminds us our seeking should bring us to loving. “In all things God works together for the good of those who love Him.” When we love God and live like we love Him, He takes every circumstance and transforms it.
20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.Genesis 50:20
Joseph said those words. He spent 13 years as a slave in Egypt. He had every right to become very bitter; however, Joseph spent his time praising God and giving Him glory in a strange land. So God took the evil his brothers intended and worked it together for good. And this good wasn’t just for Joseph it was for Egypt and Israel.
But Joseph lived his life seeking God. Too many times we want God to work all things for good and we haven’t even talked to Him for a few days.
Psalm 37:4 tells us
Delight yourself in the Lord
and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Some think this means God will give you everything your heart desires, but as I’ve grown in Christ and learned to delight myself in my Savior, I believe God wants to put desires in our heart. God longs to give us purpose, but we must Seek Him.
A second part of our purpose is to bring Glory to God. Isaiah 43:7 says
everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.
Ephesians 1 and 3 emphasize our responsibility in showing the world the glory and the wisdom of our Creator.
Part of our problem in seeking purpose is we want to know what will bring us glory. We’re much less interested in glorifying God than ourselves. However, Romans 8 reminds us that one day we will be glorified, those who suffer with Christ will also have His glory. Our lives should be a constant reflection of the glory of God. We were created for it.
Ephesians 2:10 and Philippians 2:12-13 are just two places in scripture where God tells us our purpose. He created us to do good works. No one knows the specifics; however, we need to be ready.
One of the Blackaby brothers asked a group I attended, “Are you willing to drop everything and go wherever God calls you to?” Everyone answered yes.
Then he asked a telling question, “How many of you have your passports?”
It’s easy to say we want to do good works, but where will we be when the rubber hits the road? When you’re standing at the checkout and God says you need milk, will you buy it? Or have you placed yourself in a financial position that won’t allow the extra expenditure?
We want to know our purpose; however, we often don’t live like it. Created to do good works means we need to be watching for places where God’s light is needed. Constant prayer will prepare us to hear Christ’s voice so we know when to act.
What did you do today to put yourself in a position to hear Jesus when He tells you what good work He might need you to accomplish?
Jeremiah hinted at the purposes of God’s heart in Jeremiah 23:20 and 30:24
The fierce anger of the Lord will not turn back
until he fully accomplishes the purposes of his heart.
In days to come you will understand this.
Four Hundred years before Jesus came to earth God promised that one day His people would understand the purpose of His heart. Paul told Timothy God saved us because of His purpose. Luke tells us the Pharisees rejected God’s purpose. I love the way Paul put it in his letter to the Corinthians:
4 For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.2 Corinthians 5:4-5
That’s beautiful prose and very picturesque, but break it down. Paul says without Christ we forgot our clothing. While we live on this earth, it’s as if we showed up to a wedding in our bathing suit. Our very purpose is to have everything in us that is worldly swallowed up by everything that is Holy. We were created for a live with God, and He wants it to start here on earth.
Genesis tells us:
26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
27 So God created mankind in his own image,Genesis 1:26-27
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
Parents may understand what it’s like to have someone created in your image. We’ve all heard the phrase, “mini-me.” We love those little creatures more than life. However, our purpose for them is to have them grow up and become our friend.
Some parents try the friend thing too early, and their children don’t develop properly. Other parents want to keep parenting after their children have great jobs and a family of their own. Epic fail.
The Goldilocks scenario in parenting comes when we raise our children like God raises us. He can be tough on us sometimes until we learn a lesson, and He showers love on us when we fall. But when we mature in Christ and fall in love with Him to the point we become His bride, His partner, then we’ll feel as though we’ve accomplished our purpose.
I love it that my girls are now my friends. We shop together and go to lunch. I don’t give unsolicited advice, but because they trust me, they do ask for it from time to time. You were created in the image of God to be His friend.
Friendship with God is bigger than human friendships. It’s in a league set apart. However, that’s where we begin to know contentment. As we start to develop a true friendship with our Savior and Creator, our purpose will be fulfilled.
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