Category Archives: Purpose

How Pupose and Gifts Keep Us On Track


How Purpose and Gifts Keep Us On Track

Your More Important Than You Realize

Discover Your Purpose In Life And It Will Keep You  On Track

Do you ever wonder why you are where you are and what you should be doing with your life?  In all honesty, there are times when I have to reassess what I am doing.  This is something that humans have struggled with from the very beginning of time. In the garden of Eden, God gave Adam and Eve a reason for existence and something to do with their lives.

Using Biblical precepts, the Christian can discover the purpose of life, design his or her destiny, and direct their achievement.

1. Remember that you are “called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28).

 Don’t think that by tapping into your human resources you will be where you’re supposed to be in your life. There is an expression that is used about some preachers, “they are momma called and daddy sent”. The fact is that only God can send us and when he does, he gifts us with the ability, talent, and skill to work within that calling. God will give evidence of those gifts and others will recognize the gift and follow by acknowledging your anointing to operate in that gift.

2. Take command of your life by submitting to God’s control of your life. (Romans 12 and 13).

Working for God is not a popularity contest, it is a spiritual calling to leadership and ministry of the gifts He has given us. That means: Functioning in a local church body in the gift God has given you along with others in submission to God. Think about the second part of God’s Great Commission, as Paul explains (I Cor. 12:15-17), the individual Christian cannot function alone. Each is like a specific part of the human body. The finger cannot function unless the brain does. The lungs must work well before the foot can carry the body. All parts of the body – and all parts of the church – must work in harmony and in submission to a Divine order God has set in place.

3. Share your Christian life with those around to bear the fruit of the purpose and gift you have to create lasting spiritual change. (John 15)

Realize that all spiritual fruit comes from being rightly related to God and comes in a life of surrender and submission. What are your dreams and desires? They usually come under four headings: spiritual, intellectual, physical, and those related to your personality, attitudes, and emotions. Ask yourself, am I asking God to bless what I want or have I decided to surrender to what He has called me for and gifted me to do? One way to know if we are gifted in a particular area is whether there is spiritual fruit from what we are doing and does it produce lasting change in people’s lives. When we decide to join God in what He is doing in there will be fruit and the fruit will bring spiritual change and lasting effect on the lives of people that we minister the gift to.

4. Pinpoint your social desires and ask yourself: Are my desires and goals the same as the Heavenly Fathers? (Colossians 3:1)

Think about your relationships with family, spouse, co-workers, people you associate with in organizations, and those in your church. Does you attitude reflect a perspective to others that I want God to be in control and that I am going to live a life under control, led by the Holy Spirit? If not; then fine-tune your goals to reflect the goals of God. This has to do with what we value –where our affections are set. God’s purpose in life is for us to be where He intends for us to be. It is being a good steward and being passionate about the right things. A lot of people spend their money in the wrong places and end up loosing everything they value most. Likewise, many people spend their lives in places and trying to exercise gifts that they don’t have and never have a productive life of value in the kingdom of heaven. The real issue is being a good steward of what God has gifted me to do, not what I want, or others want.

5. Where your heart is, there will be your treasure also. Do what you love. (Matt. 6:21).

A critical question that we have to ask ourselves in Christian ministry is why are we doing what we are doing. Is it for the approval that we get from others or is what we love to do because God has called us to do this ministry. Malcolm Forbes said, “Whatever you like to do, just find a way of doing it. The biggest mistake people make in life is not trying to make a living at doing what they most enjoy.” People who have their hearts connected to their work have evidence that manifests in what they do. They are enthusiastic, they take great time to think about it–pray about it, and have a desire to make what they do reflect excellency and bring glory to God. They are leaders and where they lead people to is to a higher place with God and not to complacency. When we love what we do like Jesus loves what He does, we will surrender to the gift, calling, and ministry that He has gifted us to do.

6. Ministry is the motive —Spiritual gifts are to minister help to someone who needs what you have to offer. (I Corinthians 12).

There is no more noble occupation than assisting another human being, or in helping someone succeed. Some of the reasons that people do not succeed at what they are gifted at are evident by: The motive is misplaced, it is about me and my rights; there has been little discipleship and personal spiritual growth; there is a spirit of pride and rebellion; and there has been no training and mentoring by a spiritually mature mentor. One thing that I remember that Joe Dubose said is a call to ministry is a call to prepare. Many people fail at the tasks of ministry because the motive is wrong from the beginning. It first has to be about God and then be about what God wants to do in people’s lives through the gift.

 Once you discover your God-ordained purpose, you must hold it under the brightness of God’s scrutiny and ask yourself: Is my attitudes, gift, and my ministry pleasing to God?

7. There is wisdom in a multitude of counselors –Seek wise counsel from spiritually mature people. (Proverbs 11:14).

Surround yourself with people you know and trust – and who know you, your strengths and weaknesses. Tap into their wisdom and experience, ask for their candid appraisal. One way that I can evaluate what I am doing is to find trustworthy people who are objective, functional, and will tell me the truth. So, often people just mirror back to us what we want to hear and are afraid of hurting our feelings. Sometimes we need to hear some painful truth in order to keep us humble before God and keep us from making fatal mistakes about what are purpose, gifts, and ministry means. Resisting the need to tell people the truth does not help them, it hurts them by re-enforcing the misconceptions they already have. There is a way to find where we belong in the ministry and it is not a popular vote, it is by a particular purpose of a sovereign God who created us for His glory.

8. If you are wondering where God wants you to be in this life, then create your own mission statement and ask yourself four questions about your purpose:

1. WHY do you have this purpose in life?

2 . WHO are you? (What have you accomplished to date? What is the code you live by?)

3. WHAT do you plan to accomplish in your destiny?

4 . WHEN are these goals to be achieved? (You must have a time line.)

9. Build an Action Plan: Determine how you will achieve your goals.

Start with the overview, details can come later.

10. Ask yourself,

Is this really what I believe the Lord has planned for me?

Am I passionate about this? Can I give my life to this?” Believe that “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13).

 

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Why Do I Exist?


God's plan for youOne of the important questions related to discovering who God created us to be has to do with what we spend our life pursuing.  For many, the chief pursuit of life is the acquisition of things and the pursuit of things to bring pleasure.  To address this hedonistic principle of humanity, Solomon wrote and said, A life devoted to things is a dead life, a stump; a God-shaped life is a flourishing tree” (The Message Proverbs 11:28).

People who are devoted to things often are people who do not really know who they are and acquiesce to a life in search of identity and importance by defining existence by the things that surround them.

A great discovery to make about existence is that it is not about you.  Focusing on things or ourselves will never reveal our life’s purpose.  The reality is that you were made by God and for God—and until you understand that, life will never make sense.

Affirmation of Faith

Our affirmation of faith from the scripture resonates with me an important message that needs to be understood, even after having read it multiple times: that “It’s purpose is not about you.”  The reason for this truth is that this truth never loses its importance because it is timeless truth.

This assertion is hardly new in the history of Christian faith. The reason for our existence is as old as Wesley who said, “God made us to be happy in Him.”  In Baptist history,  it is as old as the Westminster Catechism which affirms that “the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.”  Furthermore, in Jewish history, it is as old as David who said, “It is He that hath made us and not we ourselves.  We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.”  It is as old as Moses who said, “So teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.”  What do these examples have in common?  The central theme is reverence and life of worship that brings an understanding of why we exist.  Life and more particularly, my life is not about me.  The affirmations and history are spiritual markers that reveal that all of life is about God, not about finding ourselves.

APPLICATION OF FAITH

Our origin, identity, meaning, purpose, destiny all originate and are completed in relationship to God.  As a result, I cannot help but think embracing life with this perspective would revolutionize everything that we do in life and the choices we make.  I can remember the frustration of many people who have shared their never-ending search to find what they want to do in life.  Obviously, this common mistake is the wrong approach to life because it reduces why we exist to a simple human endeavor to do something in our own power to create an identity and a purpose to feel significance in life.

The place to begin is that understanding why we  exist will only find significance when we gain the insight that identity and purpose are found only through relationship with Jesus Christ. Anything else will leave us to the task of creating a purpose that is simply the natural part of a human life apart from God.  When God reveals to us and we understand in our heart of hearts that God planned the purpose of our life and intends for it to last into eternity.  Then, our lives and purpose for existence aligns with the eternal plan of God and has the potential to be effective and produce lasting fruit now and in the future.  When we realize that, we will find that we understand existence from God’s perspective and we have found something worth living for and someone worth dying with because it is eternal.

Final thoughts

Some of you upon reading this may get the idea that determining your life purpose has nothing to do with you or the choices you make.  Obviously, that is not the case, because what happens in our life depends upon responding to God and reverencing Him in worship through obedience The problem exists that we start with us and what we want; then we tell God what we’ll do.  To understand why we exist, God wants us to start with Him—His Kingdom, His Will—and then ask how we can use the gifts and abilities He has given us to participate in His plan.

Who God Created Me to Be: What Drives Your Life?


Drives

“Everyone’s life is driven by something: many are driven by things like guilt, resentment, anger, fear, materialism, and the need for approval” (Rick Warren, 2002).

 Who is Driving the Bus?

 A dictionary definition of drive is to guide, to control, or to direct.  One of the questions that we are focusing on today is what the driving force in our life is.  Having a focused, central purpose to life that is rooted in a relationship with Him translates into a way of living that places God at the center of existence.  The thought that comes to mind is that God calls us in to a life to be who we are in terms of a relationship with Him.  At this point I am reminded again of the fact that, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever” (The Baptist Catechism).  So, in other words, a primary goal of being a innately –natural, authentic Christian who is driven by purpose is that a relationship with Him needs to be the defining characteristic of what drives the bus.  Unfortunately, most of us have grown up in a world where we have told to conform, forced to conform, and expected to conform.  The environmental invalidation stifles creativity within  and individuals become programmed by society and cultural expectations and we live a life of being driven by things, people, and expectations instead of purpose.

Reflection about Spiritual Direction: What or Who is Pushing Your Buttons?

 Have you ever taken time to think reflectively about what is driving your behavior in life?  It is an interesting question because I see people every day who are getting their buttons pushed by something or someone and they spend their time living a reactive rather than a proactive life.  In a life of being who God created you to be, is important to understand that the reason why we are just reacting is that we have not developed a comfort level with the way God made them and confidence enough to act beyond the influence and expectations of others.  Therefore, they get in the trap of conformity and are afraid to color outside the lines because of what others expect, a desire to please, and the fear of personal rejection.

What does the Bible say about drive and motivation for behavior?

 “Then I observed that most people are motivated to success by their envy of their neighbors. But this, too, is meaningless, like chasing the wind” (Ecclesiastes 4:4Living Bible).

 The answer is that any efforts to live a life of trying to be like others or being driven by anything less than the purpose of God for life is spending time, effort, energy, resources, and time on something that will never be achieved.  Solomon called it “chasing the wind”.  When things outside of their purpose in life drive people, the person God created them to be, life turns into an empty pursuit that is never satisfying, stressful, and is not true to our true nature.  Therefore the key to harnessing the drives that lead to chasing to wind is to begin with a discovery process of individual purpose and who God created us to be.

Purpose provides a place to harness and direct the thing that will drive us forward.

“The man without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder – waif, a nothing, a no man. Have a purpose in life, and, having it, throw such strength of mind and muscle into your work as God has given you” (Thomas Carlyle).

 The truth is that nothing matters more than knowing God’s purpose for your life, and nothing can bring satisfaction and wholeness in life like knowing who God created you to be a s an individual creation of God.

Some of the benefits of living to be what God created you to be in a a purpose-driven life is that it:

Gives meaning to your life and defines where to put your energy..

Simplifies your life and keeps you from chasing the wind.

Focuses your life on what is important to magnify your relationship with God.

It motivates you to live with an upward and inward focus that leads you to the future that God has for your life.

A central component of purpose is that it prepares you in this life to be fully developed as you enter eternity.  Remember that you were not put on earth to be creating an image for others to commit to memory.  Every believer was put in this world to “glorify God and to enjoy him forever” (The Baptist Catechism).  Surrendering to who you are in Christ in a life of discipleship and purpose is so that we will be conformed to the image of Christ in this life to enter the next life with a clear knowledge of who God created us to be now and then.

Affirmation

Everyone suffers with the problem of being driven by the wrong thing at times.  What we can remember is that “Without God, life has no purpose, and without purpose, life has no meaning. Without meaning, life has no significance or hope.” This is such a significant point and intentional statement.  It is important because it magnifies the dual responsibility to surrender to having a purpose, but also acting in faith and knowledge in response to who God is in reality.  Each person must live for the purpose for which God has designed; otherwise, whatever meaning seems to be obtained through living for lesser purposes will evaporate in eternity ahead.

Something that may important to remember is that people who don’t know their purpose try to do too much and that causes the elevation of stress, fatigue, and conflict. Indeed it is tempting to have one’s finger in many pies, but are they our pies to have our fingers in all of the time?  What we will discover is that when we have stripped life of the inessentials that do not contribute to who God created us to be and aligns with purpose, life will become more productive and satisfied.

When the right thing drives us we will discover that purpose always produces passion and that nothing energizes a life like a clear sense of purpose.  Perhaps this is why most of the Christians I meet have so little passion for the Kingdom of God. They are not living with a clear vision of the purpose for which God has created them or functioning in that purpose.

An important fact to accept is that given enough time, all your trophies will be trashed.  If that strikes you as negative and pessimistic; then, you have not read Ecclesiastes enough to understand the importance of a life without a purpose.  If reading the message of Ecclesiastes depresses you, it must be because you do  not understand what Solomon is saying. In a simple statement of truth, the message of Ecclesiastes is “Meaning and satisfaction are not found in any of life’s components; they are found only in life’s Creator”.

 

Who were you created to be? You Are Not an Accident


Broken DreamsThink about this for a moment: “there is a God who created you for a reason, and your life has profound meaning” (Rick Warren, 2002).

A beginning statement to ponder is that we can only really be the person God created us to be when God is the focal point of our existence and we surrender to His purpose for existence.  The Bible says it this way,  “The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him” (Romans 12:3, The Message). The truth is that we can never be who God created us to be until we are willing to surrender the life that we have created, are maintaining, and enduring to the potential life, which is possible by recognizing that God is the center of existence.  It is all about God.

Have you ever wondered why you are who you are and why you are different from others around you?  Read this poem and listen to the words as you say them aloud.

You are who you are for a reason by *Russell Kelfer

You are who you are for a reason.
You’re part of an intricate plan.
You’re a precious and perfect unique design,
Called God’s special woman or man.

You look like you look for a reason.
Our God made no mistake.
He knit you together within the womb.
You’re just what He wanted to make.

The parents you had were the ones He chose,
And no matter how you may feel,
They were custom-designed with God’s plan in mind,
And they bear the Master’s seal.

No, that trauma you faced was not easy.
And God wept that it hurt you so;
But it was allowed to shape your heart
So that into His likeness you’d grow.

You are who you are for a reason,
You’ve been formed by the Master’s rod.
You are who you are, beloved,
Because there is a God! (
http://www.donnarosestewart.com/other/kelfer.html)

There are two important things to think about within these ideas.  One is the issue of reason.  God has a purpose for your life, but your purpose can only be found through surrendering to Him, not surrender to circumstances, sociology, or opinion –yours or others.  Closely related is how some people see themselves or acquiesce to the status quo.  As a result, many people see themselves as a failure   or as a mistake.  Therefore, the second issue that we need to understand about who God created us to be is that your conception, birth, life development, and challenges are not the result of a mistake of nature.  Believe me, no matter what you see in the mirror or feel in your private thoughts; you are not an accident of biology, environment, or experiences.  In the last post, “Why do you Exist”, the core question about why we exist presents a theme that life can be built around s the central purpose for existence.

Man’s First Purpose in Creation

 From my personal spiritual background, I am reminded, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.  [Scriptures that supports this position  are found in]1 Corinthians 10:31Psalm 16:1137:473:25-26; and  Isaiah43:7.  [The application of] To ‘Glorify’ does not mean make glorious.  It means [to] reflect or display as glorious.  Other words you could use for ‘end’ are ‘goal’ or ‘purpose'” (A Baptist Catechism).

How Did God Create Man?

The next question that relates to who God created us to be is answer in how God created people. “God created man male and female, after his own image, in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, with dominion over the creatures.  [Scriptures to support this position are in] Genesis 1:27-28Colossians 3:10; and  Ephesians 4:24. [To understand this better,] In saying that we were created after his image ‘in knowledge, righteousness and holiness,’ we do not mean we know all God knows, nor that we are a fountain of righteousness and holiness the way he is.  We mean that we were capable of sharing his knowledge and righteousness and holiness in a relationship of trust and love unlike any other creature under the angels” (A Baptist Catechism).

Therefore, what we understand from scripture is that God had a plan, a purpose, and a design, which was not an accident of nature, events, or mistakes.  The importance of who God created us to be was initiated long before we were conceived by our parents –you were conceived in the mind of God.

Affirmation of Faith

What the scripture teaches us about being who God created us to be is that while there are illegitimate parents, there are no illegitimate children.  This is an important and  helpful distinction for those of us who feel like we are the product of a mistake made by someone else! Therefore, the use of scriptures like Deuteronomy 23:2 to support illegitimacy in birth, “A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the LORD”, clearly is not a reference to physical birth, parents, and marriage.  Obviously, Deuteronomy 23:2  is a reference to someone who does not have a covenant relationship to God, which is a indication of an illegitimate connection to the church, religion, and spiritual life, as stated in Hebrews 13.  As a point of reference to remind us who created believers to be in a familial relationship with Him, “They are reborn–not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God” (John 1:13, NLT).

Clearly this is an indication that we are not a mistake, freak of nature, or an aberration of evolution: we are God’s special creation.  Therefore, we can be reminded that the person that God has created us to be, specifically disavows atheistic evolution.  If you are wondering about who God created you to be, remember the first purpose for existence; “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever”.  Therefore, be assured that it is abundantly clear that God is the reason alone for purposeful, divine creation.

Being Who God Created You to Be: You Were Made to Last Forever


EternitySooner or later everyone is faced with the absolute certainty that mortal life will end.  Indeed, life is a constantly evolving process that will culminate in an ultimate experience that ushers existence into a new reality called eternity.  A natural phenomenon of life-experience and awareness of conscious life is continually developing and ending simultaneously. This experience is a non-tangible present reality that is happening, as we experience it each waking moment of life.  One of the important certainties that we quite often lose touch with is that every experience of life is the staging ground for an eternity that is yet unrealized.  Something that needs to be considered is looking at life with the view that God has from now into eternity.

What a Spiritual Life of Purpose Looks Like From God’s Perspective.

“Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter.  He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good” (Romans 8:26-28, The Message).

A Spiritual Reality is That We Really Do Not Understand, But He is at Work.

 Many people tend to hold a view of life that has a deeply embedded belief that the experience of today is fixed, set, and the expectation that life will always look as it does today brings disappointment when it is disconnected from a spiritual life. At the same time, a faulty perspective of life built around present experience tends to cause acceptance of the comfort or pain of the moment as a normal expectation in life. The reality of a life of surrender to a sovereign God is within the struggle.  Therefore, in the process, He hears our groans and struggles and works to make sense of something that is so confusing to comprehend in our humanity.

Tragically, without spiritual transformation an existence is constructed where hope is absent for anything in life better than present experiences, i.e., what is presently seen.  This type of perspective limits life to a purpose built on present or upon negative experience instead of eternal purpose designed by God.  Therefore, the reality, pain, or joy of the moment constantly acquiesces to expectation set by an event, experience, or impression from a millisecond instead of purpose driven by a firm faith and hope of the Spirit of God who is working out an eternal purpose through us in our experiences.

God’s Perspective About Earthly, Fleshly, Soulish People Who are Governed By Passions of the Present Instead of Focus Upon the Eternal.

“they think only about this life here on earth.  But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives.  (Philippians 3:19b-20 NLT)

The indicative message is that a relationship with God that think about life with a different goal in mind that earthly minded people.  “God says His children are think differently about life from the way unbelievers do” (Rick Warren, 2002).

Unfortunately, mortal human beings tend to look at life like a picture of a moment recording only a solitary moment, not the larger picture.  It is a just a still frame expressing life captured in an immobile fixed moment of the present, which many people internalize and script expectations, hope, and dreams apart from an eternal purpose that is set in the mind of God to always work into something good for those who He has called.  Therefore, the present becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy that predicts our future and limit our potential to the beliefs held about present realities.  Consequently, the unrealized potential of a future that God has written upon our hearts and lives cannot come to fruition because we are trapped in the prison of the present and has no pathway to the future.

Gaining God’s Perspective Reduces The Anxiety of the Moment and Releases us to See the Process of Becoming God’s Unique Creation.

In the flurry of our daily crisis, an important reality that is not being processed into our temporal experience is that life is quickly passing us by at such a rapid rate of speed that we do not realize that eternity is just a step ahead.  It is true that we shall soon enter eternity, sooner than we realize, through God’s grace into a life prepared for God’s children..  Unfortunately, human beings have to learn the value of eternity and God’s purpose through the broken experiences in life before they get a glimpse of eternity.  It is when, something happens that turns life upside down, changes the way life is experienced,  and shatters our expectations that we are forced to re-evaluate life with a view that is finite.  A fortunate value of a crisis is that it is an opportunity exercise faith and to put our trust in God to discover that God is using this present experience to develop a character that is pure, a trust that is firm, and a perspective that values the moment. It is an awakening, a moment of revelation about life  and experience that tells us in a still small voice  that  God’s hand is developing His eternal purpose in us.  Consequently, there comes  an undeniable and inevitable movement to life that it is so subtle that we may not even realize, in the present moment that life has changed, God has spoken, and nothing will ever be the same since you began reading this article.

We often lose touch with the reality that life is a process of development with periods of time that possess life span experiences, which eventually catch up with no matter how much we dislike it.  As we progress and age, things like our vision grows dim, the body wrinkles, sickness comes and one day all of the things that we have known in the life through momentary experiences will be absorbed into eternity.  Through the experiences of life, we learn that life is just a temporary assignment that could change any moment; then suddenly we will be faced with life developments that are natural and normal in the human experience of life.  The unfortunate reality that many of us have difficulty realizing is that the way that the way we look at life today is not what life will always be and we hang on to the moment in hope that it will never end, but it will and it does.  Then what should we do?

Think About What The Psalmist Said:

 “Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.
Remind me that my days are numbered—
how fleeting my life is” (Psalm 39:4; New Living Translation).

A life lesson that stands out from the psalmist is that life on earth is brief: therefore we d we need to be reminded that every day life is a wonder of existence. It is a divinely given opportunity to exercise effective stewardship and use the opportunity to live by eternal purpose, instead of extraneous circumstances.  While in the moment, the reality that life is slipping through our fingers like the sands of time is an well hidden that must be understood to gain an effective life of purposeful living and being the person that God created us to be.  What we invest our time in does matter now and will matter more once we enter into eternity.  The question the psalmist asks of God reminds us that mortality means that there are a limited number of days to live and to use in preparation for eternity.  Reading the words written, it seems that the psalmist is concerned that life should be invested in things that really matter, things of significance, and that will affect eternal existence in positive and meaningful ways.

Here Is Another Request From The Psalmist That Relates To Eternity:

“I am here on earth for just a little while; do not hide your commands from me” (Psalms 119:19 Good News Translation)

A principle that resonates from the words that relate to God’s eternal purpose is the reality that we must make the best of our lives, while you have life to live because we are here for such a short period of time.  What stands out here is that we should not get too attached to anything in this life because it will soon be gone.  An important point to grasp here is that we need to see life, particularly our life as God sees it, looking at life from God’s perspective.  “Our identity is in eternity and our homeland is heaven” (Rick Warren, 2002).

Remember that there is a solitary principle that stands out in being who God designed us to be: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever” (The Baptist Catechism).  The profound spiritual truth is that we must organize our lives by

keeping first things first.  Because life, as we know it, is  is not all that there is; it drives home the point that life will not end at the termination of physical life.  What the message of God says to us is that we  are made to last forever. Therefore, how we invest our life here and now is life is preparation for the next.  Consequently, when you live our lives in the shadow of this life and the light of eternity, your values change about how to be who God created you to be.

 God Gives us the Affirmation to Embrace our Purpose with a View of the Future in Sight by Faith.

 “ So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal”  (2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV).

We can capitulate to life or live life in hope of what God has prepared and realize that eternity offers only two choices: heaven or hell.  The message is that we are living in the light of eternity, which is a powerful concept taught throughout the Bible. That teaches aa poignant lesson, we should live each day so that if it were the last day of our lives, we would be ready for eternity. An important facet of being who God created us to be is that there are eternal consequences to everything to do on earth.

 Listen to the Words of Solomon: Cherish Life and Use it in the Light of Etenity...

You who are young, make the most of your youth.
Relish your youthful vigor.
Follow the impulses of your heart.
If something looks good to you, pursue it.
But know also that not just anything goes;
You have to answer to God for every last bit of it.

 (Ecclesiates. 11:9, The Message).

An important application to be made is that we will be rewarded for our faithfulness on earth and reassigned to do work that we will enjoy doing.  We won’t lie around on clouds with halos playing harps!  God has a purpose for your life on earth, but it doesn’t end here.Yes, I must serve God in my generation, but my service here is preparation for greater service to come because I was made for eternity.

 

Being Who God Created You to Be: Life on Earth Is a Temporary Assignment


life-is-temporaryIt is an interesting to watch how people in the 21st century occupy life with so much activity focused upon self-absorbed experiences that adds little lasting value to any future life.  Many people pursue a life without any defined existence coupled with a belief that life will go on forever as it is today.  In the culture of the church, this is most evident in the dramatic shift to blending contemporary idealism, music, and teaching.  At the same time, a predominant perspective emphasizes the importance of life in the present more so than past generations.  Some of the themes that characterized recent past generations are expressed in the songs people sang about heaven, eternal life, and overcoming trials in the present.  The obvious theme expressed resonates that that the experience and decisions made in daily life occurrences have a real connection to eternity.  The paradigm shift has resulted in a secularization of popular ideals moving life focus away from an eternal perspective to a collaboration of ideals about current existence. While the content of life today is important, there is the danger that God has been exiled to the corner of private religion and is not a consideration in the real nuts and bolts of everyday life or public dialogue.  In fact, there has been a fundamental shift in the emphasis away from thinking of life in eternal terms to a life of what matters now to the experience of me in the 21st century. As a result, this radical shift in attitude demonstrates a critical change in how personal meaning relates to daily life experience.

Furthermore, there is a deeply engrained preoccupation with significance built upon the immediate value of experience to self, instant gratification, and what personal benefit is gained. The system of this world-view is focused upon a temporal advantage to the immediate, rather than the long term benefit of future value. The result demonstrates a defective understanding of life obsessed with the present coupled to feelings of entitlement. The outcome that must be coped with is emptiness and an experience of building an occurrence of life filled with circular efforts to fill the void left by abdicating a life built upon eternal values. An important point of reference is the present day high focus upon pluralism in spiritual ideals and how values are re-spun from collaboration into a collective thought that express generic view of spirituality.  An example of pluralism in today’s culture can be seen through a view of life that is very much influenced by eastern philosophy. The predominant preponderance of ideas about life today has moved away from “sweet by and by” idealism to an emphasis upon the here and now.  The idea seems to support the notion of being effective with as little difficulty as possible. However, in the present atmosphere the importance of the cumulative experiences of life in being who God created you to be loses its meaning and purpose when life is reduced to the present momentary conditions of existence.

Consider the impact of valuing the present without consideration of the past and future.  The value that it expresses is that the measuring stick of life is the value of a present tense experience.  Unfortunately, an attitude about life that is disconnected from the past and detached from the future translates into a life that measures meaning through life in the moment.  Unfortunately, this particular view of life has transient, as well as, ever changing values, worth, and meaning that are never constant.  For instance, a factor in this way of thinking that may not be clearly understood limits every present moment to the temporary and in a moment be the past; then in another moment is the future.  Therefore, life only connected to the moment can only be measured by the value or wisdom the moment brings.  It is because life in the moment has no influence from the past and the present has no concern toward the future.  An example of a similar attitude is reflected upon in the writings of Buddhism, “The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly” (Buddha).  Other common expressions expressing similar ideas like, “Live, Love, and Laugh”.  The thought of this motto expresses a concern for the greatest good in present pursuit as a utopian maxim of the pleasure principle with no connection to the past with an absence of thought about an obtainable future.  It is just to relax in the moment and enjoy life to the fullest as if tomorrow has no significance.  The goal expressed is to produce the most pleasant existence that has vacated thoughts about the past complexities of life, what they mean in today’s experience, or what influence our life map has upon life in the future.  An application of this perspective summed up in a general way deposits a belief that purports life-philosophy, which states that a healthy balance in life is achieved by measuring existence in accordance with peace/harmony in the present moment. It is through a wise and sincere way of living that is disconnected with concerns about the past, as well as, an absence of worry about the future that makes life harmonious and peaceful.  However, the idea presented leaves a fundamental question about whom, how, or what determines what is wise without inclusion of a reflective process about life as a whole. The whole of life includes developmental experiences from the past and life experience today as a precursor to how life will be experienced in the future.

Considering the reality that every moment of life is a temporary assignment and life experiences are only here for a moment, it seems there is something larger that needs consideration.  For instance, examining life from a Christian point of view contextualizes life events in the terminology and perspective of a God.  The language and semantics of Christianity describes God as eternal, immutable, and not a momentary spiritual flash on the radar screen of time.  Consequently, when Jesus spoke of life that is potentially possible, He depicted life with words like eternal to describe life.

Listen to he words that Jesus spoke to those who listen to his message and believe in God.

“I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life.  They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life”. (John 5:24, New Living Translation)

Without a doubt, Jesus spoke of life as eternal, not just a momentary experience, or a fleeting existence.  One of the questions contained in the thoughts of Jesus about life relates to who is shaping your view of existence.  Therefore, the question that is important to understanding why people live in the moment instead of with an eternal perspective is: who or what will determine our view of the human experience?  When we break the question down into a personal challenge, it is important to know whether we are measuring life in the moment, the experience, or the pleasure or pain of life experience.  On the other hand, we need to determine if we really understand the temporal nature of life and how everything in the present will, one day be, immersed into everlasting life prepared before the foundation of the earth.  It is a progression of life provided for in Christ’s redemption provided on the Cross, realized through spiritual transformation, and actualized in a life of faith through practical sanctification.  The importance of the question is that it reveals a deeper issue of concern for Christians.  The concern is directed toward the content of a Christian world-view and the message about the transient nature of the past, present and future life in the grander scheme of God who created us to live through eternity.

Your identity is settled in eternity, and your homeland is heaven.

The answer to who God created us to be does not lay within the temporary assignment of this life, but in the eternal purpose of God. The life that God gives in the creative act of spiritual transformation is an abundant life.  Transformation through Christ provides the opportunity for a life of quality, but also, a life quantified by the eternity that God has designed.  Spiritual life is a sovereign work of grace that provides the pathway to life everlasting in a relationship forged by the spiritual birth.  Because life is a temporary assignment, it is difficult to find a lasting attachment or permanent identity in what is fading away every day.  When we come to the place of transformation and realize that who we are is not defined by an earthly tabernacle, but that the earthly tabernacle is the dress rehearsal for an eternity that is settled by the mediation of God to prepare us for eternity.

Earthly existence is compared to a tent that will one day be folded up and put away.

“For instance, we know that when these bodies of ours are taken down like tents and folded away, they will be replaced by resurrection bodies in heaven—God-made, not handmade—and we’ll never have to relocate our ‘tents again” (2 Corinthians 5:1, The Message).

The temporary will be replaced with the eternal and the permanent.  In the words of Paul, there is coming a day when the identity that has been formed in a fleshly existence will evaporate in the presence of what is eternal and reveals the true identity.  A new existence that will not be described by the temporary, but expressed in a descript identity revealing the person that God has uniquely prepared in a post human replacement of what we now see.  What we see now is temporary and what we will realize in translation is eternal and imperishable.  The point that is well taken is that our understanding of who God created us to be will be realized as we step into the existence that we earnestly groan for in our desire to be changed as we submit ourselves to the process of surrender to the true self.  What we realize in the present is that all of this that we struggle with is temporary and one day it will fold up and be put away for something far better and a life that is everlasting.

Earth is not our final home; we were created for something much better.

“But there’s far more to life for us. We’re citizens of high heaven! We’re waiting the arrival of the Savior, the Master, Jesus Christ, who will transform our earthy bodies into glorious bodies like his own” (Philippians 3:20-21).

Much of life is consumed with the efforts to make a better life in the present, but as Paul writes,”there’s far more to life for us”.  Something that is important to remember in all of the important things that we spend our time on is that this is not all there is and something far better is available.  It is available to provide hope in the present and expectation for a future beyond anything we can imagine.  Earthly life is only a temporary assignment and our real homeland is in the eternal purpose of God because our citizenship is in Heaven. An affirmation comes by “Realizing that life on earth is just a temporary assignment should radically alter your values [:] Eternal values, not temporal ones, should become the deciding factors for your decisions” (Warren 2002, p 50). Summing up the experience of our lives compared with earlier centuries, life has never been easier than it is today for most of the people in Western Civilization.  Life is filled with constant entertainment, amusement, and activity that accommodate an immediate and felt need for gratifying pleasure.  Considering all of the captivating attractions, attention-grabbing media entertainment, and pleasurable experiences available today, it is easy to forget that the pursuit of happiness is not the primary purpose for existence.

 What is the primary purpose for man in existence?

A reminder from the Baptist Catechism explains man’s primary purpose in an end state for existence, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.” A question that arises from man’s chief end is what does it mean to glorify God?  The term, “Glorify” does not mean make glorious because God is already glorious. Rather, it means to reflect or display as glorious. Other words you could use for “end” are “goal” or “purpose”. Therefore the “end or purpose” is to live in such a way that displays God’s purpose of grace in how we express who He has created us to become.

Glorifying God also implies using the resources, which grace has dispensed into our temporary assignment in this life.  In reference to this stewardship of glory and purpose, Paul gives the example of the end state of behaviors in life that is enabled by an attitude that is directed through purposeful living.  He says, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). The point of reference is that in whatever we do, it should reflect an end, goal, or purpose reflecting an outcome elevating His purpose in how He has created us individually.

The end state gives testimony to the sovereign plan of God to reveal Himself through our purposeful existence reflecting a life of worship and reverence.  Therefore, in a life of glorifying God there is satisfying pleasure of following the direction that enhances life’s purpose bringing spiritual satisfaction.  The object is to enjoy God and bring pleasure through knowing that life is aligned with the purpose of God for creation, which brings harmony to existence.

Listen to the Psalmist’s words,  “You make known to me the path of life, in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore”Psalm 16:11). The object is to understand that we are God’s people and the sheep of his pasture that are created by Him.  Even as Isaiah wrote, “everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made” (Isaiah43:7) reminds the reader of the sovereign God who actively created and called His sheep unto Him to live beyond the temporary assignment of today in a life of glorifying and enjoying the creator in a life of worship and reverence.

The pursuit of happiness in God is the purpose for which God made us and is what life is about. The man who pursues his happiness in God will find the attractions, media, and experiences of this life clanging bangles and contemptible bobbles whose attraction grows pale in comparison to the pleasure God offers to those who seek Him.

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Being Who God Created You to Be –The Reason for Existence (Part A)


Existence LightMany theories suggest a rationale for the existence of human life that offers explanations about the origins of life.  Accordingly, Christian apologists and theologians argue that the origin of life was through special creation.  In other words, God created life from the ex-nihilo with the dust of the earth. In the same creative act the life created was material and spiritual; therefore, creation was with purpose, design, and intentional.  However, while many Christians accept the fact of creation, there are variant ways that the post-creation experience of existence explained to support views of life development.  As a result, an important point to consider about creation is if God created human beings, then a logical assumption follows that God had a reason in existence and goals to be accomplished in His acts.

Some things to consider about existence:

For those who believe that the biblical story of creation is factual, it is important to recognize that God, not only created life, but He also sustains life.  Therefore, God has diagramed a divine purpose into human existence.  Unquestionably, purposeful creation reinforces a view of life that emphasizes the confidence that God is the central equation of existence.  In fact, purposeful creation provides a clear reason for existence and instills a logical equilibrium for life reflecting reasonable belief in God as creator, sustainer, and source of human life.  Consequently, God’s intention is at the center of the initial act of creating life and is the active force before and after everything occurring in life.

An important model from a Christian world-view providing definition to this proposition is intelligent design, which “is a theory that rejects the theory of natural selection, arguing that the complexities of the universe and of all life suggest an intelligent cause in the form of a supreme creator.  It’s all for him” (intelligent design) .  Making application of belief in intelligent design in creation presupposes that God existed before creation and is the designer, as well as, catalyst for design and creation of the world where humans exist.  As a result, the basic assumption in the argument for a supreme creator suggests reason for creation lay within the creator of humans and not with the creation.  Therefore, intelligent design implicates a watershed principle that God is the imperative reason for existence of all living creatures and inanimate matter.  Consequently, among those who believe in creation, recognizing God at the center of all creation moderates a rationale for life on based purpose –design not on random chance, which sustains belief in purposeful existence and an objective through existence.

Making sense of the rationale for existence:

On the other hand, if you are the person who believes natural selection governs existence or the result of biological migration from one life form to the next, here is something to consider.  It will be hard to envision any reason for existence other than the biological, physical, and random events in present experience of life contained within the choices and goals we set for accomplishment.  Within this point of view, a central theme is that humanity is at the center of existence.  Therefore, life purpose finds expression through the power of the will, beliefs, and choices exercised to create purposeful or meaningful existence.  Indeed, it is a view of life, which puts forward an opinion that the substance of life is like a game of biological and humanistic chance.  A belief in humanistic philosophy (4.Humanism) holds a very limited hope for effective outcome without the good fortune from choices.  As a result, life experience is lessens in scope to random choice predicted by biology, individual choices, and timing of events.  The outcome is a life with a sort of a fatalistic outlook where human ingenuity, genetic structure, and random events forecast an inevitable life within certain circumstances.  Undoubtedly then, existence functions in a manner that is limited to a subset of systems on different levels at work in human existence.  Therefore, existence, by this definition, is an existence within a given culture, time, and environment that is limited to humanity apart from intelligent design.  Unquestionably, the rationale for existence is reduced to a quantifiable product of random events intersecting with biological human experience in a set of unknowable variables in life.

In contrast to humanism, the content of conservative Christian Theology advocates for meaning and purpose intricately related to God’s intention within His Divine reason for human existence.  The contrast to natural selection is the point of view within Christian Theology This point of view states unequivocally that life is a unique creation of God with divinely inspired reason as a basis for existence.  To be sure, at a very basic level, the elementary reasoning communicates that there is an intended purposeful relationship.  It is an intended –purposeful relationship revealed through the redemptive power of a relationship to God in Jesus Christ resulting in a transformational life that is both spiritual and eternal.  Consequently, the work of God performed in Christ to achieve a purpose that biological function cannot achieve for man at his highest level of functioning, chances, or choices.

Consider what John, the Apostle said about God’s reasoning in existence:

In contrast to a secular world-view, there is a well-reasoned rationale within the Christian world-view for believing that life and existence are not an accident of biology, but rather a product of reasoning originating with God.  In support of this perspective, John 1:1 refers to the Logos of God, which delineates, “a word, being the expression of a thought …a broad term meaning, ‘reasoning expressed by words”.  Furthermore, John 1:1, ff. says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.”  An essential conclusion in the record of John is that the reasoning of God is the rationale beneath “making” all things. Therefore, in John’s record, the preceding idea that predates creation is the Logos (reasoning) of God.

Accordingly, it is reasoning expressed in the choice of words selected to portray God’s concept that describe purpose and design in creation.  For this reason, the selection of words and arrangement of concept through language uses a picture portrayed that describes Christ, as the reason that stands above.  Furthermore, Christ’s description is with language indicating His preexistence before and beyond time as the very substance of creation, as well as, creation that initiated the concept of existential time.  Indeed, the suggestion is that reasoning by words command the interpretation that delineate that the Logos of God predated time, creation, the earth, and existence of humanity.  Without a doubt, by words and concept His reasoning express a purpose –design by God presented through creation and revealed in the disclosure of Christ.  In support of this, John asserts several important factors about God’s reasoning.

First, a fundamental reason declared by John is that the purpose for creation correlates to God’s purpose in Christ in a cohesive concept and executed plan.  The concept and plan reveal redemption as objective truth, which preexisted time and human creation as an essential reason within the plan of God for creation.  Therefore, the logical rationale introduced by John is that the activity in creation is as central to God’s purpose in creation, as redemption is to God’s purpose in Christ.  Therefore, John concludes that creation is not a random accident of molecular mutation, but a purposeful expression of the creator revealing His purpose in the creation demonstrating a rationale for revealing God’s purpose in redemption.

Obviously, the point made is that His Spirit intimately connects God’s general purpose in human creation to God’s specific purpose in drawing people into a relationship with a sovereign and eternal God that brings glory to Him.  When John speaks of Christ, He speaks of Him as the light of men, as well as, the light of the world.  In consideration of the light that is spoken of, a “light, a source of light, radiance” that brings spiritual illumination to existence in an understanding of God’s glorious purpose for the believer.  Therefore, the life that God purposes through Christ is a life motivated by a spiritual life that a believer grows into through the process of discipleship and personal development.  Accordingly, the object of God’s design is switching from a life lived for self interest to a life that is lived by God’s design being revealed through a life of surrender, sacrifice, and service.

Living For God’s Glory Is The Greatest Achievement We Can Accomplish With Our Lives.

In like manner, the position that a person must take in life leads to the place where the light comes on and revelation enables spiritual awakening to come.  It is in that moment that believers come alive spiritually because there is a realization that life is not about following some biological urge or environment conditioning to achieve some temporal goal.  On the other hand, the awareness comes that the central reason for existence suddenly focuses upon God and His plan.  From that moment on, everything that happens in our existence is because of Him, by Him, and through Him, and for His glory.  As a result, life importance and events translate into one simple statement, “That it is all about Him”.  For this reason, Theologians label this a theocentric view of existence, which situates God at the center of everything in our world.  What is evident is the only sound reason for existence and the only meaningful way to organize life into a purposeful existence centers in a relationship with God.  Consequently, in this moment that connects unique creation and the ultimate goal of life leads back to the principle that is man’s chief aim, “To bring glory to God and enjoy him forever” (Baptist Catechism).  Consequently, the rationale of God centered faith and trust infuses life with intentionality to fulfill the purpose of creation.

References

intelligent design. (n.d.). Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. Retrieved February 08, 2013, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/intelligent design

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