Finding your purpose this year!
MBC, Small group lesson, January 5, 2014
Do you know your purpose in life? How would you define purpose?
Here is how you can find out – ask yourself:
Are you devoted to yourself or to God?
Are you a person who has direction, goals, and ambitions in life? If so, do they match up with God’s precepts? If not, why?
When have you been filled with purpose the most?
Purpose means knowing who we are in Christ and what He has done for us, then acting out our relationship and redemption by being obedient to God’s will. It is the pursuit of God so He becomes the driving force, inspiration, motivation, and reason for all we do in life. That is, we devote our life, character, virtue, Spiritual Gifts, abilities, and call so the best can be realized in all people and all situations. The meaning of life is not about career, money, or power; it is about relationships and developing character. These are the only real things you can take with you to Heaven.
• Here are positive examples from Scripture:
2 Chron. 26: 3-5;
Apathy, Meaningless Pursuits, Idleness, and a Lack of Direction in Life are the opposites. Running from the call of our Lord will only leave us bankrupt and destitute spiritually as well as leaving us with no meaning in life. When we seek to fill our life with meaningless pursuits instead of seeking God, especially as Christians, it will cause major stress and trouble in every aspect of our relationships, career, and life in general. Judas was not willing to abide; thus when his time came, he failed. His purpose became self-focused rather than Christ-focused, causing him to betray his Lord. So, he fell away.
What happens to our relationship with God and with others when we are indecisive or idle with others, refusing to make goals or have a direction in life?
• Here are negative examples from Scripture:
2 Chron. 22:1-12;
In what situation did you fail to be Purposeful when you should have?
Purpose in Scripture is usually stated as seeking after God or after God’s heart. This is not about salvation, because in salvation, it is God who seeks us. Rather, Purpose is our determination to place Him first in our lives and allow Him to lead (2 Tim. 1:8-12). As you can see from the Scriptures, Paul was a man of purpose, a man on a mission from God. He knew who he was in Christ and he knew in what direction God was leading him. Without argument or fear, Paul ventured forward in the purpose God had for him. He is a prime example for us today (1 Tim. 2:1-7)! Examples of the opposite of this were the wicked kings in Israel who sought their own plans and ways. They sought idols, neglecting and even fighting against the God who saved and redeemed them. We can see a clear pattern in the books of First and Second Kings where the kings who sought God were blessed and the people prospered. When the kings sought themselves and idols, they became wicked and evil, and the people suffered. (Remember, the people also had the choice to serve God; their punishments came to them by their own will and hand.) There is never an excuse to negate our Lord!
A lot has been said about what the purpose or meaning of life is. Some say the purpose is up to each person to figure out, while others say it is what people do after they find out what their interests are. It is not enough just to live; we have to have something to live for, a hope and a direction that is imbedded in us as a prime purpose. But, Jesus gives us a clear picture of His purpose for us, which is to acknowledge Him as LORD and worship Him. He is our meaning; He is our purpose (Matt. 16:13-20; John 14-15). Having a purpose in life-a good one that is-gives us the key to make something of our lives beyond our own situation and dreams. Real Christian purpose is rooted in our faith by Christ’s work on the cross. He is our purpose and the meaning of our life, both here on earth and for the life to come. When we have received His confession and have made it our own, then we can confess His wonder to others and God will use His Spirit to empower that confession as a small part of His revelation. Our daily life at home, work, school, and as we are out and about will be more real and impacting, because we will have a life that is worthwhile and have something to do and say (Phil. 2:5-8).
How can I do this?
1. Focus on Christ as LORD. Set aside time each day to focus on the purpose for your growth and maturity (Psalm 119:130; John 4: 23-24; 15), and then make it a priority. In doing so, you will be able to “go for it” with passion and vigor. Make sure it lines up with His precepts and not your wishes! Let Christ transform you through His Word and prayer. Attitude is essential!
2. We must learn to yield to the Lordship of our God and not to the desires of our will. It means following His plans, not our own, obeying His will, not our own. When we do this, the discipleship process can begin. Our maturity and character development will commence and further develop. However, when we refuse, we will be the strife and conflict that gives Christianity a “black eye.” We will be the problem rather than the solution (John 3:30; Gal. 2:20-21).
3. Discipleship is a lifestyle. As we step into the lives of others, the purpose for loving them is simply because He first loved us; then, we become instruments of His grace. This can start by our realizing that Jesus “authors” our faith, and teaches us how to run the race according to God’s will, His glory, His worship, and His purpose. Thus, we gain a deeper intimacy with our Lord as our Commander and Friend, as our God and our King and the provider of Grace, as our Love, and our reason for being. In His purposes, we find real contentment, joy, and fulfillment! This is summed up in this adage: we cannot be doing the work of God unless we are the people of God. We have to be growing before we can have a direction and before we can be effective!
4. We must realize our circumstances are temporary. Our life here and now is not the ultimate purpose for our lives or God’s plan. We are in the process of learning and growing. Our situations and relationships will grow and change, while new opportunities will be brought to us; but, most importantly of all, our ultimate meaning of life will have eternal treasure and results. We will be able to take our eyes off our problems, place them on Christ, and follow His lead for more impact and meaning in life that will bring more hope and contentment (James 1).
5. Purpose will bring you a life that has a reason to it. God created you as special and unique; He gave you talents and abilities, and brings you opportunities to use them. Purpose will help you see these aspects, His call, and your prospects. Then you will be willing and able to put your faith into action for His glory. The side effects? A life that is more joyful and content! Yes, there will be ups and downs, but with the Creator on your side, any plans you may have had become insignificant; they would not bring you even close to a life that is meaningful!
Purpose has hope; it allows us to live with the perspective of eternity, so we are not bogged down in our dire circumstances. This moves us from the complacent Christian life to the purposeful Christian life, from just playing church to really being a church. It comes from understanding that God’s purpose and plan is to make us His children (1 John). He is the good Parent who guides His children and protects them. At the same time, He does not over-protect them so they lose out on life’s opportunities to please Him, to the ultimate good. Here, we are temporarily looking to the hope we have now and to come. Christ will see us through if we trust and obey to be in His way. Imagine the possibilities your life will bring to others and bring Him glory!
When we are growing, we will become contagious for the faith. We will then be able to witness because we will have something to say and something to model that people will want. When we are growing, we will become the Church that Christ designed, mobilized in Him to be welcoming and connecting to others for Him. This is the Church Triumphant! Let us, as the Church Triumphant, adhere to His call and eagerly follow. Let us apply our faith and watch the growth and successes that result, and of being contagious to others! It all comes down to the decision to either make our faith real and impacting and putting God’s fingerprints on others, relinquishing our pride so we can learn, grow, tell, and teach others, or else planting our rears in the pew, thus making our butt print in that pew our only impact, an impact of a life of apathy and meaninglessness! Let us make sure our impact comes from a life transformed and carried on to the people around us! Let us follow Him and be His fishers of men (Matt.4:18-19)!
Think through the steps you need to take to put Purpose into action in a specific instance.
How is God working to change your purpose to His? What needs to take place for this to happen?