Summary: Will we choose purpose over popularity. The answer makes all the difference in the world.

Who are we? Basically, we are the sum total of all the choices we’ve made in our lives up until this point. Granted, when we were children, there were choices made on our behalf, but since we’ve become adults we have to own our choices. Who do we want to be tomorrow? The answer to that question is dependent upon the choices we make today. Our choices matter.

I’m grateful to Pastor Craig Groeschel from Life Church in Oklahoma. The framework for this message series originated with his staff. When I was listening to their work, I thought that would be good for us to share, as well.

Over the next five weeks, we’ll take a look at what I believe are the most significant choices we’ll make in life. They’re not about who we’ll marry, or where we’ll live, or what type of work we’ll do, but about those basic choices we all have to make that are core to the values we espouse in life. We’ll look at control versus surrender, discipline over regret, important or urgent and life over death. We start this morning, though, with the choice of purpose or popularity.

Wouldn’t it be nice to live in a world where everyone liked you? It wouldn’t matter what you did, everyone would think you were absolutely awesome. It is what pastors strive for, but what we’ve discovered is, if we stay long enough, we’ll eventually make everyone happy. We make half the people happy when we come, and we make the other half happy when we leave. Let me burst everyone’s bubble. We live in the real world, and no matter what we do, we’ll never be liked by everyone. Unfortunately, we all make choices that seem to make us think otherwise.

What if, on the other hand, we were to wake up every morning with only one purpose in mind, and that is to please Jesus Christ? What if we could wake up every day with a purpose and a passion to do what we were created to do? Wouldn’t that be awesome? I want us to know today that it is possible. Not only is it possible, I believe it is what Jesus wants for all of us. It means, however, that the choice we make today (and everyday) is to choose purpose over popularity.

Here’s our problem, though. Because of sin, our default setting is to choose popularity. We want to know if people like us and what they think of us. Because of sin, we lose sight of our purpose. We lose sight of what we were made for.

I took a break from Facebook for Lent. Know what I discovered? I discovered that I could live without it. I also discovered that I became addicted to the “likes.” I was always checking to see who (or if anyone) liked my posts. I was literally addicted to being liked! I hope that doesn’t describe too many people. Oh, for you it may not be reflected in the “likes” you get on Facebook, but in your desire to know if you’re liked because of the job you have or the house you keep. We want to know if we fit in, if we’re good enough, or if we measure up. We spend our time trying to find meaning in the approval of others, when we’re missing the very thing God created us for. Living for the approval of others keeps us from the purpose of God. Because our choices matter, the challenge we have is to choose purpose over popularity.

The writer to the Hebrews tells us the brief version of Moses’ story. He tells us Moses chose to live on purpose rather than having the approval of others. Moses, you may remember, was born to a Hebrew family at a time when Pharaoh ordered all the Hebrew male children be slain. Moses’ mother fashioned a basket from reeds and hid Moses in the Nile River. Pharaoh’s daughter discovered the child and adopted him into Pharaoh’s family. For forty years, Moses lived in the lap of luxury with the best education, the best clothes, the best opportunities that life had to offer. I do love the way the writer says it:

24 It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin (Hebrews 11: 24-25 NLT).

Moses chose purpose. He chose to answer God’s call on his life rather than living in the palace with all the pleasures and popularity that goes with it. Granted, God had a BIG purpose in mind for Moses. Unfortunately, that’s where we get hung up. We get stumped in grasping God’s BIG purpose in our lives…am I supposed to be a missionary or cure cancer or something…rather than focusing on the day in and day out faithfulness in being a disciple of Jesus Christ. If we’re faithful living day-by-day, living on purpose today, we’ll eventually discover God’s BIG purpose. Actually, we’ll wake up one day and discover we’re probably already living it.

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