Summary: Actually living with purpose will free us for God’s work.
Living with Purpose
Purpose Driven Life #40
June 19, 2004
Today, we conclude our series of 40 messages on the theme of living with purpose. We have taken a great deal of time to consider the five biblical purposes God sets before us, and to think about ways these apply in personal and church life. I believe that nothing can be greater than yielding ourselves to God’s purposes, and then seeing God work. In Christianity, it has become common to focus on self, actually, and look for God’s purpose for ’my’ life, or special mission, and the like for the individual life. We do not need to do that and we always fall short when the focus falls on ’me’ or the individual. However, when the focus is on God, and on yielding to His instruction, His standards, His laws, then we cannot and will not go wrong. He, in his time, will lead us to the individually important focus we might need. First of all, though, we must rise above ourselves and yield to God.
According to Acts 13.36- David- the ancient king and ’sweet psalmist of Israel’- served the purpose of God in his own generation. He didn’t go out looking for personal purpose, but he yielded to God’s purpose. Well…when he did focus on himself, he got into a lot of trouble, as we know in incidents with regard to numbering people and personal pleasure with Bathsheba, for instance. When he got his eye off God, he went down. The same holds true for each of us. It’s hard, I admit, to keep our eyes on God and it’s so very easy to find reasons to turn our sight away from God. However, when we do, we go down, down, down, and our goal is to arrest any downward spiral in our lives and to rise to whatever purpose God has in mind.
Proverbs 19.21- tells us that we have many plans in our hearts, but it is God’s purpose that prevails. That’s what we want to seek, and that’s what we’ve sought this past more than 10 months.
Jesus’ brother, James, tells us something significant in:
Jas.1.23, 25- we have to look into God’s word and continue in it- do it- and we will know blessings at the highest level- not blessings that are temporary, but that are permanent and ongoing.
What we’ve heard, and we’ve heard a lot and many of you have read along, too, having picked up the book upon which these messages have been based. Now what do we do?
John 13.17- Jesus says something that parallels what James tells us. If we’ve heard, now we need to do. Otherwise, we’ve wasted our time.
So, let’s review the five biblical purposes for our lives. I’ve 3x5 cards for you, yet again.
1. You, and I, were made for God and by God. We are not chance happenings in a chance world. We are in a world that was designed and are here by design. I don’t understand how that works, of course, and neither do you. In fact, it’s easier for us to assume certain chance, I think, but that only limits and diminishes God and we don’t need to do that. So, our first purpose is to respond to the One who made us. We were made to worship.
Eph.3.17- we want God more and more at home in our hearts. If He is, then we’ll respond to that.
So, to fulfill this first purpose, first of all, what have you done, in worship, to adjust yourself more to God? Have you done, or have you resisted? (In this regard, remember that worship is not simply what we do here. But, remember, that this is one venue. Do you worship more wholly and more openly? We continue to have disucssions about worship styles, and we tend to resist openness in worship. I’ve always thought we are supposed to follow leaders, to some degree, and cannot understand why more of us don’t try to allow the emotion of worship to impact us/you more. I get into discussions, yet, about people raising hands to God in worship, as if this is something unusual or awful. Why don’t you follow the example of those who do, and begin to connect, even physically more, with God? Don’t be restrained- be unrestrained more. Look at David’s example of dancing with abandon- not at our societal fearfulness of emotion- as your example.)
That being said, write down what you will do in order to grow in worship in this next year? Maybe you need to write down a commitment to a certain 15 or 30 minutes of time with God each day. Maybe you need to commit to, at least weekly, turning on some wonderful worship music and just kneeling and praying through words of a song or two- I’ve done this on several occasions and the tears can flow, even- nothing wrong with that. God made emotion and, even as we approach camp, I admit that, shamelessly, I will endorse anything that will help youth connect with God- or that will help you connect with God. (When we did, at the Conference, what we did here three weeks back in Lord’s Supper- I don’t believe there was a dry eye in the house- and so many commented on how meaningful that communion was- with candles/prayers, etc.)