Finding your purpose

Is there a purpose – part 2

You might like to read this first…

I left the last post at the rather discouraging point of saying “That I gave up”. And in some ways I did.

As I grow older, and hopefully wiser, I come to realise that in those earlier days I had been seeking the answer to my “Is there a purpose” question in the wrong way. I needed to raised my head, go above the nitty gritty and look down. How best to do that. return to scripture of course.

He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water John 7 vs 38

God in His wisdom is more concerned with creating the image of Christ in us. I have thought for years that God usually has a different agenda to me. We have been set into freedom, not into law. We need to come at this “Purpose” question within that knowledge. He wants to create the image of Christ in us – so that we are walking in “Peace, joy, love” and so on. His desire, it seems to me, is for us to be so walking in intimacy with Him.

My wife and I started out as Anglicans. We often joke about “Good old Anglican balance” – somehow they are skilled at holding two seemingly different ideas together. And here is another one.

The bible clearly teaches that there are specific things that God has prepared for us to do. Perhaps things that only you or I can do. But as important as all that sounds (and it is!) we also have to remember that God is molding us into the very image of Christ. Sometimes (and perhaps its nearly always) then God will be more concerned about how much “peace, patience, kindness” and so on is flowing out of our “bellies” to the world around us than weather we work here or there.

Thats’s the “Freedom” that God for us.

How utterly wonderful.

Finding your purpose

Is there a purpose – part 1

More than a decade ago I went through a phase of trying to discover my purpose. Why had God put  me here? Was it purely just as a training ground for what happened in the hereafter? Was there some sort of divine reasoning behind me? Is there more than “The chief aim of man is to know God and enjoy Him forever”.

I have to say that in my nearly 30 years as a Christian this is one question that just keeps on coming.  I don’t think I have ever satisfactorily answered it. Sometimes, I reckon, just get on with life. You know, walk the dog, build web applications, spend time with my family. Other times I am struck by a few verses in the bible that seem to suggest that there is more. Its not that those things I listed, and lots of others are bad – of course they aren’t! Its just that the question wont go away – does God have something specific that He wants me to do? I wonder am I alone in thinking like this?

Ephesians 2:10 says:

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

But what are they? And if that verse means more than the general “Stuff of life” how do you find out?

Prov 25:2 says:

It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.

The bible says that God is not the God of confusion. But there are things that God conceals from us, and we have to search for them. Sometimes God needs to know that we are really serious about something before He reveals it to us.

One day we will all meet our Maker. I don’t want to get there – how do I say this – and discover that there was so much more that God had planned for me. I believe that God Has almost “Bound” Himself to fulfill His promises, but He is not bound to fulfill our destiny – that is down to us.

Some years ago I read a couple of books by the same author about discovering your purpose. He believed that we each have a a God given purpose, that we each can be “Great” as part of the divine destiny that God has for each of us. However, despite all this, he went to great lengths to state that sadly, most people reading the book would not discover their purpose. They would, for one reason or another, just give up. In response I gritted my teeth, girded my loins, set my face forward… and gave up.

But… that’s not the end of the story!

Finding your purpose

Believe in the sent one

When all is said and done…

“The work of God for you” replied Jesus, is to believe in the one whom He has sent to you” – John 6. Philips

The disciples had just asked Jesus “What must we do to carry out the work of God”.

On the surface its a really good question, seemingly. The disciples are expressing their desire to carry out the work of God. Sure, they would have mixed motives. But lets be generous to them – they had just seen Jesus feed 5000 men, walk upon the raging sea, and the boat they were in mysteriously transported to their destination.

The people had responded to the dispaly of the miraculous by wanting to make Him king, and so Jesus had gone off on His own. Its at this point that, after the searching disciples had found Him that they ask Jesus their question – “What must we do to carry out the work of God? ”

Jesus had a different agenda. We must learn to hear His agenda through the rush of our own. I am with the disciples. I want to carry out the work of God. And I would have said that the work of God is all that “Your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven” stuff. But, as so always is the case, I would be looking at from a fleshy perspective. Like them, I wanted to be going out all guns blazing, making a difference, seeing the captives go free.

But Jesus has a difference idea – the work of God for the disciples, at that time, was nothing more than to believe in the “Sent One”. To look at Jesus and to believe Him. Nothing more. No “Go and do this” or “Take this ministry”. The other stuff clearly came – look at the disciples later on – their relationship with Jesus changes (servants to friends), and after Pentecost they see dramatic warfare. But it looks like, at that stage the emphasis was on “believe in the one that God has sent to you.”

You don’t have to be “Mr Discerning” to sense in the church a great frustration at its powerlessness. We hear of great break through, but its always somewhere else. Every so often Here, we get “glimpses of glory”. The frustration is everywhere – in the homegroup I run, in the Healing Group I take part in, on podcasts I listen to. Some people call this “Holy Frustration” which has always seemed like an odd idea to me.

So, maybe for us our work at the moment is to “Believe in the Sent One”. Could it be, that we can’t move on to inherit the land until we do this? Might it be beneficial for us to take a step back, and check on our “Belief in the Sent One”? Could it be that we are tyring to build the house without its foundations, or on the sand…