Ephesians 1:7-10 (NIV)
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
Well, it happens every year. I try to keep in step with each day of the holiday season. But when the list is marked off through Christmas, it is the New Year that begins to burn with me. The last several years have been a very different experience as I believe that the Lord completely undid me in ways that are only evident now. The layers of my past, present and future seemed to be set. I loved the Lord and served Him the best way that I knew how. What I didn’t realize was that in midst of it all, I had somehow taken over control. I heard Him in whispers and saw Him in glimpses but my flesh only allowed me to think that I was fulfilling my purpose in life. It afforded me the comfort of complacency and I gladly took it. Sadly, we do not realize the rut we are in until in the valley comes and we cannot get out or the mountain before us is too tall to climb. It is then that we realize our need for Christ is much greater than we ever realized. We see our wandering for what it is. Stagnancy stifles shaping and molding that takes us from Glory to Glory in the Presence of God. The soul once passionately on fire dims to an ember. We exchange humanity for Christianity and religion changes us into the social mold of the modern church. We “do” but stop being who God created us to be. With this New Year approaching and our annual Daniel Fast approaching, my cry to the Lord is to fulfill His Purpose in my life. I am releasing control…yet again…to take up my cross and follow Jesus. I want to live on purpose again…God’s Purpose for my life.
The first stop on this journey back to where I belong begins at the Cross. I have a head start on things as the Lord has done a magnificent work in my family’s lives over the last couple of months. Although some hard choices had to be made, it resulted in a freedom that I have not felt since my return to Jesus all those years ago. Baggage and burdens that I did not even know I was carrying instantly lifted and discarded when I encountered Jesus in a worship service with just a handful of people. Who knew the wind of that moment in the Presence of God would reignite such passion in my smoldering heart? But it did. What lay beneath all the weight was purpose, not just anyone’s purpose but my purpose. God created me with a purpose. I am not an accident. I am not a lost cause. I am significant to the Kingdom of God. God is good. I have determined this to be true. His Intentions concerning me are pure even when life is hectic, chaos breaks out and all hell breaks loose in our life. It doesn’t change who He is, what Jesus did for us, or the potential in us. It only means that the fire of refinement is making its way through so we will come alive, be satisfied and thrive in the Presence of God. Have you lost sight of your purpose today? Do you feel like your relationship with God is not working out as you planned? You are probably right. Do you need a change?
Romans 8:28-30 (NIV)
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
When my girls were younger, they fell in love with American Girl dolls. Their infatuation was fun but costly as dolls generally start around $100.00. The clothing and accessories are more than their own wardrobe and such. When our youngest daughter wanted dolls like her sister, I decided to purchase one of the knockoffs from the local department store. They sold for about a fourth of the price. When they each received their new friends on Christmas day, each was satisfied. But over the coming weeks, it became apparent why the American Girl was so pricey compared to the substitute. The AG doll looked like the day she came home to us even though she had been played with, hair brushed and restyled repeatedly and outfits changed a hundred times. The other doll was haggard, frayed and not holding up at all. The only difference in the beginning seemed to be the cost. But in the end, what did it matter when she stopped playing with her doll?
People don’t want to pay the price to achieve purpose in life because after all life is too short to waste. Purpose takes time. It also takes dedication, hard work and commitment. We don’t want to give our all just that which we are comfortable with and expect God to do miracles with it. God has a plan and purpose for our life shaped with a future and hope. It is for our good. (Jeremiah 29:11) If you stop there, you miss the secret to such a life. It is accomplished by following Jesus wholeheartedly. (Jeremiah 29:13) It means surrendering all of our life not some of it and trusting the Lord to do what He said He would. It is a terrible risk in the eyes of this world. However, to those who are willing to give Jesus their all, good things come to those who wait even those who do so reluctantly or without a choice. Faith makes the difference our wait time and outcomes in life. I can try to make things happen or I can wait on the Lord allowing Him to do His Will.
Proverbs 20:5 (NIV)
The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.
God has hidden purpose in our heart. It is called Eternity. (Ecclesiastes 3:11) We are also given the freedom to choose between life and death naturally and eternally. Just because we choose not to believe something does not reduce its credibility if it is, in fact, the truth. For example, I can say that I do not believe fire is hot and thrust my hand into it. I am going to get burned no matter what I believe. I can also stand in the garage and declare that my car is a Range Rover but it will not change my Honda Pilot into anything other than what it is. We need to know the Lord. We must discover His Ways. We must live on purpose. God’s Purpose.
The Word of God says that Eternity is “hidden” in our heart. Makes sense when Proverbs says that “the purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters.” Of course they are. The Lord hid them from our enemy who seeks to steal, kill and destroy our purpose. He wants to rob us of our destiny. He wants to stop the Glory to God released when people find that purpose and choose to live in it. “One who has insight draws them out.” Who better than our Creator to reveal our purpose?
Isaiah 46:8-10 (NIV)
“Remember this, keep it in mind, take it to heart, you rebels. Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’”
If you do not think this Word I am sharing is for you, a word of caution. For those who profess to be believers, this word absolutely is for you just as much as me. The idea that we have it all together is a farce. The enemy of our soul wants us to think that purpose can be achieved before we step foot into Heaven. Again, simply not true. Heaven is our fulfillment to step from this world into Eternity and be received is the purpose hidden in our heart. Read the Word. Seek the Lord. Pray. Do whatever you can to hear His Voice because the lie of the enemy is overtaking you. Until our churches are experiencing mass conversions, revivals, signs, wonders and miracles, we are not achieving our purpose. Until people are drawn to us rather than abused and offended by religious tradition and oversight by believers who “do” their religious tasks but do not love like Jesus – we remain powerless and purposeless. To think that this can be accomplished any other way than facedown before our Savior and Lord is ridiculous. The Power and Purpose in us is Jesus. He sets us free so we can unlock the hearts and minds of others by showing, expressing and living His Love. We cannot do this consumed with ourselves.
Romans 9:20-21 (NIV)
But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?
If my car stops running right, I take it to the mechanic for repairs. I am not about to crawl under the hood and touch a thing. I know nothing other than how to check the oil and fill the wiper fluid. Back to the shack for me when my purpose is stalled and life lacks meaning. The Potter is in His House ready to mold me and shape me to fulfill more of the purpose hidden in the deep waters of my heart. He will not force me to come but the door is always open. Molding and shaping is uncomfortable. I have a gym membership but lately have not made the time or effort to go. I cannot blame the gym for not being open or doing its part. It is all on me. I must also take responsibility for my spiritual growth and maturity by bringing my life to the Cross each day every day for the Lord’s Instruction, Direction, Correction and Restoration. His Mercy provides me peace that I will not be broken but fixed in Jesus Name.
You will never find your purpose or experience complete satisfaction outside the Will of God. We can choose to live our own life and do our own thing and settle for the good life it may or may not provide. But you will never know complete contentment or the fulfillment of satisfaction without a relationship with God the Father through Jesus the Son.
2 Corinthians 5:4-5 (NIV)
For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
Today as I contemplate the coming year, I ask you to do the same. The purpose in us is shrouded in flesh somedays it is restrictive as the Spirit of God works within us. Anything less than God’s Best is compromise. Anything less than God’s Way is rebellion. To have all that the Lord has promised and to fulfill His Purpose will require all of you. You must decide if the price is too high for satisfaction and decide to accept substitutions. The enemy will readily provide. Personally, I love the Peace of God that comes from doing His Will. 2015 will be the year that I almost gave up. I don’t want to admit that but the price of faith and keeping confident hope took me to the edge of myself and ultimately led to my complete undoing. I felt isolated. I was done. I didn’t want to fight the good fight of faith anymore. What would be the next test? How hot would the fire of refinement be? Would it cost me something more precious to me that I could survive giving? Jesus didn’t rebuke me when I came. He didn’t chide me for knowing better. He simply embraced me. He lovingly and carefully removed all the weights and burdens that were holding His Beloved down. He dusted my off wrapped me in righteousness again, poured peace, joy and love in my heart to overflowing. He reminded me of my purpose and my heart set fire again. There is no peace like the Peace of God. It has spread like wildfire through our family. Change is all around us. To God be the Glory. What about you? Is your fire just an ember? Has love turned lukewarm or even run cold? Are your burdens just too heavy to make it to the Cross? Oh friend, run, walk or crawl but come! Your purpose is so much greater than the tent you currently live in. It is what keeps pushing you to get up, keep going, and finish the race. It may not be easy. It will always be worth it. My life is worth nothing and I will not be satisfied until I live my whole life for the Glory of God and fulfill the purpose Christ has for me.
Isaiah 55:10-11 (NIV)
As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.