Romans 8:28-30 (NLT) And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.
I am a dreamer. Like Joseph, I get these crazy dreams and notions from God that are real and relevant long before fulfillment. So close I can touch it, I lunge for it and just like my friend, end up face down in a pit somewhere. For today’s purposes, let’s call the process of purpose the pits. No really – my humanity hates the process of purpose that leads me to that which God has planned. I desire the results but buck my way through each step. The enemy has a purpose, too. He wants to steal, kill and destroy every good thing God has predestined for my life. He wreaks havoc in the midst of my process digging pits, creating bondage, telling lies, and moving me back and forth from the edge of fulfillment back into the realm of failure. He cannot physically move me. He creates obstacles that at times seem too high to climb. Mountains of circumstances that cannot be overcome. He release storms of situations that like waves on the beach erode our faith turning it to fear, doubt and uncertainty. Yet still when all else fails we have this promise to hold on to – “and we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to their purpose for them.”
I am a dreamer who just fell into the pit…again. I know the dream that God has placed in my heart and labeled it purpose. I reached for it. I am going after it. However, this is not the palace. The happily-ever-after that came with the vision. It has been hard. It has been difficult. It has been incomprehensible. Yet I know what God told me. I know that He is faithful. I know that no matter where I am He is the Lord to whom I have surrendered my life. I know that He has called me to do greater things than I am doing right. I know that I have greater purpose than evident in my life at this moment. I choose to live by what I know or succumb to what I see.
It’s funny as I was praying last night, I looked at the details of my life. It is a good one. God has blessed our family. If He did not do one more thing for us but only remained with us, it would be more than enough to sustain me for the rest of my days. I have a dream. I have seen a vision. It is marked with the label of purpose and defined by fulfillment that is just too intriguing to let go of. But why is it so hard to achieve? In the beginning of our relationship with the Lord, it is common to come to Him for that which is already provided. He supplies everything we need in life including that which is needed to live a godly life. We are fully cared for in our current state. However, as we begin to pursue Jesus, our desire begins to shift from those things that we can see, feel and touch to satisfaction of our soul and fulfillment of purpose. Each successful foray of faith produces a need, want and desire for more. It is intoxicating. It is addictive. His Love really is better than life. His Spirit satisfies us body, mind, and spirit when given free rein in His Holy Inhabitation. The Lord is calling us right standing to live for the Glory of God which will always result in more than we ask or imagine.
Philippians 2:14-16 (NLT) Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless.
When I get to this place, I immediately recognize the impasse that it is. My flesh wants to give up on the dream. It is too hard. It is too far. It has become impossible. However, God’s Spirit inside me relishes in the impossible for in that moment God’s Plan is set into motion. When our dreams and visions given by the Lord are challenged, we enter the process of purpose that determines the outcome. God placed eternity in our heart. He has written and recorded every detail of our life including purpose before are birth day. Now, it is up to us to find our way to the Lord, and allow His Process to release His Purpose in our life.
What is the process of purpose? It is three-fold. Preparation. Positioning. Prosperity. We all love number three but must go through one and two to arrive there. The very thing that allows us to engage in the process and remain there is faith. It is that part of us refined in the process of purpose. It attaches itself to that dream or vision called hope and hangs on. The more we know about faith and our determination to trust the Lord for our purpose, the less likely we will be to throw in the towel at each turn when challenged, opposed, or overcome by fear, doubt or worry. I know that when all options have run out, when I have nowhere else to turn, when everything turns out to be impossible and improbable that there is something inside me that says, “But God said…” It is that instant that I know I cannot give up. I just have to hang on. I have to know how it ends. I have to see if God’s Word for my life is still true.
Genesis 39:8-9 (NLT) But Joseph refused. “Look,” he told her, “my master trusts me with everything in his entire household. No one here has more authority than I do. He has held back nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How could I do such a wicked thing? It would be a great sin against God.”
When I am frustrated and don’t understand what the Lord is doing or how He is doing it. When my life does not add up to God’s Word and I cannot see the light in the distance. I usually jump in the pit with Joseph again. I have to relive his process to remind me that I am currently on track for fulfillment of purpose. He was a dreamer. He shared his vision with his brothers who did not receive it well. Throwing him into a pit with the intent to kill him, God changed their mind so they sold him into slavery. This is preparation. Joseph learned to trust God in the pit. He also learned humility in the preparation as no longer was he the cherished favorite son but just another seemingly worthless, nameless human caught in slave trade. (Genesis 37) Potiphar bought Joseph. Joseph served the Lord and Potiphar well and his household prospered so the man put his slave in charge of everything. His only consideration would be what food he would eat according to the Word. Well… the thief has a purpose in our life to steal, kill and destroy. So here comes Potiphar’s wife. Her false accusations caused by his refusal spurned her into a fit of rage and lies that would move Joseph to the prison at the pit of the palace. After God prepares us, He must position us. Joseph was moved into position and like he did in Potiphar’s house chose to serve the Lord with the same zeal in prison with exactly the same results as he was now over the affairs of the prison. He would wait there until God smoothed out all the details and made a way for him into the palace. His day would come and Joseph would step into his purpose and experience the fulfillment of all the things that God had promised him and more. Do you really think that Joseph expected full reconciliation with his family? The Lord prospered Joseph in all things – body, mind and spirit.
Reading Joseph’s story, yet again, these verses caught my eye. Joseph lived his life to God’s Glory. Whether he knew it or not, he was in a process. His success in that process was that Joseph had a dream that he knew was from the Lord and so no matter where he ended up served the Lord trusting and believing that it would somehow come to pass. Where are you in the process of purpose today? It may feel like prison but what if it is just the pit in the palace. You are moving up. Will you wait it out? Will you serve the Lord through the process? At what point will you be satisfied? I will not be satisfied until the Lord fulfills His Purpose for my life. I can’t. I have come too far to turn back now. To quit, give up or turn away means that pit had more power than the Presence of God in my life. It means that hope was not enough for me. It means that my faith was in man not a Sovereign God who promises that He “causes everything to work together for (my) good (because I) love God and (I am) called according to his purpose for (me).” My process of purpose is personal. It is hand written as a love letter to a son or daughter. It is not generic but genuine fulfillment for me – His Child. He knows what I need to attain the prosperity that He has for me and hold on to it until He comes or I am with Him. The rest is up to me.
Philippians 1:27-28 (NLT) Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News. Don’t be intimidated in any way by your enemies. This will be a sign to them that they are going to be destroyed, but that you are going to be saved, even by God himself.
One thing to note about Joseph, from the moment he was pushed into the pit even until Pharaoh gave him absolute power over Egypt, he was never a free man in control of his life or circumstances. He remained subject to man throughout. This is symbolic of our process of purpose in the Lord. Our purpose will never be independent of our relationship to Jesus Christ who gives us right standing with God. We live in this world. We will have people in positions over us. We will be subject to persecution the more serious we take this who idea of dreams, visions and purpose because the enemy is desperate to squelch it. Because as we live for the Glory of God rather approval and affirmation and acceleration of people, others will notice the Light of God’s Love in our freedom, love, joy and peace. They will see our life begin to prosper in adverse conditions and impossible situations and decide to this God who we serve. They want to overcome, too rather than living in bondage another day.
To know that God is working in our life is demonstrated by radical obedience in the midst of the impossible. It is saying on the day you are thinking and everyone around you is saying give up, give in, and quit – “I will trust the Lord and hold on to His Promise for one more day.” We are to live as Citizens of Heaven according to the rules that govern it in allegiance to it. We are not of this world. This world has nothing for me. My dreams are from the Lord and fulfilled by His Purpose alone. I wonder if there were days that Joseph looked out Potiphar’s House at the palace trusting and believing that he would get there one day. Or were there days that he looked through the bars of his prison cell eating cold mush that he could smell the aroma of a feast, hear the music of celebration, and think I am going to be there one day. Maybe. But more importantly than dreaming, Joseph believed. I believe that more than anything else he did in captivity the most important thing he did was to pray I will “trust in the Lord with all (my) heart; (I) do not (cannot and will not) depend on (my) own understanding. (I will) seek his will in all (I) do, and he will show (me) which path to take (that will lead me from this pit or prison to the palace).” (Proverbs 3:5-6) I don’t know where you are in your process of purpose today. I know only where I sit. I must trust the Lord beyond my feelings or emotions based solely on His Word. I refuse to move until He gets here or moves me first. You are in a process of purpose driven by your faith and desire to trust the Lord. Do not give up. No matter where you are, what you see or the circumstances you are a man or woman of purpose on a mission that is too good to give up. Wait as long as is required. He has not forgotten you even if every other person has. He is not slack concerning our promise but perfecting everything that concerns us along the way. (Psalm 138:8) You have come too far to turn back now. You are full committed. No matter what the score is – it is prerecorded as a win. Jesus overcame the world so we could have abundant life. Live it.
Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NLT) For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.