What Is My Purpose in Life, and How Can I Be Certain of It? (1 Corinthians 10:31)
”Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Mt 6:10). This is the essence of our purpose. We are to honor God and advance his kingdom through who we are and in everything we do.
Through our cooperation with God’s Spirit who is at work within us, we can grow to the point that what we want aligns with what God wants—our passions and purposes are his passions and purposes; we think, speak, act and relate in a Christlike way. We will never be perfect or without struggle in this life, but we can be inwardly connected to Jesus (see Jn 15:1–8). We listen for the Spirit’s guidance. We cultivate our gifts. We live our lives pursuing God’s kingdom interests (see 1Co 10:31—11:1).
But often this isn’t enough for us. We want to know our specific, individual purpose with certainty. We want the mystery solved. We want to find a unique purpose that focuses our energies and convinces us that our life counts.
Perhaps our feverish search for the specific is misguided. Maybe our need for certainty reflects our addiction to control and what Eugene Peterson calls “insiders’ pride.” God wants us to trust him, and sometimes knowing too much leads to trusting too little. Maybe letting go of the pressure to find our purpose—and instead following hard after God each new day—will center us squarely in the target.
Taken from NIV Essentials Study Bible
Dependable in the Mundane
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)
One of the most powerful testimonies to the all-sufficiency of future grace is the “faith principle” that has governed the lives of so many missionaries, notably those of Overseas Missionary Fellowship (OMF).
Without condemning those who follow a different pattern, it has been the practice of those who follow in the steps of Hudson Taylor to move the hearts of people to give by talking to God and not people.
James H. Taylor, the great-grandson of the founder, explains how this faith in future grace, rooted in demonstrations of bygone grace, honors God.
We . . . begin from a position of faith. We believe God does exist. We have become convinced of this in a variety of ways, but all of us have experienced the grace of God in bringing us to know Himself through Jesus Christ and through rebirth by His Spirit. We believe we have good grounds of believing in Him through the historical fact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead: we believe that someone who said He would die and rise again, and did it, is credible in every other way. Therefore we are prepared to trust Him, not only for the eternal salvation of our souls, but also for the practical provision of our daily bread and financial support. OMF publishes testimonies of God’s amazing faithfulness to demonstrate the glory of his all-supplying future grace. “We want to demonstrate that God can be trusted to do all that He says He will do, by sharing how He has provided for such mundane needs as plane tickets, meals, medical expenses, and the regular support of a whole group of Christian people for well over a hundred years.”
What OMF is devoted to is glorifying the dependability of God — in their message and in their method. Hudson Taylor put it this way: “There is a living God. He has spoken in the Bible. He means what He says and will do all that He has promised.”
Lives of faith are the great mirror of the dependability of God.
Job remembers his former blessings before his suffering began.
The Good Old Days
“I long for the years gone by when God took care of me, when he lit up the way before me and I walked safely through the darkness. When I was in my prime, God’s friendship was felt in my home. The Almighty was still with me, and my children were around me. My steps were awash in cream, and the rocks gushed olive oil for me.
“Those were the days when I went to the city gate and took my place among the honored leaders. The young stepped aside when they saw me, and even the aged rose in respect at my coming. The princes stood in silence and put their hands over their mouths. The highest officials of the city stood quietly, holding their tongues in respect.
“All who heard me praised me. All who saw me spoke well of me. For I assisted the poor in their need and the orphans who required help. I helped those without hope, and they blessed me. And I caused the widows’ hearts to sing for joy. Everything I did was honest. Righteousness covered me like a robe, and I wore justice like a turban. I served as eyes for the blind and feet for the lame. I was a father to the poor and assisted strangers who needed help. I broke the jaws of godless oppressors and plucked their victims from their teeth.”
Job was walking a fine line between bragging about past accomplishments and recalling good deeds in order to answer the charges against him. He recalled how good life seemed to be when he was prosperous and a respected member of the community. He took this reminiscing a step further and recalled being quite the righteous example to all who knew him.
Job’s one weakness throughout his conversations is that he came dangerously close to pride. Pride is especially deceptive when we are doing right. But it separates us from God by making us think we are better than we really are. As a result, we tend to trust our own opinions, which leads to other kinds of sin.
Remembering past deeds is not wrong, but a better approach is to recount God’s blessings. This will help keep us from inadvertently falling into pride.
Take a few moments to list God’s blessings: faith, family, friends, finances, future . . . Then thank God for his ongoing work in your life.
Streams in the Desert – June 6
Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation (Matthew 26:41).
Go not, my friend, into the dangerous world without prayer. You kneel down at night to pray, drowsiness weighs down your eyelids; a hard day’s work is a kind of excuse, and you shorten your prayer, and resign yourself softly to repose. The morning breaks; and it may be you rise late, and so your early devotions are not done, or are done with irregular haste.
No watching unto prayer! Wakefulness once more omitted; and now is that reparable?
We solemnly believe not.
There has been that done which cannot be undone. You have given up your prayer, and you will suffer for it.
Temptation is before you, and you are not ready to meet it. There is a guilty feeling on the soul, and you linger at a distance from God. It is no marvel if that day in which you suffer drowsiness to interfere with prayer be a day in which you shrink from duty.
Moments of prayer intruded on by sloth cannot be made up. We may get experience, but we cannot get back the rich freshness and strength which were wrapped up in those moments.
-–Frederick W. Robertson
If Jesus, the strong Son of God, felt it necessary to rise before the breaking of the day to pour out His heart to God in prayer, how much more ought you to pray unto Him who is the Giver of every good and perfect gift, and who has promised all things necessary for our good.
What Jesus gathered into His life from His prayers we can never know; but this we do know, that the prayer-less life is a powerless life. A prayer-less life may be a noisy life, and fuss around a great deal; but such a life is far removed from Him who, by day and night, prayed to God.