Do You Know Our Purpose?
Fear of failure is an invisible paralysis. It confines us to the wheelchair of our imagined competence. It’s like cultivating only fifty square feet of a 40-acre farm. We tragically waste our gifts and talents because of fear.
Just as tragic is “successfully” accomplishing our plans while ignoring God’s purpose for our lives. A person whom God calls to be a missionary or pastor who stoops to become the President of the United States achieves God’s purpose no better than one who wastes gifts and talents because of fear.
Do you know your purpose? How can you be confident you are carrying out that purpose?
God’s purposes for us in the here and the hereafter are interconnected. A farmer plows straight by keeping the tractor pointed at a distant object at the end of the field. Similarly, we gain clarity for God’s purpose for the here by focusing on the distant tree of the hereafter.
Time is like train tracks with a beginning and end. We’re on the train for a minuscule part of the whole trip. God is the engineer. He alone knows the end from the beginning.
God is working out His purposes in this world. “I am God, and there is none like me. Only I can tell you the future before it even happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish.” (Isa. 46:9b–10 NLT).
We are either assisting or resisting His plan for people to live with Him and rule over His creation as kind and compassionate stewards.
God will fulfill His plan because He is purposeful and powerful. He is also good. “For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.” (Ps. 100:5 NLT).
The high-water mark of God’s goodness and love was sending His Son to be the world’s Savior. That was His checkmate move against the forces of evil who still continuously resist the fulfillment of His purpose.
God’s purpose for the hereafter is to create new heavens and a new earth populated by redeemed people who will live with Him, be like Him (Romans 8:29; 1 John 3:2), and share His glory. His intentions for His original creation will be gloriously fulfilled in the new heaven and new earth.
The sin, suffering, and death our first parents ushered into the world when they intentionally disobeyed God necessitated a detour from eternal life in Eden. People’s pride punctured paradise.
God allowed the feet, hands, and side of His humble Son to be punctured to restore “Eden” at the appointed time. Jesus bore the world’s sins, suffering, and death in His own body so that God’s plan could be fulfilled.
After His resurrection, Jesus commissioned His followers to make disciples everywhere (Matthew 28:18–20). God’s kingdom has advanced ever since through the power of the Holy Spirit. God’s Christ-centered family (all who serve, glorify, and enjoy Him) is growing daily. Doing our part to expand it is part of our purpose.
While God’s family lives on earth, God transforms them as they submit to His shaping (Romans 12:1–2). “So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image” (2 Corinthians 3:18 NLT).
Those who are part of God’s family become progressively more obedient, fruitful, thankful, and grateful to Him. They are God’s works of art shaped progressively to be and do good, motivated by love for Him and others (Ephesians 2:10; Titus 2:14; 3:8; Matthew 22:37–39).
Each person in God’s family has a specific purpose. God appointed Jeremiah as His prophet to the nations (Jeremiah 1:5). He called the apostle Paul to preach Jesus among the nations (Galatians 1:15–16). King David served God’s purpose in his generation (Acts 13:36). God has a plan for each member of His family (Ephesians 2:10). He has given each of them the gifts, abilities, and desires to fulfill that plan. That includes using one or more spiritual gifts to glorify God and serve others both within and outside the church (1 Corinthians 12:7).
We discern God’s plan through His word and Spirit for significant decisions. We do not depend on our wisdom (Proverbs 3:5–6). He will give us the wisdom we need to apply His word to the circumstances and situations we face (James 1:5). “Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong” (Hebrews 5:14 NLT).
We can also draw wisdom from godly spiritual leaders. In the end, we must live by “believing and not by seeing” (2 Corinthians 5:7 NLT). That includes believing that “God exists and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6 NLT). To become more like Jesus, we must learn to say no to our plans to say yes to His.
The church and God’s kingdom advance as we exercise our gifts. The gifts of others also minister to us in various ways, including wisdom and counsel to discern God’s direction on issues, questions, and challenges. Serving God in His church is a major part of His plan for our lives and also a great source of satisfaction and fulfillment here and now.
We waste our lives when our gifts and abilities remain dormant or when we use them for our self-serving purposes. Our purpose is to serve, glorify, and enjoy God now and forever. That is the most fulfilling use of our lives in both time and eternity.1
Thomas A. Tarrants
See free spiritual growth resources for Christians at https://www.christiangrowthresources.com
God has equipped and empowered me to write His Power for Your Weakness—260 Steps Toward Spiritual Strength. It’s a free devotional discipleship resource. By the end of 2023, pastors will have used it in Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia to lead people to Christ and teach the basics of Christianity to 2,310 people. I invite you to check it out. https://www.christiangrowthresources.com/his-power-for-your-weakness