Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The Purpose-Driving Life

So, I’m pretty tired of trying to use my spiritual gifts of wisdom and discernment (hahahaha) to figure out what my purpose in God’s kingdom really is and to be honest, it’s turning out to be much more of a purpose DRIVING life. It’s driving me crazy. It’s driving me into the ground. And it might even be driving the nails into Jesus’ hands all over again. So maybe it’s time to accept that He already died at the cross, was resurrected and ascended. I don’t think He needs to repeat those acts for me to figure out my purpose in His kingdom. So here it is…accept it! My purpose is to accept His grace, His mercy and more importantly, His love.

Revelations 3:15-16 says, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” Yikes! Good thing this isn’t an admonishment to work a little bit harder or we’d all be up a creek! I think it’s a little more along the lines of “need Jesus a little bit more, rely on Him to be all that you can’t be and trust in His purpose” and man, then you’ll be on fire for Jesus (the good kind of fire, not the eternal damnation kind).

Let me go one step further. We can all “do” marvelous and masterful things in the name of Jesus (which, essentially, is Jesus doing things in us for His name’s sake), but at the end of the day, we all get one denarus, the same wage; we all get Jesus! What we do pales in comparison to what God does through us, in us and often, in spite of us.

“So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building” (1 Corinthians 3:7-9). We have one purpose – let God grow and flourish whatever we attempt to create.
So I’m not entirely hopeless and wholly devoted to a life of laziness and immobility. I will certainly not give up the hope that He might actually cause me to do some good in this lifetime. I will continue to believe in a system of right and wrong. I will occasionally even be nice to someone just for the heck of it. But what I won’t do is believe for one second that my “purpose” is more important than my reliance on His purpose. Philippians 2:13 states, “…for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.” So I will do my best, try my hardest, and fight like Hell to allow His purpose to work in me. And when I’m trying to figure out where I fit into “ministry,” I’ll break it down like this: in my eyes, ministry is merely two words stuck together – minus + try. I’ll keep that in mind next time I’m trying really hard to figure out my purpose in God’s kingdom and just let His love be enough.

1 comment:

Stacey said...

Jules...Some insights that the Lord has placed on my heart as I read your blogs...

Ok, so the whole verse from Matthew 20 about the 'one denarius'...well, I'm still trying to figure out exactly what the purpose of that parable is. I agree that we all get Jesus in the end...but I don't think that's the point of the parable. I think God is trying to show us that it's not for US to decide what each person should get...it's God's right and decision to award each person however He wants, regardless of what WE think each should get.

As far as the Revelation 3 passage: Yes, it's not an admonishment to work a little harder. But you're missing something...you said you think it's about 'needing Jesus a little more.' Well, the people at the church in Laodicea already HAD Jesus. Jesus wasn't telling them they should be needing Him more, I believe He was telling them to start showing it! He is telling them that He'd rather have them be arrogant and obvious about their NOT wanting a relationship with Him than have them be complacent in sitting by idly and doing nothing more than talking about their relationship with Him.

Your reference to 1 Corinthians 3 is a little out of context. You forget that the statement Paul makes is that each man HAS his purpose: one to plant, the other to water. And in deed, it is God who GROWS each man's WORK. But what you fail to acknowledge is that if the one man hadn't planted and the other hadn't watered then God would have nothing to grow. WE have to be the hands and feet of Jesus. I agree that we have a purpose to carry out His works and HE makes them worth something when we act. His purpose is for us to ACT, not just sit around talking about Him and our need for Him. In fact, there is an entire book in the bible with the very name 'The ACTS of the Apostles'! It discusses in 28 chapters the way the church 'worked and moved' to get the word out and to take care of each other and serve each other. And one of my favorite parts of that book is that as we see the church serving faithfully, there is always a response verse which says 'And the Lord added to their number daily.' WOW! DAILY, God was adding to the congregation...and not just a few people here and there, but thousands at a time! Now that's what I call a Harvest Crusade! But I fail to see a book in the bible named 'the commentary or conversations of the Apostles.' This element of our faith is so important that James himself claimed in chapter 2 verse 17 of his epistle that any man's faith without works to accompany it is dead!

You make the comment: What we do pales in comparison to what God does through us, in us and often, in spite of us. I would change the wording of that just slightly to say: What God does through us, in us and often, in spite of us pales in comparison to what others try to do without Him.

I think for the most part you and I are on the same page about these truths of our faith. I just want to make sure that we always read the bible in context and don't approach it with a specific mindset before us that we try to support with the things we see or the verses we find.

And in summary, what the heck is the minus + try reference supposed to mean?