Life's True Purpose

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For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. Romans 11:36

James held the nail steady and picked up a screwdriver. With the handle, he began to pound. Harder and harder he pounded on the stubborn nail head, but it barely moved. Sweat broke out on his forehead and a blister on his hand before he finally sat back on his heels and hurled the screwdriver into the trashcan. “Stupid tool! What’s the matter with it? I give up.”

There was nothing wrong with the screwdriver. James was trying to use it in a way it was not designed to be used. We often do that with our lives. When we insist upon a path for which we were not designed, we make the same mistake that James made. We compare ourselves to the ungodly and decide that’s the life we want. We compromise God’s standards and assume that He doesn’t mind. When we do that, we are chasing Satan’s suggestions like a child chases soap bubbles. Even when we catch them, they never quite satisfy. After years of this, some hurl their lives into the trashcan and give up. OR, we meet Jesus. In His Instruction Manual, we discover that we were trying to be something we were never designed to be. We understand that we were designed to love and serve God. 

True service is not a list of do’s and don’ts tacked to a chart of endless expectations. The kind of service God desires is that which flows naturally from a grateful heart that has been shown its true purpose. 

Whose Shield Are You Holding?

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For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7

“I always wanted to teach a girls’ class, but I’m too shy. What if they don’t like me?”

“I was asked to lead the greeters, but I’m afraid of failing. What if I don’t do a good job?”

“I felt God wanted me to go on a summer mission trip to Haiti, but I’m scared to fly and there is disease over there.”

How many opportunities have you said “no” to because of fear? “I wanted to do this, but…” This verse might be paraphrased to say, “God wants to kick you in the But!” We convince ourselves that BUT is a free pass for our disobedience. “I would obey you, God, but…” He tells us plainly that our spirit of fear is not from Him. So if fear is not from Him, who is behind it? Who would be most threatened by your wholehearted service to the Lord? Whose kingdom might be shaken by your befriending that Muslim classmate, by your offering to mentor children, or by your sacrificial giving to missions? Satan defeats many of God’s plans for us by suggesting that the obstacles are too great. But when we listen to FEAR instead of obeying God, we have enshrined it as our new god. We use it as a shield between us and obedience; God is warning us that this shield is not our friend. Instead, He offers His shield of Faith (Eph. 6:16). With it in place, we can then serve wherever God calls us to serve—without fear.

Whose shield are you holding? Satan’s shield of Fear, or God’s shield of Faith?

God: Idea or Person?

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 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them… Mark 16:20

Julie nudged her friend Rob as a distinguished-looking man walked into the restaurant. “I’ve heard he’s a billionaire,” she whispered, “and the nicest guy ever.” Rob nodded. “Yeah, he is. He takes great care of his employees. His companies offer the best benefit packages in the nation and he personally gets involved with His workers. He even mowed his secretary’s grass last summer when her husband died. Nobody could believe it. Aa-nd—” Rob paused for effect. “He loves strawberry shortcake and hates turnips.” Julie’s jaw dropped. “How do you know all that?” she asked. Rob smiled and shrugged. “I work for him.”

Millions of people are like Julie when they think of God. They have heard of Him, but don’t really know Him. Of those who do know Him as Lord and Savior, many think: “I don’t feel close to God. I read my Bible and pray. I go to church, but He’s not real to me.” Because God is not visible, we can begin to think of Him as an idea, rather than Person with whom we have a relationship. This verse tells us one way we can experience Him personally: We work for Him. God invites us to join with Him in accomplishing His goals for this world. When we obey, we get to see people the way He does. We start to see sin the way He does. We like what He likes and hate what He hates. When our goals, values, and desires match His, we have the joy of truly knowing Him. So when others ask, “How do you know all that?” we can smile and say, “I work for Him.”

When we set our hearts to obey and serve the Lord, He works with us.