Last month I turned 27 years old. Growing up I expected this time in my life to be spent as a wife and mother. Instead I am single and waiting. It feels like the last moments on the runway before a flight takes off-the excitement, a little apprehension but overall the overwhelming feeling to just take off already! I am in this weird limbo of waiting for my “real life” to begin. Will life begin when I find a fulfilling career? Maybe start a ministry? Get married? Have kids? I look at my friends who are married with children and think, “Now they are really living and doing something purposeful with their lives”. I on the other hand am waiting. But as I sat in church one day and looked around at the families surrounding me, I realized as I peel back beyond the surface of these people’s lives they are waiting to. Waiting for the kids to start school, waiting for the kids to leave the house, waiting till their husband retires. It was in that moment I realized no matter what stage I find myself in I will always be waiting for the next best thing and that needs to change. If I spend my whole life waiting I will have missed out on living.
I’ve always been a notoriously impatient person- very single minded when I want something. I have no interest at times in the things that come along between now and the fulfillment of my desire. For me life has never been a journey but a destination. The problem with that philosophy of living is that it assumes I’m in control of the destination and the time it takes to get there but I’m not, God is. This has led to a lot of heartbreak over the years-discontent over my life as it is, sadness that it isn’t what I want it to be and worry that even if I get what I think I want that it won’t be enough to fill the longing for true living and purpose in my heart. But what God has been teaching me recently is that purpose and life is not found in a certain role or season in life-it’s found in Him. And when my life and purpose is wrapped up in Him I can start living today and don’t have to wait for circumstances to change to control my happiness or give my life meaning. So what then does God say is our purpose in life as believers?
- To Glorify and Praise Him-
Psalm 86:12 “I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.”
We practically live out glorifying God through an attitude of gratitude, words of praise and action through prayer, worshiping God through music and giving and tithing. This week in Bible study my pastor said something that applied so much to this purpose. He said, “God’s purpose in saving us wasn’t just to bring pleasure to our life (although nothing in life is more pleasurable than salvation), it was that our life might bring pleasure to God!
- To Love God and Others-
In Matthew 22:36-39 it says:
"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'
I talked about this topic at great length in a post I did last year. You can read that here . But the main point is we show love to God by obeying His commands (1 John 5:3a) and love to others by loving them the way Jesus loves us.
- To Share the Gospel and Bring Others to Christ-
In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus said:
"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
Have you ever wondered why God didn’t take you right up to Heaven the moment you gave your life to Him? This is why-to share the gospel with others. This is what you as a believer have been left on this earth to do. It’s not an option but a mission for each one of us. I shared about evangelism in 2 posts last year if you want to check them out- What you can’t do in Heaven and How to Share your Faith. These are also great posts to read if you’re unsure what it means to be a Christian.
Did you notice that all of these purposes above are not available only to certain people? You can fulfill God’s purposes now whether you are single or married, rich or poor, healthy or sick!
While being a person who seems to always be waiting, I’ve also always been easily bored and while I enjoy some down time alone-too much time without anything to do or someone to hang out with makes me crazy (of course this has always been hard for me because my pain requires me to have more down time than I’d like). I’ve always felt like life was just unexciting for the most part and certainly that is part of life -work, routines- but I think part of the boredom is that my whole life wasn’t yielded to God. This doesn’t mean that if it was I’d suddenly have this non-stop exciting life but what it does mean is there is a level of excitement in a life wrapped up in God’s purposes. Reading the book of Acts about the early church it’s clear to see these followers of Christ lived anything but boring, ordinary lives-certainly some of the excitement I could do without-prison, shipwrecks, being run out of town-but what is clear is that a life obeying Him is always changing.
I’ve had experiences in life before where non-Christians have told me that Christian living is boring. But when I examined their life it didn’t look too exciting to me. Day after day of purposeless living trying to fill the void of meaning with sex, money and selfishness not realizing it just makes the well deeper. Contrast that with the excitement of having a relationship with the God of the universe, having the power that raised Christ from the dead living inside you, seeing your life, your heart, and your desires molded and changed to be more like Him and having the privilege of being used to bring people into a relationship with Christ and seeing eternal destinies changed. Whew! Boring? Are you kidding me? This is what purposeful living is all about! It’s keeping in my mind what and whom I am living for and not seeing everyday as another boring day waiting for something good to happen but as a chance to take in all that God has for me in that moment.
Do you feel like me like you’re always waiting for “something” in order to truly live? Or maybe you’ve received the things you’ve always prayed for but still feel discontent? Do you feel like your Christian life has got off track and you’ve forgotten what you’re still here to do? It says in James 13:15 “ Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that."
Tomorrow is promised to no one. The time to start living is now. God has a full, abundant life for every believer (John 10:10). Ask Him to change your heart to start to see purpose through His eyes. Living the life God intended for us is an impossibility on our own strength but with Him all things are possible (Matthew 19:26) It is time to stop sitting on the sidelines and join the game of life-true life that’s only found in Him!