Time to Seek God’s Purpose for Your Life?
Do you spend so much time doing things that you don't have time to examine what might be your purpose in life? If your life is becoming filled up with more and more things to do, no matter what direction these things are coming from, it’s possible you are not living a fulfilled life—a filled-up life is not necessarily a fulfilled life. In fact, most people begin to realize as they slow down the pace of their lives that they have been missing out on the things in life that really matter. In life, quantity does not always mean quality.
If you are seeking God’s purpose for your life, then you’re searching for more than simple fulfillment of worldly desires and worldly ambition. When you finally discover God’s purpose for your life, you’ll see that it involves more than a career or a job that you find fulfilling, or even one that provides you with the financial means to live well. While these things may be part of God’s purpose for your life, your whole God-given purpose on earth has to be much more than just a job or a way to acquire material possessions.
Your Purpose: It's More Than What You Do
As Leo Tolstoy said, "Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself." So, if you think your only purpose for living is to work in a specific job or career area, you could be missing out on opportunities to change yourself. Working on you is part of God’s purpose for your life. When you do the work on you that is required to get you to the place of spiritual maturity God wants for you, you will then be a perfect instrument for him to use on earth for his purpose and yours, because they will be one and the same. Once you begin to do the work on yourself that God needs you to do, you’ll soon discover it to be a process that will always in progress. Why? Because it is a constant struggle being a spiritual being inside of a physical body. For that reason, you’ll always be working on perfecting you while you’re also working to fulfill God’s purpose for your life.
While you’re working on yourself and evolving spiritually, you'll find a need for more in your life than just your job, and more than just material possessions. Sure, your job presents ample opportunities for you to live and grow in your faith. But you’re not one dimensional, and you have a lot more to you than the person you are at work. God has given you a life that is to be lived to its fullest potential. Your life is more than just work, just as your body is more than just what you look like on the outside. For this reason, you should think about your purpose as it applies to all aspects of your life. Your purpose has to do with your spiritual growth and development, your work, your family, your friends, your leisure time, your interactions with other people, your ability to care about and your willingness to help others, and much more.
Purpose, Spirituality, and Ambition—At Odds?
Do you want to grow and prosper spiritually as well as financially? Do you sometime wonder if, as a Christian, it is wrong to have goals that are materialistic in nature? Is materialistic ambition against God’s purpose for your life? The answer to questions such as these has to be “No.” It cannot be against God and his purpose for your life for you to desire material things. Living on planet earth requires material things. And it cannot be against God to be ambitious because God has placed us—spiritual beings, inside a physical body, in a physical world, where a lack of ambition, ultimately, can lead to financial and physical ruin. The key, of course, is moderation. Too much focus on material things, and too little on spiritual things of God (as outlined in Galatians 5:22, the fruit of the spirit), can obscure your focus as you examine your life while seeking your purpose.
The scriptural response to the questions I asked in the preceding paragraph, I believe, can be found in this passage from Ephesians 1:9-12 (KJV) which says:
“Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.”
I believe one thing this scripture is teaching us is that God means for us to utilize all things, including those things that are in the physical world (which are on earth), and those things that are in the spiritual world (which are in heaven), to fulfill His purpose for our lives. I believe the Apostle Paul is saying in this verse from Ephesians that Christ has given us a predestined inheritance in all things. Living life in fulfillment of God’s purpose for it allows us to claim our predestined inheritance from Christ. It allows us to see a connection to God in our desires and in our need for physical or worldly things, just as it allows us to feel a connection to God in our desires and in our need for spiritual things.
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© 2012 Sallie B Middlebrook PhD