First Things @ First
Ever wonder what God's purpose is for your life? Ever take the time necessary (which is more than most think they can spare or are willing to give) to find the treasure of what it means to know and experience God daily in your life? To be so centered on fulfilling His will that each new opportunity in life became a further assignment of His work?
God's purpose is not reserved for vocational ministers like pastors, evangelists or missionaries, alone. Discovering God's purpose for life in His big plan is how disciples begin and continue the journey of striving for the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Yet, there are many in the Lord's church today who are saved by the grace of God and settle for wandering through life bouncing from here to there wondering where they fit. It's not the attitude of 'what's in it for me.' It's the opposite; 'where am I in it?'
And too often after a while, many, if not most have a way of settling or just growing satisfied with not knowing. Some even doubt that knowing God's designs for life is all that important. In the process, life is soon rearranged around something with greater visibility or something more easily controllable and attainable. After all, faith in someone you can't see who promises the very best for your life IF you trust Him will test the patience of a person in a drive by, press the button, order on the go culture. And it's a test many in the 21st century church fail at daily.
We're five weeks into the first unit of 'Experiencing God' in our Sunday morning small group. As we discuss, discover and hopefully better understand His purpose for life, I'm reminded of how important it is to be experiencing the person of God daily. As is so often the case, I am discovering new challenges put forth from God's word through authors Henry & Richard Blackaby, and Claude King 25 years after I went through this study initially. During that stage of my journey with Jesus, I was involved in Jesus' ministry through His church, just not as a preacher/pastor. The strategic circle of influence was as a laymen; a small group leader, deacon, farmer, rancher, husband, father and son.
Things definitely have changed with the passing of time. However, the one thing that never does is God's will. The first forty years of my life were years of God preparing me for His purpose in life. I see that more clearly forty-two plus years into the journey than I did in the first ten or fifteen years.
Pastor Johnny Hunt reinforced something important for me at a Timothy-Barnabas Conference a few years ago when he said--"God is preparing you for what He's prepared you for." That one statement helped me through a time when ministry had plateaued in my heart over time. I hope it will help you along the way as well. That statement challenged me to get up and keep going! To keep asking, seeking and knocking. Because without perseverance, His purpose is seldom realized.
God uses the circumstances that challenge our faith to change our perspective on life.
After almost twenty-five years, God is still challenging my thinking through this time tested study. One of the more recent challenges designed to change me for the better in conforming to the image of God's Son came as I was going about the daily routine of reading and study. I read these words from pastor/author Henry Blackaby where he writes the following concerning the importance of asking the right questions. Blackaby writes--"Jesus considered God's will to be His highest priority (John 4:32-34). Following God's will is also important for you. Often when people want to know God's will, they will ask, 'what is God's will for my life?'" Blackaby then states--one of my seminary professors, Gaines Dobbins used to say, If you ask the wrong question, you are guaranteed to get the wrong answer. What is God's will for my life is not the best question. The better inquiry is, 'What is God's will?' People are naturally self-centered, so we tend to view the whole world--even God's activity--in terms of our own lives. That is actually an inverted life-perspective. Once I know God's will, then my life gains its proper perspective. In other words, what is it that God purposes for me to accomplish where I am? Once I know what God is doing, then I see what I should do. My focus needs to be outward on God and His purpose, not inward on my life. That doesn't mean that God has no plans for your life. He does. He created you, and He knows how your life can reach its maximum potential."
Listen to the word of God as directed to the prophet Jeremiah in chapter 1:4-8--"Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: 'before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.' Then said I; 'Ah Lord God! Behold I cannot speak, for I am a youth.' But the Lord said to me; 'For you shall go to all to whom I send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of their faces, for I am with you to deliver you,' says the Lord."
Before Jeremiah was created, God's will was certain.
Before you and I were created, God's will was certain. Still is! His will does not change, and we cannot change it. We can only adjust our lives to it through believing God.
Do you really want to know His will? Are you willing to do it?
Because until you're ready to do it, you'll never know it with any certainty or experience it.
Don't settle for wondering and wandering through life. Don't be satisfied with only what He has promised to provide for you OR what you hope He will produce through you. That's an inverted perspective. Life is not about you or me; life is about Him! 'Christ in me the hope of glory.' Colossians 1:27 And it's all for God's glory, not ours.
If you really want to experience God, you'll have to first look inward to see the heart God sees before you'll really be able to look upward and see His heart. Only then will you be able to look outward and see His hand at work around you with His consecrated perspective. Then you'll be invited to join Him!
Experiencing God involves both knowing AND doing the will of God.
So how do you see 2020? It depends on what lens in life you're looking through.
God's prescription is both sure and simple--"be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves." James 1:22
He will do all things as we will let Him do it!
God bless your journey with Jesus!