God's Purpose for Guidance
GOD’S PURPOSE FOR GUIDANCE
Last time spoke on “God’s Promise of Guidance.” Now above. Appropriate as begin a new year. New Year’s resolution vs. asking the question: What am I here for? God allowed us to be born or live in America, in Salem, attend Bethany. For what purpose? Not like those who believe in REINCARNATION – I’m here because of what did in previous existence.
Prov. 16:4 (LB): “The Lord has made everything for his own purpose…”
In fact, you will live your life on one of three levels:
The lowest level is what I call the survival level. Many people live their lives in the survival mode. They just exist. They put in their time and hope for the week end and for retirement. They are in the survival mode. If I were to ask you "What's your number one goal in your life?" What would you respond?
The next level is a little bit higher level. It's what I call the success level. That's where most of you are today. By the world's standards you've made it. You have a comfortable life style. You have possessions, you have prestige, you have pleasure. Life is pretty good. Most of the world would love to have your problems. You've hit the success level.
What most are say is that ultimately success does not satisfy. You must go beyond success to significance. What you really need is not success, but significance to feel like "My life matters. There's a meaning a purpose to my life." Joe Dillow, founder BEE, p. 551
People who've discovered significance are those who've discovered God's purpose for their life. Gondalf (Lord of the Rings): “The only thing I have to decide is what to do with the time that has been given!”
The tragedy is that even many successful people feel very insignificant, because they've never reached that level. When you look at the people that have made the greatest impact on this world, they were not the brightest, they were not the wealthiest, they were not the best educated. But the people that have made the biggest difference in life, for good or bad, were those who had the deepest
I want to suggest that to be all that you were meant to have a significant life.
David. Acts 13:36: "David served God's purpose in his generation. Then he died." How would you like to have this written on your tombstone.Why was David a man after God's own heart? Because he did with his life what God intended. He fulfilled the purpose of God for his life.
Another man is Paul. Paul was a man of tremendous purpose. He had a life mission that he would not waver from. "I reckon my own life to be worth nothing to me, in order that I may complete my mission and finish the work the Lord Jesus gave me to do."
THE ADVANTAGES OF HAVING AN PURPOSE IN LIFE
1. It is the key to lowering DISSATISFACTION.
We live in a world of incredible options. And that makes decision making more difficult, more frustrating.
James 1:6-7 (NEB): "A doubtful mind is unsettled as a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind." Indecision is frustrating. [The great theologian Alice in Wonderland: If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there.]
If you have already discovered God's purpose for your life, then you know where you are going. Sure, you're going to have detours and bumps in the road, road blocks. But you can get there a whole lot quicker when you know where you're going. It reduces the frustration level in your life. The question need to ask: "Will this decision help me fulfill God's purpose for my life?" If yes, I do it. If it's not, I don't do it.
Trying to live your life without knowing what God made you for is like driving in a fog. Many of you may have felt like Isaiah 49:4: "I've labored to no purpose. I've spent my strength in vain and for nothing." In Isaiah 26:3 "You Lord give perfect peace to those who keep their purpose firm." Satisfaction comes from knowing my purpose in life.
2. It is the key to MOTIVATION.
Once I know what I'm here for, I have a reason to live. You have a reason to get out of bed and you get up in the morning and say "Good morning, Lord" instead of "Good Lord, it's morning!" “This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it!”
Some people feel like Job 7:6, 17 "My life drags by, day by day, day after hopeless day. I'm tired of living. My life makes no sense." He says I don't have any purpose, any sense in my life, therefore it's hopeless. When you have no purpose, you have no motivation. What is the secret to energy and enthusiasm and hope in life? The secret is to live a purpose-driven life.
Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They're plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."
I'm not just talking about being a Christian. I'm talking about being what God made you to be. Many of you are in the wrong job, because you are driven by somebody else's approval or whatever to get into it. God doesn't want you to waste your life. Full-time RVers vs. RVicks. Average missionary candidate age: 34-36.
Having a purpose in life is also . . .
3. It is the key to FOCUS IN LIFE.
The fact is you don't have time for everything in life. But the good news is this: God doesn't expect you to do everything in life, but to concentrate your energy on what God wants you to do, not what everybody else in the world wants you to do. When you know your purpose in life and when you discover why God made you as an individual, your purpose in life not only defines what you're going to do but it defines what you don't do. It defines your priorities but also your anti priorities.
Prov. 4:25-27 (NLT) : “Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. Mark out a straight path for your feet; (NEXT SLIDE) then stick to the path… Don’t get sidetracked.”
Every individual needs to ask that "What did God put me here for?
Philippians 3:13 "I’m bringing all my energies to bear on this one thing. Forgetting what is behind (NEXT SLIDE) and looking forward to what lies ahead.”
Paul says knowing your life purpose, gives your life focus. It's like light diffused has no power at all. But if I focus a magnifying glass and focus the power of the sun on a piece of paper I can set it afire. If I focus even more than that, it becomes a laser that can cut trough steel. But light diffused has no power.
Ephesians 5:15-17 "Pay close attention to how you live. Make good use of every opportunity you get. Find out what the Lord wants you to do." Don't waste your life. Know what's important, pay close attention, make good use of every opportunity. Do what the Lord wants you to do. They, as Thoreau said, "live lives of quiet desperation."
When you know your purpose in life it allows you to take advantage of opportunities that are right for you and allows you to say "No" to opportunities that are not right for you
4. It is the key to TEAM WORK. In your HOME, WORKPLACE, CHURCH
The amazing thing when you figure out where you're going to go in life other people will follow.
The greatest way you can help other people is be what God made you to be. Prov. 1:27 (GN): "If your goals are good, you will be respected."
Do what God made you to do. You don't help anybody by being somebody you're not, by playing a role, fulfilling an expectation, living for the approval of others. But by being who God made you to be, serving God's purpose in your generation -- God will honor that and bless that.
Ezra 10:4 "The people said `Tell us how to proceed in setting things straight, and we will fully cooperate.'"
If you as a leader are not living up to your potential, the people you work with are being cheated. If you as a father or mother are not living up to your potential, then your children are being cheated. Leaders set roles and set goals. If you don't live up to your potential then those you work with can't either.
Having a purpose in life is also . . .
5. It is the key to preparation for GOD’S JUDGMENT.
A. God made you for a purpose. There's a purpose for your being here.
B. God has invested certain gifts, talents and abilities in you; given them to you. He doesn't expect you to use them just to make money. (PAUL SHAW)
C. God expects a return on His investment. He doesn't want you to just use these talents for selfish reasons.
D. One day, God is going to do an audit of your life.
Romans 14:10,12: "We will all stand before God's judgement seat so then each of us will give an account of himself to God." God wants you to pass this final test so He's given us the answers to the questions in advance. One day when you stand before God, He's going to ask you: "What did you do with My Son Jesus Christ?" and "What did you do with your life?"
HOW TO GET STARTED
Þ Determine what drives your life.
Believe that God has a purpose for my life. God doesn't create things without a purpose. The Bible says: "Pay close attention to how you live...” (Eph. 5:15)
Þ Believe God has a purpose for your life.
Eph. 2:10 (GN): "God is our Maker, and in our union with Christ, He has created us for a life of good works, (NEXT SLIDE) which He has already prepared for us to do.”
Þ Submit to Jesus as Leader of your life.
Ezra 10:4 (LB): "Tell us how to proceed ...and we will fully cooperate."
P.U.R.P.O.S.E.: 7 Steps to Fulfilling my Life Mission (Rick Warren)
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STANDS FOR PRIORITIZE. Prioritize the values that matter most. Then evaluate my life and bring it into harmony with what I believe is important.
Why are values important? Your values control your destiny. Your values determine your life.
1. They determine my Stress.
James 1:8 "A double minded man is unstable in all he does." The number one source of stress is conflicting values. We say we believe one thing but we act in a very different way
We say "Family is important to me." But surveys show that the average father spends less than 5 minuets a day in conversation one on one with each of his children. We say family is important but we put work and everything else ahead of it. We're gone all the time. We say "Health is important to me." Do you watch your weight? No. Eat right? No. Exercise? No. Practice good health habits? No. We say materialism is bad. Are you saving anything? No. Are you spending all you get? Yes. "God is first in my life." Is he first in your finances? No. First in your schedule? No.
Two competing values.
2. Our priorities influence my success.
You can't be committed to anything because you're going many different directions. The American way is unbiblical:
Americans believe in Life, Liberty, and the Purchase of happiness.
Most commercials appeal to this one. They always try to make you feel that you're better if you own their product.
EVALUATE WHAT'S IMPORTANT.
Get alone with a pen and paper and ask yourself these questions:
· What do I value most? What matters most?
· What type of person do I want to be in life?
· What adjectives would I like to describe me?
· If I were to write a letter to my kids on what is most important in life, what would I tell them?
· What in my life is trivial and what is essential? What should I hold onto and what should I let go?
· What are my priorities in life? Are they consistent with God’s purpose for me?
· APA: Achieve, Preserve, Avoid
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- Understand how God has uniquely shaped me for a purpose
SHAPE: abilities, gifts, opportunities, experiences, resources.
Ps. 139:13-16 (LB): "You made all the delicate inner parts of my body and knit them together in my mother's womb. (NEXT SLIDE) Your workmanship is marvelous. You were there while I was being formed. (NEXT SLIDE) You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe."
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- Resolve to live the rest of my life fulfilling the purpose God made me for. (for 2002)
It is not a New Year’s Resolution but a New Life’s Resolution.
Rom. 12:1,2 (GN): “Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God... Then you’ll be able to know the will of (NEXT SLIDE) God- that is good, pleasing, and perfect."
HOW DO I MAKE A COMMITMENT OF MY LIFE TOTALLY TO CHRIST?
The Bible says when you give your life to God's purpose and you make a total commitment of your life you give up three things:
1. I give up the right to do whatever I want to do with my life (been bought with a price).
2. I give up control of my resources of time talent, and money to God.
3. I give up the pursuit of the world's values that conflict with biblical values.
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- Prayerfully establish a mission statement that expresses my values, my shape and commitment to God’s purpose for my life.
If you had to define your life in one word what would you use? Hectic? Chaotic? Busy? Fun? Fruitful? Meaningful? How many would say Purposeful? Focused? Focus is the key to an effective life.
WHAT IS A LIFE MISSION? It is a description of what I believe God wants me to do with my life.
I can't tell you your specific mission in life, I know what it is for me. (Q.V. and done with group of WBC students) Discovery is a process. It must be done PRAYERFULLY! You're going to spend 80-90 years in this world but you're going to spend thousands and thousands of years in eternity.
JESUS: “I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work You gave me to do.” (John 17:4)
PAUL: “I only want to complete my mission and finish the work that the Lord Jesus gave me to do . . .” (Acts 20:24 GN)
- stands for Organize my time around the purpose for which he formed me.
Ephesians 5:15-16 "Live life with a new sense of responsibility, not as those who don't know the meaning of life, (NEXT SLIDE) but as those who do. Make the best use of your time."
Prov. 17:24 "An intelligent person aims at wise actions. But a fool starts off in many directions."
in PURPOSE stands for Strengthen the skills, habits and relationships I’ll need to sustain my mission over the long haul.
Eccl. 10:10: "If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed but skill will bring success."
- Endure difficult things by keeping focused on my goal and reward and trust God for the power to complete my mission.
Keep on keeping on. I Cor. 9:24 "Run in such a way as to get the prize."
HOW TO COMPLETE MY MISSION.
1. REMOVE all distractions
Hebrews 12:1 "Let us strip off anything that slows us down or holds us back and let us run with patience (NEXT SLIDE) the particular (unique) race that God has set before us." God has a unique race for you, only you can run it.
What are the things that could distract you from your life's mission? Unique to each. But suggest three, the Deadly G’s: Guilt, Grief, and Grudges.
GUILT: personal lie Paul who had a lot to feel guilty about. He had been guilty of murder.
Paul says, "Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race." (Phil. 3:13-14 LB) Get forgiveness from God, accept it.
GRIEF: Personal grief (“If only . . .”) or grief from others (upbringing). You've got to let go of grief.
GRUDGES: against others or yourself. You've got to let go of grudges Learn from the past but don't dwell on it.
2. Remember THE REASON AND THE REWARD
REASON: What are we doing here? II Cor. 4:1 (GN) "God in His mercy has given us this work to do so we don't become discouraged." Why do I keep on running? Why do I work for my life's mission? Why do I try to complete the task and do what's right? Because God gave me this work to do.
REWARD: The other thing that keeps us going is the reward. PAUL: "To win the contest you must deny yourself many things that keep you from doing your best (NEXT SLIDE) but we do it for a heavenly reward that never disappears so I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step. (NEXT SLIDE) " (1 Cor. 9:25-26 LB)
Keep your eyes on your purpose not on your problems.
3. Renew MYSELF DAILY
2 Cor. 4:16 (GN): "For this reason we do not become discouraged because our spiritual being is renewed day by day." If you're going to make it to the finish line, you've got to know what renews you and you've got to do those things.
"Lord, when doubts fill my mind and my heart is in turmoil, quiet it and give me renewed hope and cheer." (Ps. 94:19 LB)
3. I must resist DISCOURAGEMENT
Falwell said, "You do not determine a man's greatness by his talent or his wealth or by his education. But you determine a man's greatness by what it takes to discourage him." What does it take to discourage you?”
Gal. 6:9 (LB): “Let us not get tired of doing what is right, for after a while we will reap a harvest of blessings if we don't get discouraged and give up."
THE DEADLY D’S: (1) Disappointment; (2) Discouragement; (3) Demoralization; (4) Defeat; (5) Death
Hab. 2:3, "These things I planned won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when (NEXT SLIDE) the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow do not despair for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient. (NEXT SLIDE) They'll not be overdue a single day."
4. Rely ON CHRIST
What God calls you to do He wants you to depend on Him for the power to do. Everything you go through, God will go through with you. Col. 1:29 (LB): "This is my work and I can do it (NEXT SLIDE) only because Christ's mighty energy is at work within me."
I Peter 4:11 (LB) “Are you called to help others? Do it (NEXT SLIDE) with all the strength and the energy that God supplies so that (NEXT SLIDE) God will be glorified."
Phil. 1:6 (LB): "God, who began the good work within you, will keep right on helping you grow (NEXT SLIDE) in His grace until His task within you is finally finished."
God will never give up on me. He who began this good work in you wants to bring it to completion in your life. The most meaningless statistic in football is the half-time score.
Acts. 13:36 "David served God's purpose in his generation, and then he died." There is no better way to live!
My prayer for each of us is to serve God's purpose in your generation and you'll be what God shaped you to be and you'll eliminate the distractions and resist the discouragement and focus on the reason and the reward, and you'll renew yourself daily, and you'll rely on Christ, so God can be God through you. You're not here by accident, God made you for a purpose. Don't waste your life. Serve God’s Purpose!