Breaking Through to Intentional Living
Reading Visions and Dreams by Ken Powe reminds us that a life without purpose is a meaningless walk in the darkness. The most fully alive people on the planet are those who have discovered that life does possess meaning and have found its purpose for living. Knowing something about one’s purpose is connecting ordinary people with transformative truth.
Someone once said that God made humanity for Himself; that is the first and last thing that can be said about human existence. And whatever more an individual adds is but commentary. As has been commonly saying, the two most important days in a person’s life are the day he was born and the day he finds out why. A person may be adopted, and not knowing who your parents are to this day is something to be pondered upon. However, knowing your purpose is knowing the meaning of your life and why you are here.
A very familiar Scripture on purpose is found in the book of Jeremiah (29:11), when the prophet writes, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” These words were written sometime after the Jews were deported to Babylon around 597 BC to encourage the exiles. You can imagine how purposelessly they felt back then. God’s people have been defeated and exiled. They were even probably asking, “What’s the use?”
Jeremiah wrote to encourage them, strengthen them, and give them a sense of purpose. Even though they were in captivity, all was not lost. Although they lived in a pagan culture, God had plans for them. They were essential to be God’s witnesses in a pagan world. They needed to follow the one true God while living in Babylon.
Do Not Give Up Hope
Maybe you, too, have given up hope. Stop thinking that way. As long as God is on the throne, there is hope. None of humanity knows what may be in store in the days ahead, but one can live with hope. These exiles had lost everything except a few possessions they carried into Babylon. From their perspective, there was not much worth living for. If you are a walking pity party, you will lose your sense of purpose. Whining and complaining would not change a thing. Whether you see your situation as temporary or permanent, you lose your reason for living if you lose hope. Whatever you are facing, look it in the face, look God in the face, and ask Him what He wants you to learn. Wherever you are, it is not an accident. God can take a setback and turn it into a stepping stone.
There is a danger if you lack purpose. You start listening to people who tell you what you want to hear. You will buy lies that make you feel better and feed off spiritual junk food rather than the meat of the Word of God.
Hope and Purpose
Believe it or not, hope and purpose are tied together. If you have a sense of purpose, you have hope. If you have hope, you have a sense of purpose. One can find both hope and purpose in the Word of God. Israel was in captivity, yet they needed to be reminded of their purpose. Paul was in prison when he wrote the letter to the Philippians, but he never forgot his purpose. You see, you need to remember your purpose. You have a message of hope for a lost world.
As you travel this land, you see people who look empty. They crowd onto planes and trains even in subways, and their faces reveal a lack of purpose. Some even look bored. Others seem dazed and confused. Humanity seems to move through life like cattle headed for the slaughter pen for the most part. There is a sense of dread in the youngest generation (those who are idealistic). They realize they would not have the things their parents had. They graduate from college, cannot find a job, and move home. Social media creates a false sense of connection, yet they cannot carry on a face-to-face conversation about the real meaning of life. Again, they look empty.
For some, they live for careers. Others focus on finding fulfillment through a soul mate. Many parents allow their lives to be dictated by basketball, ballet, and a thousand other activities that place their children at the center of the universe. Others still focus on fitness, obsessing over exercise, marathons, going to the gym, or going through the latest dieting fad. However, none of these can provide true purpose or lasting satisfaction.
Purpose matters. But it is not about having a purpose; it is about having the right purpose. The entire world is off track. The world has lost its way. Everything that used to be wrong is now correct. Suicide rates are alarming. Domestic violence and sexual abuse are ruining people’s lives around the globe. Many seem to have lost (or never indeed found). The reality is one cannot live without meaning and purpose. Meaning a believer can have Christ and still miss their purpose. If you have not surrendered to the lordship of Jesus and are walking in the Spirit, you can end up like the children of Israel, wandering in the wilderness of lost opportunity.
The very idea of purpose could not arise by chance, for purpose and chance are opposites. God did not place the human race here and wished it good luck. He did not make the humans in His image to be a victim of circumstances. He put humanity here to be overcomers. If it were not for Jesus, everything in this world would be meaningless. All of life would be a dead-end street. Francis Schaeffer had it true when he said that man, made in the image of God, has a purpose: to be in a relationship to God, who is there. Most often than not, man forgets his purpose and thus forgets who he is and what life means. Thus, live a Godly purposeful life. It does not matter if you are qualified. Remember, God does not call people who are qualified. He calls people who are willing, and then He qualifies them.