That’s quite a question isn’t it?
Yesterday was spent interviewing people for ordination in 2021 and this Saturday will be spent ordaining the 2020 ministers by zoom!
It is so moving to see people who have completed a ministerial training programme and embark on the next chapter of their life. They have and will probably continue to ask about God’s purpose for their life over the coming years. As do we all, whether a minister or a member of a Church, we want to know what is the purpose of God for my life.
If we take the attention away from what we do (our jobs, relationships, the stuff we possess) and focus more on who we are then we will be getting nearer to the answer.
The Apostle has told the Philippians to have the same attitude as Christ who demonstrated perfect obedience and self-sacrifice and now he goes on to explain how to apply that model to our lives:
“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfil his good purpose. Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labour in vain. But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. So you too should be glad and rejoice with me. (Philippians 2: 12-18)
So here is what I think God’s purpose for our life is according to the Apostle:
Be the same person.
In this year of zoom I have been confined to our small bedroom. I had an office when I worked from my headquarters but since changing my job my office has been on my computer/phone/car, until lockdown. Now the thing is this bedroom still has a bed propped up in the corner and the rest of the space is a fold up table (my desk) and lots of files and some books scattered around the rest of the room. I have to position my computer camera so that when my colleagues are zooming in with their beautiful backgrounds of bookshelves and office type furniture they don’t see my mess. One day maybe I will have an office again. Until then no one will know (unless they read this blog!) that on zoom I am not the same person as I am if you walked into my ‘unconventional office’.
My first preach many months ago in lockdown given to the camera was taken in the conservatory. I had a beautiful shirt on and the sermon went quite well. I sent it off to the church to be edited and then broadcast. All was fine except my son texted me to let me know that the reflection from the conservatory doors revealed that though my shirt was indeed lovely that I was also wearing shorts!
Paul compliments then and encourages them to continue to be the same person whether he is there with them or as he is now away from them in prison.
God’s purpose for our life is to be the same person whether on show or not.
Co-operate with the work of God within us.
We become like Christ: the working out of your salvation is not us but Him who works it out in all circumstances, even the bad, see Romans 8:28-30.
We bow to His presence: create awe again in your life. God is not our buddy. He is our GOD. The Jews wouldn’t even write His name because of their fear and trembling of His presence.
We remain positive: How we all like to grumble. If we delete all social media feeds that are negative, complaining and grumbling about something then there would be hardly anything on there. Some days we just have to put social media down because the negativity invades our mind. Stop it. Be positive.
Submitting to the work of God in our lives is His purpose for us.
Be examples of order.
Stars show us a plan of created order: Paul tells them to shine to the world brightly telling a message that even in a disorderly circumstance God is in total control. All things are well. You are created and ordered to be here right now.
Stars show us a plan of strategic order: Further to this, you are going forward. The stars were the guidance for so many being directed from one place to another. You are not aimlessly journeying. He is taking you forward. There is a plan. A strategy. Sometimes we have to trust Him when we don’t see the way but we shine to a world that even in the darkness there is a plan and everything will be alright for you.
The world needs to see our ordered lives and that is the purpose of God.
Be joyful in the worst of times.
Yesterday a retired minister died after a long struggle in hospital. I lost touch with him over the years but I remember how he took me from Bible College and gave me a church plant to pastor in 1992. I wrote on the social media feed yesterday 2 simple words, ‘sad news’. I was sad. But I reflected on that later and realised again that actually it was sad for his wife and those who loved him but actually it was ‘happy news’ for him.
Paul says basically if you hear I have died do not be sad but rejoice because I am in my eternal home.
In the worst of times be joyful is the purpose of God for our life.
May we live our lives in the purpose of God today.