“For God knew His people in advance, and He chose them to become like His Son, so that His Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” (Romans 8:29 NLT)
Once we respond to God’s calling by accepting His invitation to become His child, then the journey of becoming conformed to the likeness of Jesus begins and that, my friend, becomes our purpose. Simple? Yes. Easy. Not so much. The plan to climb Mt. Everest may be simple, but it’s far from easy.
Confusion abounds because people like me, who was a pastor for 30+ years, like to speak about our “calling” to be a pastor. Do I believe I was called to be a pastor? Absolutely. But how that really translates is this – being a pastor was God’s choice for me as I sought to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, which is my purpose. Being a pastor was the plan God had for my life as a means of living out my calling as His child, thus contributing to the fulfillment of His purpose for my life.
God extends His invitation to everyone. He doesn’t want anyone to miss their calling to become His child (1 Timothy 2:4/2 Peter 3:9), but with virtually every invitation, there will be those who respond positively, and some will reject the invitation. What’s the point? Calling is for everyone. Purpose, from a Biblical perspective, is only for God’s children, those who accept their calling to become His child and begin the long journey of becoming like Jesus.
Why is purpose wrapped up so tightly in becoming like Jesus? Because Jesus perfectly modeled what it means to be God’s child. He alone opened the door of opportunity for us to accept God’s invitation (calling), by laying down His life and paying the penalty for our sin which we could never in eternity ever have paid for ourselves.
So, what might your purpose look like? We get clues by looking at the life of Jesus. As I think of purpose, I see at least two primary dimensions. First, the character of Jesus, then secondly, the mission of Jesus.
In Colossians 2:9 Paul talks about the fact that in Jesus all the fullness of the Godhead dwelt bodily. In other words, Jesus was God in human form. Then in verse 10 he makes an astounding declaration that in Jesus we too are complete, whole, filled with purpose. How can that be? Because of our union (partnership) with Jesus! It’s critical that we understand our purpose is all about Jesus, not about us, and allowing Him to develop His character in us is essential.
You might see your “purpose” as being an astronaut, physician, all-star athlete, mother, teacher, etc, the list is virtually endless in terms of how our purpose is expressed. But if Jesus isn’t at its core, our true purpose will never be fulfilled. The question isn’t so much “What should I do/be?” It’s “Lord, may I never forget that whatever you’ve gifted and equipped me to do/be, may it be done to Your honor and fame and for the purpose of extending Your eternal Kingdom. May I use the gifts and abilities You’ve given me to accomplish Your mission on this earth – to allow Jesus to show His grace through my life.”
We’ll look at this more closely tomorrow.
Blessings, Ed 😊