Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Purpose of Life

Alright. I am at Clements (Belfast's local coffee shop), I have my americano and I will blog. I tell you what, I really fell into a writer's block. Blame it on the move abroad. Blame it on busyness. Blame it on the weather. Whatever way - I am back! I have so many thoughts and so much that the Lord has been teaching me these past six months in Northern Ireland. It was hard to choose what I might write about on this return to the blog world. There have been many small daily teachings, God's voice clearly speaking to me, and experiences of His glory but I have come to one over-arching realization while I have been here. You would think I would have had this realization long ago, and maybe I did in a sense, but it has not come to full fruition until now and what a glorious realization it is.

The realization of the purpose of life. 

This was a big question for me years ago. I remember various times that the question was raised in my mind, "What is the point of all this?" Often said in frustration, post-heartbreak, friendship fallouts, or work overload... What. Is. The. Point.

Wow. I just had to stop and think about one specific time that I asked this again and again. As an 18 year old at the end of high school. I remember walking through the halls feeling completely empty, completely uncertain whether there even was a point. That emptiness, my "intellectualism," my border-line atheism was the chain that held me at the start of college when the Lord found me and set me free. Though I have raised that question since then, what a joy it is to look back and think of the transformation and freedom of the Holy Spirit and that I never have to experience such emptiness ever again. Hallelujah.

I think why I feel so pulled to write specifically on this is because I have had several conversations with believers that make me wonder what they feel is the purpose of life. Certain way that decisions are made, motives are explained, and even the way that the Lord is talked about makes me think that many of us believers actually have different ideas to the point of it all. Statements have been thrown out like "good job, you are making a difference, and isn't that what it's all about?" or "it is all about God's plan for your life" or other things that I cannot remember but raised some internal alarms when heard. Well, are those things what its all about? I was not so sure. Often I think we talk the talk and walk the walk and yet never spend time with the Lord who should be making that talk and forming that walk. The greatest tragedy I think will be when acts that appear "righteous" will fill our lives so much so that we convince ourselves that this is what its all about, and yet we will one day meet God and He will say "I never knew you."

My heart aches thinking about such a tragedy.

For if it is true that this world is passing away, that we have nothing on our own to give, then what is the purpose of it all? I will never fully understand the Lord, the Creator of the Universe who crafted the speed of light and supernovas which are at such a scale that my mind cannot even comprehend. Yet as I walk with Him daily and by His grace are given more and more insight to His character it seems to me that we have twisted what its all about, have twisted it to focus on ourselves, on this present world, on everything but His Kingdom and Glory. But is that not what the Lord tells us it IS about? His glory - His Kingdom.
I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’ Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth— everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glorywhom I formed and made. Isaiah 43:6-7
So where do we fit in all of that? We see over and over that the Lord is a God of relationship and He desires relationship with His children. What a glorious truth that is. Though I can never love Him or honor Him or obey Him the way He is worthy to be loved and honored and obeyed - He says He delights in me still. When I came here I left everything- my job, my family, my home and everything that was familiar. Maybe it was through this emptying that it took me moving to inner-city East Belfast to see that the purpose of this life is simply to know and love God and through this to bring Him glory. How easy it is to complicate this truth. The world so easily distracts us from the amazing fact that we can have an immediate, personal, deep relationship with the God of the Universe who is loving and precious and full of overwhelming goodness!
Now this is eternal life—that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you sent. John 17:3
I do truly believe that the point of life is NOT to do good, to make a difference, to do work in excellence, to live in community, to minister, to be holy, to spread the Gospel. Hear me - all these things are good but I do not believe they are the sole or highest calling. Take any of these things away and you still have redemption from Christ; God's goodness still reigns. I can find God when I am not good, when I am not making much of a difference, when I am lazy, when I am alone, when I fail to be holy. I may not find victory in this world and yet I can rest knowing that there is victory in Jesus, that I will receive the reward of victory if not in this life than most definitely in the next. How? By knowing God.
And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. Romans 27:8
What an awesome freedom we have as children of God! How light our burden to know that when we have knowing and glorifying God as our focus and purpose we are released from the pressure of self-sufficiency or fear of not meeting others' expectations. If God is for us who can be against us? Better yet: when we place knowing and glorifying God as our first and foremost priority what do we find? We find that we are better able to do good. By His Spirit, He can use us to make a difference, to do our work in excellence, to fellowship with others, to be so eager to talk of our love and joy in Him that the Gospel comes out in conversation. Nothing is forced, nothing is done out of a false heart, nothing is done by our own strength or pride. All God, all by His Spirit, all by our relationship with a holy and active Father.

Lord how wonderful are your ways! May your praise be ever on my lips and your goodness always on my heart. Transform me God that your purposes will become my purpose, your ways my ways, your glory my holiness. That in all this life I might come to know You so you are glorified now and forever. Amen. 
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 27:38

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