Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Purpose: What I'm Here For

Image result for kid with question marks

 A few weeks ago we had our annual counseling conference at BCC. This year we had a special Youth and Young Adult track titled Pathway to Life. In this track we covered 5 main topics which we are now going over during our IMAGE Sunday School class. Next week’s topic will be “Purpose: What I’m Here For” so I wanted to discuss it a bit more for our youth parents this week.

“What is my purpose?” “Why am I here?” These are such fundamental questions we each need to think through. Determining the answer to these not only gives someone direction and meaning to their life, but also allows them to find satisfaction in life and what they are doing. Without purpose, on the other hand, we are left wandering aimlessly and are typically very dissatisfied with all aspects of life jumping from thing to thing trying to fill a void we don’t even understand.

In thinking through this topic we may each come to different understandings of our individual purposes in relation to work, school, or other such personal parts of life, however, we each ultimately have the same deeper purpose that should drive the what, why, & how questions of what we do.

Toward that end a few verses come to mind the help guide our thinking. Our very existence or reason why God created us according to Isaiah 43:7 is, ”for My glory.” Paul tells us his goal and ours in life or death in 2 Corinthians 5:9. Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.” In his prior book to the Corinthians Paul explains the affect this has on even the most mundane things of life stating, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor 10:31).

What does this mean? It means we are built for more. You are built for more. Your child is built for more. We are not just built for this life, but for eternity and to interact with the Eternal One. Ecclesiastes 3:11 states, “He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.” We were built for the eternal. Understanding this also helps us understand why the pursuit of anything less for our life purpose will not satisfy. We have an eternal hole in our hearts made to only be filled by the eternal God. Anything less, all the finite things around us – jobs, money, people, fame, etc. are fickle and temporary and will never be able to satisfy our hearts.

Pursuit of anything less that God and His glory both robs God of the praise He is due and us of the joy He desires for us. Jesus presents this in John 15:11 stating, “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” In contrast to this, Israel sadly provides a clear picture of those living for things less than their created purpose.  Jeremiah 2:5 & 11-13 states,

5 Thus says the Lord, “What injustice did your fathers find in Me, That they went far from Me And walked after emptiness and became empty? … 11 Has a nation changed gods When they were not gods? But My people have changed their glory For that which does not profit. 12 “Be appalled, O heavens, at this, And shudder, be very desolate,” declares the Lord. 13 “For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, The fountain of living waters, To hew for themselves cisterns, Broken cisterns That can hold no water.

Israel pursed other gods. Notice first the affect is has on God. Their actions had portrayed God as worthless. They have, by their deed, said that God is not glorious, not worth anything of profit, and not giving of life. Second, notice the affect this has on Israel. They are left empty, hallow, alone. They have attained something of no worth or merit. They have burdened themselves in a great effort to be filled only to be left with vain, dry nothingness.

This may sound all too familiar to you as you think about yourself. This may be the exact place your child is at… striving with everything they have to find satisfaction and purpose in something, anything, yet ultimately never fulfilled. Christ gives an answer and hope for this person, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matt 11:28-30) Augustine said it this way, “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”

From the very beginning of man’s existence in Genesis 1 & 2 we see God has made us to have relationship with Himself. We are here to know God. It is why we are saved. “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3). This knowing is not being a part of a God “fan club” or a God “groupie.” It’s not you standing on the floor knowing all about God as he performs on stage, or sitting in the bleachers with all the stat books about God as He plays on the court. It is about have a living, active, vibrant relationship with God. It’s not just saying a prayer. That may start the relationship, but it is not the end of the relationship. It is only the very beginning. God intends to spend a lifetime (your lifetime) with you. He wants your relationship with Him to be ever growing and dynamic like the relationships you have with friends. He intends for it to take work and effort on your part like any good relationship, to require conversation with Him listening as He speaks in His Word to you and discussing it back with Him in prayer. He wants to be involved in your daily life hearing your joys and sorrows brought to Him like you would share with a close friend. It’s not that God doesn’t care about your neighbor’s dog’s weird rash when you pray. It’s that he wants something so much more personal, intimate, and substantial that goes throughout all your day, every day of your life.

You are here for more. You are eternal and created for the Eternal One. When we learn to believe this and start living in light of it we will not only be pursuing the purpose for which we are here, but also our highest joy as well.

Here are a few questions you might use to generate discussions around this topic…

  • What do you think a person’s purpose in life is?
  • What do you think purpose means?
  • Does everyone have the same purpose or does it differ per person?
  • Why do you think so many people are dissatisfied in life?
  • What are some things someone might use to satisfy him/herself in life with?
  • What are some things you have used to try to satisfy yourself with?
  • How has pursuing those things worked out for you?
  • What does God say about our purpose in life?
  • How do you think someone pursuing their purpose and them being satisfied might be linked?
  • What are some ways someone might pursue a deeper relationship with God?

Here is a link for the audio of this session with Scott O’Malley: https://www.bethanycommunitychurch.org/resources/docs/2505-pathway_to_purpose.mp3

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. (Eph 1:18-19a)

 - Phil

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