Our expectation of purpose is generally about doing something that either looks religious or the world deems important. However, God is not looking for us to be impressive!
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 fulfill his good purpose. Philippians 2:12-13 (NIV)
The above passage teaches us the truth about how God sees purpose.
First, our purpose is tied to God’s purpose. Apart from God’s purpose, we don’t have one. We can’t run here, there, and everywhere trying to find our purpose. Just as the moon has no light apart from its alignment to the sun, similarly, our purpose is only revealed when we are in alignment with the son.
Second, God works on us to change our will and desires, so that we take on His desires and His purpose. If there is a tug of war, then we must be pushing for something that is either not God’s purpose or is not His timing. He is the one who puts the desire in us to do His will and to follow His purpose.
Third, our part is to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. While people are looking for purpose, God is looking for obedience to His will.
Sometimes people are looking for their purpose, but their personal lives are out of order. Some still need a steady job. Some need consistency in paying their bills on time. Also, there are those who need to spend time strengthening their family relationships. This doesn’t mean that we have to be perfect to serve God, but God has an order that begins with our Jerusalem and it extends out to Judea, Samaria, and the outermost part of the earth. Taking care of our personal lives is part of our purpose. It represents God’s order in self-governance and healthy families. It also blesses those around us.
Our ultimate purpose is to represent Jesus to a lost world. In 1 Corinthians 13, the Apostle Paul tells us that we may do many things that seem impressive but if we don’t have love we are a clanging cymbal. If we accomplish many things and serve much, but we have no love, then we have not represented the heart of God to the world. This reminds me of Ananias and Sapphira (See Acts 5) who wanted to be impressive and look like all the other generous Christians but did not have a heart of love. They wanted to be impressive with their generosity yet not be as generous as they claimed to be. Hence, they lied about selling all their possessions, so they could be impressive to others. That was not God’s purpose. It would have been better for them to have given what was in their hearts rather than pretending to be generous and lying about it. If Ananias and Sapphira had walked in the fear and trembling of the Lord, it would have saved their lives.
I believe, the Lord wants us to go back to the basics of our faith and stop trying to be impressive to God or others. As we walk with the Lord, He will continue to shape us in Jesus’ image, and He will reveal His heart and His purpose in our lives. How are you doing with God’s heart and His desires for your life!?