Are You Truly Fulfilling Your Purposes?

I’m on my third week of my journey through The Purpose Driven Life. This was a deep week for me and more emotional than the others have been. I’m not sure if it’s because of the conclusions I have drawn up for my own life that which I am lacking in or if it’s because of the lessons themselves that I have read. So, I think I’ll take this week’s lessons from my own personal experience & perspective based on Warren’s teachings.

Chapter 14 is entitled – “When God Seems Distant”. THUD! Reading the title I should’ve guessed it was going to be a deep chapter…and it was. Warren says God is real, no matter how you feel:

The deepest level of worship is praising God in spite of pain, thanking God during a trial, trusting him when tempted, surrendering while suffering, and loving him when he seems distant.”

Phew! That is so hard sometimes. Don’t you think? I know many years ago I was at the lowest point of my life. Yet, I took Warren’s teachings even before I read them. It took all the strength, humility, surrendering that I had but I did it. I worshiped Him before crawling back to new heights. How did I do it? I focused on the following principles – by telling God exactly how I felt (poured my heart out so much it rained), I focused on God’s unchanging nature (he is good, he loves me, & he is always with me), I trusted that he would keep his promises (he is still for me even when I don’t realize it), and I remembered what God has already done for me (the sacrifice of Jesus). Not an easy task to worship God in your deepest darkest times but not impossible either. It’s a choice you have to make. Choose the darkness or choose the light. I chose the light.

That was just chapter 14. Chapters 15-19 described my second purpose – that I was formed for God’s family. I got three truths out of those chapters – (1) our spiritual family will continue throughout eternity; it is a stronger union, a more permanent bond, than blood relationships, (2) life is all about love and (3) I am called to belong, not just believe.

A benefit to being in God’s family is spending eternity in Heaven. Our life here is so miniscule compared to that which we are destined for – a life in Heaven with our spiritual family. I, personally, want to be there and I hope that my family will be there too. Baptism is so important because without it, you can’t be included in God’s family. Jesus himself commanded, “go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” I’m so glad that as an infant I was baptized. Now, I just have to live the life God intended me to do. I hope that I am fulfilling that purpose.

Life is all about love. God is love. Love is the standard by which I live by. It is one of the purposes that I know that I fulfill. I would do anything for anyone that I love. Still, I know that there is a greater purpose for love and that is to give special love and attention to other believers. This takes me back to that verse I love so much – “Shine like a star as you hold out the Word of life”. It is my hope that I shine everyday, that I mirror God’s love and that by loving others in his family, we all shine like stars.

Warren goes on to say the best expression of love is time. In Gary Chapman’s book “The Five Love Languages” I know my love language is quality time. Maybe that’s why when I go home for two weeks in the summer I try to give as much time as possible to those that I love. I visit everyone I can before my husband gets there for his one week off. I feel the desire to see everyone, not because I’m supposed to but because I want to!

Yet, I also know that though I am doing a good job loving others, I’m not doing it as much for my love for Christ. I don’t spend as much time with him as I should in worship, reading His Word, in prayer, or in fellowship with others. I need to do that more. That’s where I lack and that’s what I need to work on.

Finally, there’s one other place I am failing in my purpose of being in God’s family – belonging to a church. We are called to belong, not just believe. Though I know that, I have used every excuse in the book not to find a place to worship – it’s Mike’s job, he works Sundays, we need to find something together that we can both worship at, we need to find a good schedule so that we can attend at least one service together, etc. It’s crazy! Though I pray for God’s direction daily, what I should be doing is following the answers to that prayer. We BOTH should. God has provided many opportunities to worship in our new home of Raleigh, NC. We should just make a commitment to find one. I’ll work on that with him this week. I’ll let you know how that turns out too. 🙂

I got so many more insights out of this week’s reading but I think I’ll stop here. Points to ponder for this week –

  • Do you worship God even when he seems distant?
  • How much of your love and your time do you give to others, including Christ?
  • Have you found a church in which you can belong, not just believe?

In answer to bullet point #3, I’d love to hear about your experiences. Will you share them with me? If not, that’s ok too. Just knowing that you are reading and pondering my insights is enough.

Have a Blessed week full of His presence,

TQF

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