Your Christian Life Part II (CC-7)
This is the second part of the series dealing with the Christian Life. In it, we address the five purposes which God has set out for us while on this earth. These five purposes constitute the meaning of the Christian life.
The Christian moral compass.
One crucial fact to remember is that God has a different view of your life than yours. You may think of life as a struggle, a puzzle, or a game of cards you have to face in the short years you're going to walk on this earth. For God, your life is a blink of an eye existence on earth, followed by eternity. Yet, despite its brevity, your temporary life is significant to God. That's why He has prepared a plan for you to fulfill in preparation for eternal life.
Living for God's glory is the most outstanding achievement we can accomplish with our lives.
"You are worthy O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for you have created all things, and for your pleasure they are and were created." (Revelation 4:11)
We cannot add anything to God's inherent glory. But we are commanded to recognize, honor, declare, praise, and reflect his glory. When we do this, our moral compass points to Him and his commands.
There are many ways to bring glory to God, but the key ones are embedded in God's five purposes for your life.
Purpose Number 1: Worshipping God
Anything you do to bring pleasure to God is an act of worship. When you attend church, Mass, or listen to a sermon; when you pray or sing with fellow believers; when you light a candle in the memory of your parents; when you communicate with the Lord in seclusion, you worship God. This kind of honor is essential, but it is not enough.
Worshiping God should be a lifestyle. Every activity can be transformed into an act of worship when you do it for the pleasure, glory, and praise of the Almighty. Even your daily routine work becomes worship when you dedicate it to God and perform it with an awareness in his presence. Love, trust, and obey God, and he will smile. Give thanks to God, and he will smile. Use your abilities to do good deeds, and God will smile.
Purpose Number 2: Loving Others
The entire Bible is about God's love for his people and him building a family who will love him, honor him, and reign with him forever. You were formed to be part of God's family. When you place your faith in Christ, God becomes your Father, and you become his child. Other believers become your brothers and sisters, and the church becomes your spiritual family. God created every human, but not everyone is a child of God.
The only way to get into God's family is by being born again into it. You become part of the human family through your first flesh birth, but you become a member of God's family through your second spiritual birth. The physical picture of the second spiritual birth is the baptism. Through baptism, you announce to the world: "Look at me. I am born again in the spirit." Being included in God's family is the highest honor and most incredible privilege you will ever receive.
How to love is the most important lesson God wants you to learn on earth. But, be careful, the love you need to remember is not the worldly self-centered love; it is the godly unselfish love that emanates only from Jesus Christ. This kind of love is not only generous; it is also surrendering, sacrificial, and eternal. How you treat and love other people is the most enduring impact you can leave on earth.
The best expression of love is time. Why is that? Because time is your most precious asset, of which you have only a set amount. When you give someone your time, you're giving them a portion of your life that you'll never get back. That is why the greatest gift you can bestow on someone you love is your time. When you invest time in a relationship, you demonstrate how important it is for you.
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another." (John 13:34)
Purpose Number 3: Becoming like Christ
You were created to become like Christ. From the very beginning, God has planned to make you like His Son. This is your destiny and also the Third Purpose of your life. He who becomes like Christ takes on his character, values, and attitudes. These attributes are clearly described in the beatitudes of Jesus, in the fruit of the Spirit, Paul's great writings on love, and Peter's list of the characteristics of an effective and productive life. Never forget that God's ultimate goal for your life on earth is not comfort but character development.
It is the Holy Spirit's job to produce Christlike character in you. You cannot reproduce the character of Jesus on your strength.
"When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth..." (John 16:13).
This means that Christlikeness is not produced by imitation, but by inhabitation, by allowing the Holy Spirit to dwell in us. With the Holy Spirit inside us, we must always consult with him before making decisions. If we chose the right thing, God's Spirit would give us his power, faith, and wisdom to do it. If you want to grow spiritually, you must act now. Do not wait to be powerful or confident. Move ahead in your weakness, doing the right things despite your fears and doubts. This is how you cooperate with the Holy Spirit; this is how your character develops.
This implies that what happens outwardly in your life is not as important as what happens inside you. Your circumstances are temporary, but your character will last forever. One last observation: Problems do not automatically produce what God intends. Many people become bitter rather than better in facing problems, get discouraged with ease, and learn nothing from them. To benefit from pests, you must meet them the way Jesus would: first, remember that God's plan is good; secondly, rejoice and give thanks; and thirdly, refuse to give up.
There are no shortcuts to maturity. The development of Christlike character takes time, perseverance, and effort. Same as physical growth, spiritual growth toward maturation cannot be rushed. Christlikeness is your eventual destination, but the journey will last a lifetime. God has chosen to transform us little by little, step by step, the same way that Jesus was deliberate in developing his disciples.
Purpose Number 4: Serving Others
You were put on earth to contribute and add something to life, not just to take from it. God wants you to give something back. This is called "ministry" or "service," and it is God's fourth purpose for your life. This is your assignment that you must fulfill cheerfully, repeatedly, and to the best of your abilities.
"For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Mark 10:45)
Begin with assessing your gifts and abilities. Yet do not wait until you have discovered all of them in detail. Start your service right now, and in the process, you'll find out your gifts and talents and focus on them. Consider your heart and your personality, and see where there is a match with what you do. This where your passion lies; this is your calling. Examine your experiences and draw lessons that should be shared with others. In doing your work, never compare yourself with others; instead, compare the process you make yourself from one task to another, from one year to another. This is your growth!
Purpose Number 5: Telling Others About God
You were made for a mission. God is at work in the world, and he wants you to join him. This assignment is called your mission. Your ministry is your service to believers; your mission is your service to unbelievers. Fulfilling your mission is God's Fifth Purpose for your life.
"For so the Lord has commanded us, saying," 'I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth." (Acts 13:47)
We are to continue Jesus' mission when he was on the earth. What he did then in his physical body, we are to continue now as his spiritual body, his church. Telling other people about God becomes our mission! Fulfilling your mission on earth is an essential part of living for God's glory.
God has given you a Life Message to share. When you became a believer, you also became God's messenger. God will speak to the world through your mouth and deeds. If you somehow feel you have nothing to share, consider the following points. First is your testimony of how you began your relationship with Jesus. Secondly are your life lessons or what God has taught you through your unique life experiences. Thirdly are your godly passion or the issues God shaped you to care about most. And finally is the Good News or the message of salvation.
For us, Christians living in the 21st century, sharing our life message is easier than ever. We can reach not only the few people near us, such as at work, school, or in the neighborhood. We can reach many more of them, those who are far from us, by using modern telecommunication methods.
YOUR FIVE PURPOSES IN LIFE ARE OF DIVINE ORIGIN.
ACCOMPLISH THEM WITH PASSION,
PERSEVERANCE AND HUMILITY.
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Useful links: Rick Warren