"My determined purpose is that I may know Him, that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His person."
Philippians 3:10 (Amplified Bible)
One of the greatest yearnings of the human heart is to know there is a purpose to life. To know there is a reason we are here on this earth. And in this one verse Paul sets out the true purpose to life--the one which can only bring the fulfillment our hearts yearn for.
In the next few pages I want to help you understand the power of Paul's words and the wonder and beauty they can bring to your life.
These words first struck me one morning as I was spending time with God, reading His Word. While Philippians 3:10 has been one of my all-time favorite verses, I had never quite seen it as God wanted me to until I read it in the Amplified Bible.
This verse kept rolling over and over in my mind. I knew God was trying to speak to me--to show me the power of what He had inspired Paul to write. Then it struck me. Notice Paul's words. Perceiving, recognizing, and understanding. Not just what He can do, although that is critical. Not just what He can give me, although He is the giver of all good gifts. But Paul said, I want to perceive, I want to recognize, I want to understand the wonders of His own personhood more strongly and more clearly.
In the next few pages, I want to take this verse apart for you. As I do, my hope for you is that God will reveal to you the power of these words--and that you would experience, as I have, the radical transformation that can occur when you embrace and apply this truth.
Chapter 1 (Part 1) "My Determined Purpose"
These first three words are incredibly powerful words. It is not an accident Paul uses the word "my" to begin this verse. It is so easy for us to focus on the lives of others. We are great at seeing in them the need for change. The need to get their act together. But, beloved, when we're into so many other people's business, we can't attend to our own business with God.
I've a mark on me that God has used to clearly reveal the reality of this truth. Recently I was on a walk with my dogs, and we came around a corner and five feet from us was a rabbit. Immediately my bird dog was off that leash and running. I tried to grab the rope of the leash and when I did it went across my palm, burning me right across the hand. Today I bear the mark of trying to hang on to something that didn't want me hanging on to it!
As I have looked at that scar I've come to realize I bear the marks of trying to hang on to people and things too tightly. I have especially tried to hang on to my children too tightly and I'm sure I have some of my husband's skin under my fingernails!
We all have those people we love so much, and we just believe they need fixin', and they need bossin', and they need manipulatin', and they need controllin'! And we're so busy focusing on them that we haven't had a fresh work of God in months--and maybe years--in our own lives because we're waiting for Him to have a fresh work in somebody else's life.
You cannot determine anybody else's purpose for them. But I'll tell you what you can do. You can determine God's purpose for your life. I am challenging you to open your mind and heart so God can do something huge in your life. Nobody can do this for you, but you can make up your mind right now to pursue God's purpose for your life.
The word right after "my" is "determined." This is a fascinating word. I was personally blown away when I learned the definition of the word "determination." According to the dictionary I used, it says determination is "the act of making or arriving at a decision; the quality of being resolute or firm in purpose; the act of settling a dispute...."
As I thought about that I realized this is the kind of determination God calls us to. So often one of the greatest things that keeps you and me from realizing God's purpose in our life is the dispute within us. It is a war within us, a fight within us, within our inner man. The things of the soul are at war with the things of the Spirit.
Now, right now, you can win that dispute. How? By choosing to make the focus of your life knowing Him. By making that the purpose of your life. If you were to make that decision right now, I guarantee you, it would be completely life altering.
In fact, that is the only way you will settle the dispute in your heart. As I read on, the definition of "determination" said, "The act of settling a dispute or other question, by an authoritative decision or pronouncement."
I love that. Why? Because we are told in Scripture we are to renounce sin. While we want the thoughts of Christ to literally dwell in our minds, and we know our thoughts are absolutely critical (for "as a man thinketh, so is he"), yet there is even more power when we speak--verbally renounce--our sin. The actual spoken word is indeed powerful when we make a profession, a confession of our faith.
I believe this is what Paul, prompted by the Holy Spirit, is saying to you and me in this passage. We must make a pronouncement of a made-up mind. A pronouncement of a determination to know Him.
Now I want to show you something really incredible. I am sure you are familiar with the Old Testament word "covenant." In Genesis chapter 15, God made a covenant with Abram (interestingly, in the Hebrew it literally says that God "cut a covenant" with Abram). And then we're told in the New Testament we are under the "New Covenant." In Hebrew "covenant" is the word "berett." If you looked that word up in your Hebrew dictionary, you would find the word not only means "covenant," but it also means "determination."
I believe God is trying to help you and me understand His determination in His pursuit of us. God has made a new covenant--a new determination--with you and me through Jesus Christ. And He will never let up in that determination. He keeps after us, and keeps after us, and will never tire in that pursuit. And what I want you to understand is that when God cut His covenant with us through Jesus Christ, He was determined in His pursuit of us.
I want you to know that, because I want you to understand just how significant and precious you are to God. He's got a made-up mind where you're concerned. He knows how He wants your life to pan out. Our God knows the end from the beginning. And He is determined to pursue you because He knows the greatest joy in your life will come from His plan for you.
So here's what I want you to understand. If you will receive the fact that God is determined where you are concerned, and you will get determined where He is concerned, your life will be radically transformed. You will experience huge, miraculous, unexplainable things.
When you accept the fact that God is determined about you, and you add it to your determination about Him, I am telling you, there'll be no stopping you from fulfilling the absolutely God-ordained destiny He has for you. So let me ask you, are you determined?