Chapter One (Part Two) "My Determined Purpose"
Now I love this third word, "purpose." And I want you to think about it just a second. A I have thought about this, here is what I have come to realize. I am quite sure we can live with the pain, and we can live with suffering, and we can live with all manner of tribulation more easily than we can live with purposelessness. We can get through almost anything if we know there is purpose.
But I'm telling you, there is an emptiness in your life even if you're in Christ, if you have not discovered that you have purpose in Him. And how great that emptiness if you have not figured out what on earth His purpose is for you.
This sense of purpose, I believe, is not a spiritual state; it's an emotional and mental state in which we just can't seem to put life together without a sense of purpose. Why? Because you and I were created to be a people who seek purpose.
God did not set Adam in the garden to cultivate it after the fall, but rather he set him in it before the fall. Why? Because He knew man was created with the need to contribute and to feel a genuine sense of purpose. It gives life meaning every single moment if we know we have a purpose.
So let me ask you, do you know what your purpose is? God knows what it is, and if you determine the same purpose in your life that God has determined for you, I am telling you that's when your life will explode with true fulfillment. But you will not experience that fulfillment until then. Until then, you will always have that seeking, that sense of dissatisfaction, that sense of not being able to fully grasp a fulfilled and happy life.
In his wonderful book, The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren writes these words--I want you to read these carefully: "There is nothing quite as potent as a focused life. One lived on purpose." Do you understand what he is saying? Focus. Focus. He goes on to say: "You become effective by becoming selective."
You and I become effective by becoming selective. One reason we lack effectiveness in the sphere of influence that we have is because our minds (Moms?!?) are just wigged out from one extreme to the other. We live two miles wide and a half an inch deep. We are totally caught up in a thousand different things, and not doing any of them well.
I remember when my daughter Melissa was a child. She had enough energy to climb a 20 foot brick wall. This is a child who rode a two-wheeler, no training wheels, a couple of days before her third birthday. This was my wild child.
And then about the fourth grade, after this child had driven us crazy, and just pitched us every which way, somebody put a basketball in her hands. The first time she shot the ball it was nothin' but net. It was at that point that I stood back and thought, "Mm, mm, mm. That's what it's gonna be." Now, I really don't care much about basketball--oh, I learned to care about it. In fact, I was the most obnoxious person in the stands by the time she was a junior--but all of a sudden, Melissa had a focus to her life.
Now let me ask you, wouldn't it be a relief to you if you were all about one thing? But I have to tell you, if you are to live out God's purpose for your life, you must come to a place where you determine a focus to your life. God has designed an excellence, a single purpose for you and me.
I have thought about this so many times because I have so often lived with a divided heart. But, let me tell you, divided loyalties can be the death of us.
Oh, sure, we will say, "God, You are the most important thing." And then we kind of line everything up behind that. But what He's trying to get through to us is this: He is not the most important thing, He is the ONLY thing. He is it, He is your life--not just a part of it, or even the most important thing in your life. He is everything.
Paul says it this way in Colossians 3:4, "When Christ, who is your life, appears . . ."
WOW! Those are powerful words. Paul says, He is your life. And when your life becomes totally focused on Him--when everything becomes that one thing, that one stream, and that focus on Him begins to impact how you do everything, and everything you go through is about that one thing--let me tell you something, your life will be radically transformed.
Selective becomes effective.
I want you to carefully read these next words by George Bernard Shaw. When I read them they stunned me. They made me sit back and really think.
"This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one . . . the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy." Man and Superman, Epistle Dedicatory)
Whoa! Pouring ourselves out for one purpose. That is what must consume you and me instead of being a selfish, feverish little clod that grieves and despairs because the world will not determine to make us happy.
Purpose. Determination. A single-minded focus in all of life. Does that apply to your life? Or are you wandering through your life without any purpose?
I heard somebody say the other day, "I'm still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up." And you know what? We laugh about that--while we color our roots! But we are grown up! Perhaps not in the things of the faith, but we are grown-ups. And it's time to determine what our purpose is.
I want to know Christ. What about you? Paul says, "I want to know Christ!"