Searching for Purpose

God’s Will, this is something that I think follows well with last week’s post on our passions, as it ventured into the area of vocation a bit.

The song My Place in This World by Michael W. Smith may be dated at this point but I don’t think the sentiment is. I believe every believer who starts to take their relationship with God seriously I think instinctively wants to understand what God desires for them, this is natural. But how often do we let searching this out be a paralyzing thing?  I have a friend who doesn’t believe that God has someone in mind for who we marry. Now obviously this is because nobody wants to walk around wondering if they made some kind of irreversible mistake and now they are trapped. Oh dear…The answer is thus, well God must have lots of best options so we don’t have to worry.

I appreciate the idea, but if God does have a will for my life why would he leave probably the most important decision of my life to my whims? I can think back over my life and realize that very different choices would have resulted in quite a very different life for me. I would be an entirely different person in quite a different place based on that decision alone. I think the bigger key is are we interested in God’s opinion on such things? But getting back to the original idea what does God have in mind for my life? How do we find our purpose? Vocation? We see verses like:

The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps. Pro 16:9

A man’s steps are from the LORD; how then can man understand his way? Pro 20:24

This is why we ask and seek? But how to find the answer? Well I think he does have plans because when I look back I can see the path that I have walked and how they have crafted me into the man I am by the path and challenges I have passed through. I believe that God fashions us, he doesn’t only know our physicality but he knows our potential and mind and our emotional make up.

The thing is when we are children we dream a lot. We dream about what we may become one day. As we get older some of those things are exposed for what they are, simply wishful thinking. We start to experiment with our likes and dislikes and with different exposures we develop passions and goals and we start to move in a direction. I think this is part of not only growing but the way God helps us see our gifts and desires and perhaps we discover what we were made for.

See, the problems occur when we experience set back and we begin to wonder if we chose correctly. Maybe I dropped the wrong childhood dream and pursued something else? Maybe I went the wrong direction, why else would I be experiencing all this trouble?Wondering about God’s will is not supposed to be a paralyzing scary thing when we think about it. It is supposed to fuel our faith and joy knowing that he is with us and purposes for us if we only look to him.

I don’t want to fight about the things I never had control of. I don’t want to be anxious over what might have been. But there were times when I did. I spent so much time on the things I couldn’t control, but wanted to. I get respite from the Psalms in this regard. I can go to the apostle Paul for knowing what to believe, but I should really go read some David when what I experience doesn’t line up with what I know to be true. David is great about how to pray and work through feeling like crap when things don’t seem to work out the way it should.

Don’t spend your whole life, waiting for your whole life, thinking that it’s over. These words Jimmy Gnecco wrote are helpful. It is easy to waste time over what was, over what may be and being overwhelmed by it. God wants us to move forward with him on a journey not stop and nest and then fret over our broke down homes.

Here are some questions to ask yourself. In looking back on my life what are some things that I could take as lessons and what are trajectories that have put me in the situations that I am in? How can I learn and grow from my experiences? What changes can I make in my attitude and perspective to view my failures as opportunities to grow? Is it possible to view my expereinces as training? Draw a line through your life and find ways to build on your personal character from your story. I believe God has placed certain restrictions in our lives to guide us down a certain path.

The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God,and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, 28 for ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said,‘For we are indeed his offspring  (Acts 17:24-28)

Paul speaks to the culture he is in as they are in it. He calls them back to the Lord whether they yet understand, or are in jobs that allow them to, or even know or care about him. As Paul addresses his culture with certain understandings and traditions, he calls them to honor God in spite of them. He is saying find God in your situation because is actually close by seeking us.

I know that some may say well the idea of a calling is so first world and American Christian thinking, and it is. So is grad school and internet and electricity, going to college is based around this idea of choosing. Since we do live in a society with choices it brings all manner of new challenges that a pastor should speak to. This is true as our world progresses and changes we speak into the culture and experience that we have. In a similar way Jesus continually used agricultural examples and animal raising and the ideas of masters and servants which don’t entirely relate to us. The ideas do, so here is the point. We have things to do, work to do, responsibilities to do, we have experiences to interpret. We have dreams to pursue or to lay down in order for something else to foster. If you have the option to do what you love, do it, if you do not, then love an aspect of the job responsibility, but seek God all along.

I think the whole world recognizes that choice is generally a good thing.

Culture confines aside we do all things as unto the Lord. This is the point. If we are searching for God you will find purpose. If you are searching for purpose apart from God you will not find it. This is the point of Ecclesiastes. Honor God where you are in life and if life presents an even better opportunity to honor God with your time and talents then go do it. If in him we move and live and have our being, then it is possible to take him with us to something a bit better. Keep seeking, keep finding, and most of all keep honoring him.

He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him.

thank you

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