COMMITMENT: CHAPTER 7
“All right,” you might be thinking. “I know there’s a higher purpose for my life. I see a vision now that’s much bigger than I’ve ever seen before. I’ve been challenged and stirred. But what exactly do I do?”
This kind of questioning is important. If after reading all that I’ve written about God’s purpose and vision, your only response was “That’s nice,” or “So?” then your reading would have been pointless. I would have failed to communicate what I believe are some of the most important truths of the Christian faith.
Of course, I realize that it’s impossible for me to implant God’s eternal purpose and vision in the hearts of my fellow Christians. Only the Holy Spirit can make God’s truth a reality in our lives. The apostle Paul understood that he was merely an instrument of communication, that by himself he was unable to open the eyes of God’s people to see spiritual truth. That’s why his prayer and desire for the saints was “that God … may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened…” (Eph 1.:17-15}.
I hope that the understanding God has given me about his purpose and vision has in some way opened your spiritual eyes, that questions have been raised in your mind, and that a hunger has been created deep within you. Spiritual hunger and the desire to know the ways of God are vital to spiritual growth and vitality. Too many people are comfortable, even lethargic, in their spiritual lives. They hunger only for what satisfies their momentary need. But the hunger that God creates in us causes us to say, “Lord, I want to do your will. I want to glorify you. I want to be part of your work on the earth. Use me.”
A New Motive
The most important change that could ever take place in the life of a Christian is one of motive. When we first come to Christ, it is the externals of our life that change most readily. Many wrong habits and desires fall from us like scales. But the changes that make us useful to the Lord, those which enable us to bring Him glory, are the deep inner changes in our motives.
Motive is the beginning point of all action. If our motives are self-centered, then our actions will be selfish, no matter how good they may appear to others. Similarly, when our motive is to glorify God and exalt his Son, we will inevitably begin to act in a way that glorifies God. Soon the desire to be like Jesus will consume us. Love for the brethren and the unsaved will flow from our hearts. This change in our outward actions does not occur overnight, of course. But unless God’s purpose is the deep, inner motive of our hearts, the change will never occur.
My aim in writing the third section of this book has been to impart to you a glimpse of the high calling God has placed upon your life. You were created to give God pleasure and to glorify his name. You bring him pleasure and glory as your life manifests and expresses the life of Jesus. As you are conformed to Jesus, as you love the family of God, and as you proclaim the gospel and the name of Jesus to all men, God will be magnified and exalted through you.
“So what exactly do I do?” you still ask.
Begin at the most important place — with your motives and desires. The natural temptation is to rush out and “do something”. But God’s aim is, first of all, to plant his purpose deep within you. Gradually, it will begin to reshape your desires and hopes; it will form in you a whole new way of thinking. But it will take time, and it will take a daily decision to put God’s purpose first.
If the truth about the eternal purpose of God has begun to sink in, your thoughts will turn toward the full discovery of that truth. You will certainly want to study the Bible, to find this truth buried in the pages of Genesis and in every book and letter of God’s Word. You will begin to hold all of your thoughts and desires tip to the light of God’s purpose. Slowly, something inside will begin to change.
God will lead you. Resist the temptation to rush out and “do something”. You will need preparation and instruction. You will need guidance and help from others who have gone before you. And you will need the leading of the Holy Spirit.
But resist also the temptation to lay aside the purpose of God. So many things in today’s busy, modern world will compete for your attention. Determine before God that you will never forsake his high purpose for your life. God’s purpose and vision will focus your attention on the things that really count in this life, the things that will count in the life to come.
OK — So what should you do ??
Open yourself to God and let his purpose and vision settle deep inside. Say to him, “Almighty Father, you gave me the very breath of life. You brought me from darkness into eternal light. You gave me new life, and I live now for one reason: to give you pleasure and to glorify your name. I want to be like Jesus. I give you my life so that you can conform it to his.
Let your love flow from me to all of your people. Let me have a part in filling the earth with the message of salvation and the majesty of your Son. Lord Jesus, use me in your work. Take my lips and my hands and my body, and use them to magnify you in this world. I don’t know exactly where to begin. But I trust you, Holy Spirit, to guide me so that I can use my life for the glory of God. Amen.”
For Reflection and Discussion
1. How can you turn your understanding of God’s purpose and vision for your life into a commitment that can begin to change the way you live your Christian life?
2. What might hinder you from making such a commitment? If you have not done so already, will you make that commitment now?