The word “purpose” has a lot of different and related meanings, and most of them we are at least vaguely familiar with. It’s the idea of having a reason for doing something, or for creating something. To have an objective, or a sense of resolve or determination. To be relevant, or useful. We want to understand why we exist, first, and what we’re supposed to do and why, second.
Our first purpose is just being in relationship with God; to walk with God and learn to be like God, and to reflect that likeness in exercised rulership on this earth, as if it were heaven. It’s a large, open circle of creation that comes from the Trinity, to us, the earth, and back again over and over.
Ge 1:26-29 Then God said, “Let Us make mankind in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created mankind in His own image; in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
A “closed circle” understanding of purpose, is within ourselves, and for ourselves. In other words, we move and have our being to please ourself, and if that does something for other people, or humanity, then great; but first we need to be self-satisfied. “Greater purpose” takes a back seat to self-awareness, and to pleasure based on our own desires, whether it be expressing our talents, or being served in some way by others.
This tight knit, closed circle takes less effort, and does good for others, if that happens, as a consequence, rather than a goal. If it touches others’ lives, it is because that is what we personally wanted to do. While what we do in that tight circle shows who we are as a person, and while it may also do good for others, the reflection of any good that happens shines back on us personally – it is our own inspiration and “glory.”
In each of our own beginnings, the reason we were born is that someone decided to bring us into the world. Whether it was done well, or poorly, our existence was not our own decision, so finding our purpose is an immediate and long-term goal. At 2 years of age, that purpose doesn’t go much beyond the dinner table or receiving the attention of our family. Change occurs as we begin to understand what actually pleases us beyond our belly and a hug. Relevance is measured in pleasure, and what is not pleasing is dropped on the floor as we search for the next thing that gives us pleasure. In children, this cycle happens about 1,000 times a day. No wonder they wear us out!
For a pre-Christian, it is amazing to find out that God’s Purpose is toward us! Jesus could have stayed in heaven if He just wanted people to please Him, and could have made us little robots doing the bidding of their god, all the while thinking themselves quite fulfilled and without needs. Jesus, then, would certainly not have to exert Himself on anyone’s behalf, and would look a lot like the other gods and goddesses listed in many myths that people follow even today.
I think a big thing that people miss about Christianity is that we can find our ultimate purpose in Christ, through Holy Spirit, after first seeing that Christ came to earth to sacrifice Himself for us, and left behind Holy Spirit so we don’t have to be alone, or ask for purpose without answer. We know that Jesus Christ wanted us – crazy loved us. Because of this, there is an incredible, overwhelming beauty inside of us that rises up and gives us a desire to help others without consideration for self every day. It exudes love and grace not just in the moment, but in our lives. It pours out gratitude and humility, not just in a moment, but as we walk every hour. We are steeped in a purpose so outrageously, overwhelmingly beautiful we sometimes grapple for a way to explain it.
And when we do have times of despair, our fellow believers have great capacity to heal and renew our spirits, with what has also been given to them, so that when one hurts or falters, others can pick them up and carry them until they’re well. When someone asks “where is your God?” all we have to do is look at our fellow Christians and we know God is all around us with more than we need. Oh, would that they could see it, too!
That is our first, outward, divine purpose – to reflect the image of God to whoever is around us by letting Holy Spirit guide us to show the proper grace in someone else’s life. When we listen, and move according to God’s Will, rather than just our own, heaven happens on earth, and that large, open circle encompasses the love of God for others, and the earth, as well as ourselves. God’s Will given in Gen 1:26 is actualized in the kind of rulership that God intended us to humbly and submissively exercise. We point to heaven, not ourselves. Yet, there is great satisfaction in this mechanism.
Jesus’ whole life was lived inside this large circle, filling Himself with God’s wonderous presence, then pouring that love out on the world as He walked, then going back to God in prayer and study to be refilled and renewed. It was never an accident that Christ went off on His own regularly. It is our huge privilege to do the same.
Everything Jesus did was to our benefit; to bring us inside that large circle of love, so our purpose was first to be covered in the love of Christ, then to pour love out in God’s Name as His reflection here on earth, just like Jesus speaks of in the book of John.
Jn 17:19-26 “And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.”
“I do not pray for these (few people) alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.
“Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” NKJV
Soak up the love of God, then pour out that love on others as Jesus would have done, then go soak up more from the unending pool of the love of Christ Jesus!
Blessings and Merry Christmas!
December 22, 2021