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On Purpose

There is a big difference between those who live on purpose and those who live on accident. By living “on accident,” I mean those people who simply do what occurs to them next hoping it will turn out alright. In contrast, people who live “on purpose” have concluded that their life matters, they have some kind of goal they are pursuing, they actively adjust their goals as God unveils His purpose for them and they make decisions in life that keep them on track with that purpose.
As I read Acts 20 this morning, I was reminded that the apostle Paul was one of the most “on purpose” people who has ever lived. As I encountered his example this morning, I was reminded of the benefits that come to us when we live on purpose:
Purpose gives us courage. “I served the Lord with great humility and with tears and in the midst of severe testing by the plots of my Jewish opponents.” (v. 19) He knew there were people who wanted to shut him up and shut him out. Many considered him a threat and would be glad to see him fail or come to harm. Regardless, Paul was bold and willing to stand his ground.
Purpose gives us clarity. “I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.” (v. 21) To be sure, this is a straightforward, challenging message but it is the truth. It was transparent to Paul that “the truth will set you free” because of his personal encounter with Christ. He wanted the best for people even though most people are willing to settle for comfort rather than the best.
Purpose gives you endurance. “. . . my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me.” (v. 24) Paul knew he would face hardship by going to Jerusalem. He knew for certain he would be opposed and imprisoned. He also knew this was his race to run and it didn’t matter how much effort or sacrifice it took. As we approach the beginning of the 2012 Olympic Games, it is good to be reminded that none of the athletes we will be watching got there easily or by accident. They have strived, sacrificed, trained, gone without, overcome injuries, ignored criticism and fought through adversity for a chance to fulfill their purpose.
Purpose gives you focus. When your purpose captivates your heart, you find the resources you need to live it out. “Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.” (v. 32) Through experience, Paul had discovered that God never fails and God’s word faithfully delivers the forgiveness, direction, hope and correction that leads to a full life. When you live on purpose, you swim upstream and many people will tell you to turn around. You will hear things such as, “You are moving too fast, you are too intense, you think you are better than the rest of us, you need to chill, you are making the rest of us feel bad, you are being judgmental,” and so the list goes on. To stay on track, people with purpose look for the resources and skills that enable them to live strong, focused and efficient.
Purpose gives you compassion. “I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'” (v. 35) When you discover that your life has meaning, it becomes clear that everyone’s life has meaning. You begin to realize the needs of the world are too big for you to address on your own so you are compelled to value the contributions and potential of others. You are anxious to help others so they can grow strong and get into the battle of life. You honestly believe that energizing others is necessary because the task at hand needs all hands on deck.
I invite you today to join me in living in purpose. It will prove over time to be the easier path!

3 Responses

  1. If only I knew and understood the truth of living a life with purpose while in my teens and in my 20’s. I’m so blessed to have loving and faithful God! Bill, thank you for keeping this truth in front of us!

  2. Thanks for the reminder that we are much more effective living with a purpose vs. floundering and letting our circumstances run our lives. It’s just the message I needed to hear today.

  3. Lord, I pray that You would guide us in all wisdom and love as we pursue purposeful living. Give us courage, clarity, focus and compassion. “Now I commit you,_______,to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.” (v. 32) Amen.

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