Monday, July 23, 2012

Enough With The Navel Gazing

Purpose; we all need one. Without it life seems like a bunch of meaningless random moments going in whatever direction fate pushes us. There is no control. No point. No hope. Without purpose life is about eating, drinking and dying. What's the point?

Yet, in Jesus we are brimming with purpose. We find direction, control and hope. But how detailed is that purpose? How much do we pay attention to it?

Do you have any sense of calling in your life? Do you feel that God has spoken to you and given you specific instructions life? Or are you just living your life and dedicating what you do to him? There is a difference to these two perspectives. In one, God is in control. He is the provider, encourager and the one who equips for the task. In the other, you are in control. You provide for yourself, have to find moments of inspiration and need to find your own training

Serving our King is not always an easy task but it is easier when we have that sense of calling, when we know that this was not our idea, that we have been sent by Jesus. I have no doubt that is how Apostle Paul was able to face all that he faced. He faced it knowing that he was sent by Jesus and thus he had been equipped and was being provided for by Jesus. Paul was called as a servant of the Body of Christ:

I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. (Colossians 1:25-26)

Specifically Paul was called to present the gospel of grace to the Gentiles. This is pretty ironic. Paul had been a Pharisee. The Pharisees were a group of elite Jews who took it upon themselves to defend the way of life of Israel. They needed to because the Greek culture was so dominate everywhere and now they were under the control of Rome. There were a mountain of threats to all of Israel's traditions and religion. This is who Paul had been, the defender of Israel's traditions, keeping all Gentile things at bay. But Jesus called and Paul became something else.

Things change when we are called by Jesus. What we were falls away and we become whatever Jesus needs. Jesus took a Gentile hater and turned him into the greatest defender and lover of the Gentiles. Apostle Paul did it with single-minded purpose, focused, giving all he had to the task because he knew he was called to this task. In fact, he saw it as a commission, charged with this duty to perform. He saw it as a race that was marked out for him and he was running it to win the prize.

So what about you? Do you recognize God's calling in your life?

I know of some people who started off with a distinct knowledge of God's calling and put all their energy into fulfilling it, just like Apostle Paul. But along the way they got discouraged, forgetting that this was not their choice but Jesus'. They allowed themselves to become discouraged and bitter. After serving brilliantly, sacrificing so much, giving without limit, they gave up, blaming others and blaming God. They lost their way and all that they had done lost its value and now they are only empty shells, with no purpose and direction. It is sad.

Now what about you? What is your purpose? What has Jesus called you to do for him? Are you commissioned by him or are you simply dedicating to him what you have chosen to do? You really need to understand the difference. Are you running the race to win the prize or have you gotten distracted and chosen a different course?

Our time is short. We can't afford the distraction of navel gazing. We need to get focused and give our all to the task to which we were called. Let's make sure the King finds us busying at the work we have been given when he returns to gather us home. Live to please Jesus today and live your life with the energy of purposeful direction, commissioned by the King.

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