Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Confused About Purpose

Understanding purpose has to be one of the greatest needs there is in our life. Understanding purpose will determine direction and dictate decisions. Without understanding purpose, days just slip by with no meaning other than eating sleeping and finding entertainment. There is no depth of joy, peace, contentment; no direction, hope, or vision. When you understand purpose there is depth to your living that goes beyond existence. A person without purpose is afraid to die. A person with purpose sees beyond this life and so is  glad to lay down his life if called upon.

I have worked with students for many years and I have discovered it is easy to see which students understand purpose and which ones do not. The ones with purpose see beyond school and understand they are on a journey with certain tasks along the way. They do well in their studies. Those without understanding of purpose see school as an obstacle to their freedom. It is an interruption to their living. They do not do well.

It is surprisingly similar in the Church. There are people who are without understanding of purpose, who attend church because it is what Christians do. They don't like it, see it as a task and can't wait for it to end so they can get on with their day.

Our purpose is clear and simple:

Go to the people of all nations and make them my disciples. Baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to do everything I have told you. (Matthew 28:19-20)

There is no greater purpose than participating with God in the making of disciples. Our purpose in life is not breathing. Breathing is what we do naturally, without thinking and is simply part of our body's function to keep us alive. Worship to a Christian is like breathing. It is what we do naturally to keep alive, but it is not our purpose. Our purpose is to do what Jesus commanded us in love, and we do in obedient love. It seems to be something we are forgetting as we lose our understanding of purpose. Paul wrote to Timothy:

So with God and Christ as witnesses, I command you to preach God’s message. Do it willingly, even if it isn’t the popular thing to do. (2 Timothy 4:1-2)

Obedience has nothing to do with what is popular. There are a lot of trends that come and go in the Church. Some things become popular but then fall out of favour. But these things have nothing to do with obedience to Jesus' command. Our purpose has been and always will be to make disciples throughout the world.

Some churches have great discipleship programs but we are talking something beyond a program. We are talking about each individual Christian's responsibility, to introduce and teach others about Jesus. The most challenging thing is the de-programming because almost everyone has their own understanding of Jesus, and most of it is personal opinion. It is not unlike our thinking on purpose.

If you are not actively involved in discipling someone or daily looking for opportunities to introduce Jesus to someone, you are failing in your purpose. Argue all you want but Scripture is clear on this point. I hope you will see it, agree and take action to step into obedience.

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