By Benjamin H. Liles
They will know that I am the LORD their God, who brought them out of Egypt so that I might dwell among them. I am the LORD their God. ~ Exodus 29:46
There are times in our lives where we all feel we have no purpose. Well, at least my wife and I some times feel that way. There are some people who are great at keeping on when things get difficult, but what about those of us who get discouraged, feel a little lost, maybe even a little fearful because we lose a sense of what we had with God? How do we get that winning feeling again when we feel "purposeful" in our lives?
God told Abraham, before he died (way before he died), "Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years. Then in the fourth generation they will return here, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete" (Genesis 15:13, 16, New American Standard). It was going to take four hundred years for God to deal fully with the Amorite people, and after that Abraham's descendants, the Israelites, would come back to take hold of the land of Canaan.
By the time Moses turns aside to see the burning bush, God calls out to him, "Moses! Moses!"
Moses replies, "Here I am!" (Exodus 3:4)
Years later God reminds Moses, "They shall know that I am the LORD their God who brought them out of the land of Egypt, that I might dwell among them; I am the LORD their God" (Exodus 29:46). That's the thing as well. Israel as a whole did well when they kept God at the forefront of their minds and walked in His ways! While they praised and worshiped Him, even in the bad times, He listened and worked on their behalf. But every time Israel sinned, turning both from God and from remembering the works He did to save them, they suffered greatly. And it wasn't even God causing them their suffering. They did it to themselves!
Considering in this day and age the vast majority who believe in the God of Israel are Bible believing Christians, we do the best we can to live our faith out daily. We wake up, pray to God to guide us, calling to mind all that He has done for us, to go before us, guide us, and to lead our feet safely home do we keep His word and His commands. But what about those hard moments, when we feel He's not there?
Personally speaking, I do tend to forget, at times, the things God did on my behalf. I get depressed and discouraged. It is far easier in those moments for me to easily get aggravated, to get irritated and do something hurtful. I have to truly get my mind on God's side, remembering what He's done by faith, to walk in the same manner, and to continue on. It's not an easy life in the least. But considering the alternative, which is the life I had before I belonged to Him, I wouldn't trade the former years for now in the least bit.
What can we do to remain in His purpose? How do we get ourselves to keep going on when we feel we can't go on?
1) Reading His word consistently and constantly does a great deal of good. It helps our moods. David wrote, "For You are great and do wondrous deeds; You alone are God. Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name. I will give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, and will glorify Your name forever" (Psalm 86:10-12). David wrote this while in a spirit of heaviness as he starts the psalm with the words, "Incline Your ear, O LORD, and answer me; for I am afflicted and needy" (verse 1). So, by the middle of the psalm he's praising God because he's learned to delight himself in God.
2) Remembering that when we remain in Him, telling Him of our pains and our problems we give those things up. Jesus said, "Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!" (John 15:4, 7). David had kind of the same thought: "When I kept silent, my bones became brittle from my groaning all day long" (Psalm 32:3, Holman Christian Standard). Being honest with God about our day to day lives not only includes Him in our affairs, but we don't have to sit around feeling alone and without Him.
3) Get back to doing what God first called us to. To me this is a no-brainer. By trade I am a writer, and I enjoy doing it. I get a large kick from writing articles I believe and pray over to encourage you, the reader, so that you can grow in Christ and keep on being built up in Him. Paul writes, "And it was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for works of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God, as we mature to the full measure of the stature of Christ" (Ephesians 4:11-13). I'm sure there were days Paul wondered, "How do I keep on going?" but he kept on for the glory of Christ, not his own.
But our whole and main purpose is said by God through Peter: "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, to proclaim the virtues of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light" (1 Peter 2:9, Berean Study). To be chosen by God, to bless the nations surrounding you, to be a holy--meaning "set apart" in the New Testament we are "being sanctified"--people, God's special possession. We have been called out from where we once were, which was in darkness, into God's light. We are His light to this dark and fallen world! Think on that! He gives us the measure and the means to fulfill the calling He's given us.
Friend, you're here today, because in some small way you feel God can't possibly use you. He could never use someone like you, that's what you think of yourself. God says otherwise. I say otherwise. You have been gifted in a way that can touch the lives of many. I don't know what specifically your gifts are, but God does. He calls you, He'll equip you. If for some reason you feel you don't have a purpose, find a good Bible believing, Bible teaching Church. Get to know those people (the church is a collection of people, not the building itself). See if their love matches what God says. Allow God, through those people, show you what you can do and go from there. I'm also praying for you even though not one person has ever told me, "Hey, Ben, would you pray for this for me?" I pray for everyone who reads the articles on this website/blog.
Father, I ask that You show Yourself in a mighty way so we all can find our purpose in You. I can truly only speak for myself. You have been so faithful to me. You show me Your loving-kindness daily. You show me Your mercy, Your gentle touch, the way to go and grow, as well as how to be more like You. I ask You, Lord, to show those who struggle in finding their purpose to being obedient to You, so that they can love You more and to accomplish Your will in their lives. You tell us in Your word, "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect" (Romans 12:2, New American Standard). Help us all in that respect. Help us to live out fully transformed lives so that no soul is left untouched. I pray in Jesus' name. Amen.