You Have a Purpose
By Benjamin H. Liles
"'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope'" (Jeremiah 29:11, New American Standard). This is a partial message God gave to message concerning Israel's being in exile in Babylon. If we look fully at why God is saying what He is concerning Israel and her future, we need to understand that Israel as a nation was corrupt and needed a serious heart change.
You see, through God's mouth--His prophets--He kept telling the Israelites to stop in their sin, to come back to Him, or He would give to them their heart's desire. Their desire wasn't exactly in sharing in God's holiness. From the time in the Judges all the way through Old Testament scripture we see how they "wanted to be like other nations" (1 Samuel 8:20). In fact, they wanted to be so much like other nations in having a king, someone to rule over them, than having God rule over them.
God told His people, through Samuel, "Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you" (1 Samuel 8:7-8).
I'll admit here and now I come from people unlike Israel. I can't be sure there's no Israeli lineage in either of my parent's families. The point is to be separated unto God and to allow Him to be ruler of your life. My lineage means nothing in this light. But I have a plan to get where I'm going here. God made us all to complement one another, to edify and encourage one another, to lift up our voices praising God and worshiping Him.
Paul said, "Just as each of us has one body with many members, and not all members have the same function, so in Christ we who are many are one body, and each member belongs to one another" (Romans 12:4-5, Berean Study). No, as part of Christ's church we all have our own, singular role we play. As God has plans for me, He has plans for you. But His plan is a singular one as we are all part of His church of which Christ is the head of.
Let me put it another way: the talents, gifts, strengths and weaknesses you have, these are what uniquely make and shape you. Your experiences, your joys, your sorrows, and your pain--God uses them all to help you be the person you are. He calls you to use every bit of who you are to bring Him glory, to bring Him joy and great pleasure. Some will rise to the occasion; some will fall. But the point in this article is to show that you have a singular purpose to God.
Paul again writes, "Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Christ Himself, who is the head. From Him the whole body is fitted and held together by every supporting ligament. And as each individual part does its work, the body grows and builds itself up in love. So I tell you this, and testify to it in the Lord: You must no longer walk as foreigners do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardness of their hearts" (Ephesians 4:15-18).
We are called by God, from darkness, filled with the light and love of the Son within us--that is the Spirit now residing in us, in our hearts and minds. Just as we remain in Him, He will remain in us. Christ said, "Remain in Me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me. I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me" (John 15:4-5, Holman Christian Standard).
In this we see we have something of importance to God. We are the light-bearers; Christ is the light of the world and by the Spirit with which He imparts to each of us we radiate Him and His glory to others. We are either filled with and by God for His purpose and His glory. We are vessels that have been made and shaped to fulfill a purpose and function to bring Jesus Christ to others.
I remember, from years ago, when I first listened to Steven Curtis Chapman's album, Heaven in the Real World, from the title track the late Chuck Colson said this: "Where is the hope? I meet millions of people who feel demoralized by the decay around us. The hope that each of us has is not who governs us, or what laws we pass, or what great things we do as a nation. Our hope is in the power of God working through the hearts of people. And that's where our hope is in this country. And that's where our hope is in life."
So, where is our hope these days? Is it in our parents? Our peers? Our spouses? Our children? We need to look up to Heaven where Jesus came down once before, came to reside in a manger, for a short time. He took up the call as God's Son to sacrifice His life on behalf the people to take care of sin and death; to proudly put to death sin and death. He conquered both when He gave up His life on the cross. Where is your hope? Is it in God through the Son? Or is it in man-made things like a statue having been carved from a rock or tree?
Let me tell you one more thing about where my hope lies. It lies in the heart of God, His Son, Jesus Christ. As Jeremy Camp has said in one of his songs to God: "I'm not ashamed of the gospel. I'm not ashamed of Jesus Christ." For me I feel and know my purpose is to lift high that cross of calvary where Jesus died in my place, in the hopes God can and will heal me of all sin. Death no longer has a hold on me. That which has and holds me has also conquered death and the grave. It's in the hands of the One who gives life. This is why I feel this is my purpose. Search for yours within scripture. Come meet Jesus. Taste and see that the Lord is good, He will have milk and honey for you.
I pray this message today brings you hope. I pray this gives you a secure thought and line to God that Jesus Christ is our all and everything. He is the one who fulfilled God's holy scriptures within the confines of the Old Testament. I pray God shows and blesses you by His word. I pray His word washes and cleanses you. You have a purpose in and with God. Before I finish this, I have this final thing to add: "When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now i know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. But not faith, hope, and love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love" (1 Corinthians 13:11-13, New American Standard). God bless you. May He shine His love and favor on you in this day. Amen.