Thursday, July 26, 2012

Purpose Gives Meaning to Life

A Peanuts cartoon had Charlie Brown shooting his new bow and arrow. Each time he shot it; he would run to the fence and draw a bull’s eye around the arrow. Lucy saw what he was doing and informed him that he was not doing it correctly. His reply to her was, “It works. I always hit the target.” Many people are like Charlie Brown. They are shooting their arrows into the air and drawing a bull’s eye around wherever they land. They operate under the old idiom, “If you aim for nothing you will hit it every time.” The problem with this philosophy is that it accomplishes little and it leaves the individual feeling empty and unfulfilled.

God did not create man to wander around without any sense of direction or purpose. He has a purpose for each one of us. When we discover the purpose God has for us and we commit ourselves to achieving it, our lives become meaningful and exciting. There are ups and downs but the sense of purpose we have gives us the strength to continue. The Apostle Paul was a man with a purpose. God explains his purpose to Ananias in Acts 9:15: “But the Lord said to him, ‘Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel;” (NASB." Paul accepted this purpose and dedicated his entire life following his conversion to carrying the name of Jesus to the Gentiles. Paul understood that God does not give a purpose without providing the power to fulfill it. His sense of purpose gave him the capacity to carry on in the difficult circumstances.

John Maxwell addressed the affects of a sense of purpose on the ministry of Paul in a sermon titled “The Power of Purpose”. He suggested that purpose provided seven important benefits for Paul. Listed below are the seven benefits he used to demonstrate what purpose brought to the life of Paul.

-1- Purpose motivates.

-2- Purpose helps one set proper priorities.

-3- Purpose helps one reach his/her potential.

-4- Purpose provides the power to live in the present.

-5- Purpose helps one maintain a high moral.

-6- Purpose enables one to minister more effectively.

-7- Purpose gives one a way to measure progress.

It was Paul’s commitment to God’s purpose that gave Paul the strength to overcome the obstacles in his life. It was his commitment to God’s purpose that enabled him to write, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.” (( II Corinthians 4:7-10 NASB)

While we aren't like Paul, we all do have a God given purpose. He doesn’t wish to hide it from us. He is waiting for us to ask Him to show us. If we will ask, He will show us. It may not be an immediate response but He will show us. Once we have a sense of His purpose for our lives; once we commit our lives to fulfilling that purpose, we will find that it provides the same benefits to us as Paul’s purpose did for him. Isn’t it time that we stop shooting our arrows into the air and drawing a bull’s eye around where they land? Isn’t it time that we start to focus on the purpose God has given us and commit our lives to achieving it? Isn’t it time we step out of the world of aimlessness into the world of meaning and fulfillment? God waits patiently for each one of us to make that step.

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