Foundations in Faith:
The Purposed Life
God created you for His purpose.
You were designed intentionally for this time.
You are a solution, a blessing, an answer.
You have an assignment.
Your assignment is not your decision.
It is your discovery.
I. Purposed by God
A. To the prophet Jeremiah the Lord said, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations” (Jer. 1:5).
Though these words were spoken to Jeremiah, is it too much to believe that you and I also have been created for special purposes? Is it unreasonable that if God knew Jeremiah, that He would also know us, that He would want to express something of Himself and give something of Himself through each of us?
1. “Before I formed you.” There is a preordained purpose to your life. Before you were alive God knew the purpose He had for you.
2. “I formed you.” There is intentionality to your life. You are not a coincidence. God formed you, not random circumstance. You were designed by God for specific purpose.
3. “I knew you.” The word knew (yada) is the same word as in Genesis 4:1 “Adam knew Eve his wife and she conceived.” It is a word suggesting intimacy. Before you were born, God knew everything that would ever be true about you. Just as Adam’s intimate knowledge of Eve led to fruitfulness, so God’s intimate relationship with you can lead to a fruitful, meaningful life.
4. “I consecrated you” (consecrate means to set apart). They poured oil over a priest to set him apart for service to the Lord. God places His blessing on you to set you apart for service.
5. “I appointed you.” God has a specific purpose and timing for your life.
B. To the entire Hebrew nation the Lord said,
“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jere. 29:11).
Isn’t this the Lord’s word to each of us, that He knows the purpose He has for our lives? Our future is not chaotic, undefined. It is based on God’s perfect wisdom and knowledge.
C. To those who follow Him, Jesus says:
“You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain” (John 15:16).
You have been chosen and appointed (ordained) by God to live a life of purpose and meaning. God intends that you will be fruitful, productive and that the fruit, the result of your life, will endure beyond time and into eternity.
D. God formed us in harmony with a calendar of days, events and works which He ordained for our lives.
David the Psalmist said to the Lord, “Your eyes have seen my unformed substance and in your book were all written the days that were ordained for me when as yet there was not one of them” (Psalm 139:16).
David understood that God in His perfect wisdom designed a calendar of purpose for his life. So for each of us — God ordained, designed a calendar of purpose for each of us. Before we were born the Lord knew us, foresaw the days of our lives. That doesn’t mean He willed or approved the conditions surrounding each birth, nor every event that followed in each life — we’re living in a fallen world in violent rebellion against its Creator and fallen people do fallen things. What happens when something falls? It breaks and broken people do broken things.
So we are not saying that God ordained everything associated with our conception, birth and life. We are saying that no one’s birth caught God by surprise. He purposefully designed our life and loved us enough to include us in His calendar of events. He purposed works for us to do and is crafting us, transforming and renewing us so we can accomplish these works in a way that brings glory to Him and fulfillment to us.
E. We are chosen from eternity.
The Apostle Paul says that the Lord, “Chose us in Him (in Christ) before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4).
God knew us, chose to set His love on us and designed our lives before there was a universe.
II. Separated from Purpose, Redeemed for Purpose
A. Our sin separated us from God and therefore from His purpose for our lives:
“And you were dead in your trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1).
The word sins, used above, is an archery word. It means missing the mark, shooting at the target and missing it. To sin is to go our own way, to be separated from God. To live apart from God is also to be separated from His purpose for our lives and the resources needed to accomplish that purpose. To sin is to miss the mark of God’s calling, gifting and purposeful design.
That’s the bad news. But there’s Good News.
B. God redeemed us to Himself.
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ … For by grace you have been saved through faith …” (Ephesians 2:4,5,9)
When we humble ourselves before God, confessing our sin and placing our faith in Jesus as the atoning sacrifice for our sins and risen Lord, God forgives our sin, rebirths us in our dead spirit and raises us up into fellowship with Himself.
C. The Lord then redeems us to the purpose which He prepared beforehand.
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).
To be reconciled to God is also to be restored to His purpose and design for our life. The word workmanship is poiema which may be translated craftsmanship. We derive the English word poem from this word. God redeemed us in Christ so that He could craft us, recreate and transform us into His original design. We are God’s art work, designed to reflect something of His grace and truth and beauty into this world. Reconciled to God in Christ, we are reconciled to His design for our lives, transformed as new creations to accomplish the works which He purposed for us.
III. The Purposed Life is the Fulfilled Life
1. God works in us to cause us to want to do the things He created us to do: “For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).
2. God shows us our purpose in life as we seek Him:
“You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jere. 29:13).
We gain knowledge and wisdom as we seek the Lord who has purposed our lives. It is not so much that we seek the purpose of God — we seek the God who has the purpose.
3. God has specifically prepared events and situations for those who love Him.
“In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:6).
“The steps of a man are established by the Lord, and He delights in his way” (Psalm 37:23).
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you” (Psalm 32:8).
It’s amazing how many times the Lord opens a door or leads us to some event or brings a prophetic word to us which provides a burst of insight or sparks a fire of excitement as to His purpose for our life. These are not coincidences. They are divinely ordained moments which God uses to reveal Himself and His purpose to us.
4. The Holy Spirit enables us to discover that which God has prepared for us.
“Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him. For to us God revealed them through the Spirit, for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God” (I Corinthians 2:9,10).
Although Paul wrote those words regarding the wisdom that leads to salvation, we may be confident that the same God who redeemed us will also give us wisdom to live this new life.
Paul prayed for the church at Colossae, “That you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding” (Colossians 1:9). Paul prayed that the members of the church would know God’s will and have the wisdom to live it. The Lord wants us to live our lives according to all the spiritual wisdom and understanding that we are capable of receiving and ready to receive. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Paul would not have prayed that prayer if it were not God’s will that we know His will. And not only does the Lord want us to know His purposes for our lives, but that we would know how to apply His will, how to walk it out day by day with wisdom. (And this is wisdom — not merely knowing but being able to skillfully live what we know.)
If our sincere desire is to know God’s purpose for our life and if we seek the Lord earnestly in prayer and in His word, He will reveal His purpose. One clue to purpose is passion — what passion has God planted in your heart? What are you passionate about doing and giving? What is it that draws you in and excites you? Another clue is giftedness — what has God gifted you to do and give? Trust the Holy Spirit enabling us to discover God’s purposeful design for our life.
5. God preserves us so we can fulfill His purpose.
“You are my hiding place, you preserve me from trouble, you surround me with songs of deliverance" (Psalm 32:7).
“My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me; and I give eternal life to them and they will never perish and no one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:28).
“The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom” (2 Timothy 4:18).
In Hebrews 1:3 we read that Jesus “upholds all things by the word of His power.” This same word, uphold (phero), is used of the men who carried the paralyzed man on a bed to Jesus (Luke 5:18). In the same way that those men carried their friend to Jesus, the Lord is moving the universe toward the fulfilling of His purpose. This is also a picture of the Lord’s presence in our lives — He upholds us, carries us along toward the fulfilling of His purpose.
6. God resources us so we can fulfill His purpose.
“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed. Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing” (2 Corinthians 9:8,10).
7. God gifts us so we can fulfill His purpose.
“To each is given a manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (I Corinthians 12:7).
In the above verse, Paul is referring to special spiritual gifts which God shares with the redeemed so that He can shine His light through us. But the Lord has also endowed us with natural giftings, talents that we were born with. All of our gifts are prepared by God to fit the purpose He has for our lives and as we yield these talents and giftings to the Lord, He will bless and anoint.
8. God restores us and consecrates us so we can fulfill His purpose.
“He restores my soul, He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake” (Psalm 23:3). That’s the God side of restoration but there is also a human side — we must cooperate, yielding our lives daily to the transforming work of God.
“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 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 12:1,2).
As we yield our lives to the Lord daily, He progressively transforms us in His image and conforms us to Himself so that we can prove His will, live out the purpose He designed for us.
9. God promises to complete what He has begun in us.
“The Lord will accomplish (perfect) that which concerns me” (Psalm 138:8). The Hebrew word accomplish, gamar, could also be rendered perform, complete, bring to a perfect conclusion.
“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6). The Greek word perfect (epiteleo) could also be rendered fulfill completely, accomplish or perform perfectly.
“And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you” (I Peter 5:10).
Ss we said, there is a human side to this. If we hope to experience the fulfillment of God’s purposeful design for our lives, we must surrender unconditionally to the Lord day by day, obey God’s leading, commit to living a holy life of prayer and worship, reading the word and living the truth. There are seasons of preparation as we journey in the fulfilling of the Lord’s purpose, a progression of seasons.
But isn't it marvelous Good News that we are not random coincidences living meaningless lives. The ultimate defining, determinative factor of our life is not the trauma we have experienced, the sin we have committed or endured at the hands of others, not the failure we have experienced.
The ultimate defining, determinative factor is that we were born for a purpose and the Creator of the universe has redeemed us and works in us so we will want to do His good will. He shows us His good will, resources us, gifts us, preserves us and promises to complete what He began in us.
How sad that multitudes of men and women spend their lives chasing after wealth, power, fame, slaving to win a crown that always leaves them empty and perishes when they die. They run so desperately after fulfillment, only to grasp a fistful of wind. How sad that multitudes of men and women spend their lives trapped in the lie of victimization, defining themselves as helpless prisoners to a history of fallenness and brokenness.
Life is not defined by our wealth or our poverty, nor how many trophies or scars we pile up and leave behind. True meaning and fulfillment are found in discovering and living the unique, once in a universe purpose which God designed for each of us. Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, surrendered and yielded to Christ, gifted in Christ, growing in the likeness of Christ, connected to Christ in His church — He will enable us to fulfill His purpose.
I love David’s epitaph, “For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep” (Acts 13:36). Wouldn’t you like that to be your epitaph — “He / she fell asleep, having fulfilled the purpose of God in his / her generation.” That is God’s desire too. He wants to say that about your life and mine someday.
Here’s what Jude says about the follower of Jesus, “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen” (Jude, 24,25).
1. What does it mean that God has a purpose for your life?
2. How do you discover that purpose?
3. Are you confident of God’s commitment to you to fulfill His purpose in you and through you?