By Chris WittsThursday 28 Mar 2013Morning Devotions with Chris WittsUncategorizedReading Time: 0 minutes
If you were with me yesterday,I spoke about Living with Purpose. It seems a shame that so many people have no idea what life has for them,or if they have a purpose in life. The idea of just drifting through life doesn’t appeal to me,but it reminded me of the Peanuts cartoon where Lucy has her famous psychiatrist booth set up. She is available to listen to anyone’s stories for 5 cents,and give advice. Along comes Charlie Brown who says “Lucy,I need your help. I don’t feel a sense of commitment to anything. I can’t seem to find any direction or any purpose in my life”. Lucy looks at her patient and says “Charlie Brown,don’t worry. Life is like being on a big ship out in the middle of the ocean. Some people put their deck chairs on the front facing forward: others put their deck chairs on the side facing the side of the ship,while others put their deck chairs facing towards the back of the ship. The real question,Charlie Brown,is ‘which way do you face?’. With a bewildered look on his face,Charlie Brown says “I can’t even get my deckchair unfolded”.
I think that’s a pretty good example of a lack of purpose,not being able to unfold the deck chair,let alone decide where to sit. Isn’t that the way many people feel today? It’s like they feel let down and disappointed with life,as if they’re lost with no street directory to show them the way. It’s one of the problems of our age that people feel powerless over the direction their life is going. I’ve heard some say “I don’t know why I was born. Who cares?”
George Bernard Shaw once wrote these words: “The true joy in living is being used for a mighty purpose,being a force of nature instead of being a feverish,selfish little clot of ailments and grievances,complaining that the world will not devote itself to making us happy”. So really,true joy is found in knowing our purpose. To live an effective and powerful life means to live on purpose,and not thinking life is some type of accident.
Some people only just survive – they just go through the motions in life. They have no goals,no visions,and no big dreams. It’s just about getting through each day,scraping through. But I think most of us want to live significant lives. Significance is knowing why were are on this planet. It says “my life matters because I am made in God’s image,and He has a plan for me”. We discover our purpose,and we take steps to live out that purpose. We know our life has meaning and we’re not simply living for nothing. Unless we have a clear purpose in life,we can make decisions based on the wrong premise. We’re pulled in many directions,like a ship without a rudder. But if we have a firm purpose,we can get rid of so much of the trivia in our life that wastes our energies. A purpose helps us know what is important,and what is not.
In the Christian world,the apostle Paul was an outstanding man of purpose. He made a big difference in the world. He was incredibly focused. Almost single-handedly this man spread Christianity throughout the Roman world. But he was frail and had faults. How did he do it? He said (and it’s recorded in the New Testament) “I am focusing all my energies on one thing. Forgetting what lies behind,I press on toward what lies ahead” (Philippians 3). He said “I run straight ahead towards the goal in order to win the prize,which is God’s call through Christ Jesus to the life above” (v14). When Jesus Christ becomes our Saviour,we suddenly see things we never saw before – that He has a plan for our lives,to be His witnesses to people around us. We’re on a mission for God,and there is nothing better in life than this. We are at our best when we find that mission,or when that mission finds us. I discovered my mission back in 1969 when God called me to serve Him in the ranks of The Salvation Army. It has been very exciting and fulfilling,and I believe I was born to fulfil this mission. For others,it is something quite different. The important thing is to know what His purpose is for your life – and then go for it.
When you realise that God is at work in this world,and He wants you to join Him,nothing else is more satisfying. It’s not about more money or prestige ..it’s about finding fulfilment where it matters,where we feel energised and most alive,when we have discovered our purpose. Remember,significance comes not so much from success,but from knowing that our lives have been used well,that we have served Him well,and that we have some purpose beyond ourselves.
I have a feeling that deep down in your life,you want to find a purpose. You want to live a significant life,just as I do. We need to know our life has a purpose beyond ourselves.
We are created in God’s image for relationship with him. Being in that relationship is the only thing that will ultimately satisfy our souls. Until we come to know God,we’ve had many wonderful experiences,but we haven’t hit a nail. We’ve been used for some noble purposes,but not the one we were ultimately designed for,not the one through which we will find the most fulfilment. Augustine summarized it this way: “You [God] have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee.”
A relationship with God is the only thing that will quench our soul’s longing. Jesus Christ said,”I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry,and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35) Until we come to know God,we are hungry and thirsty in life. We try to “eat” and “drink” all kinds of things to satisfy our hunger and thirst,but yet they remain.
Even in the midst of a Nazi prison camp,Corri Ten Boom found God to be wholly satisfying: “The foundation of our happiness was that we knew ourselves hidden with Christ in God. We could have faith in God’s love…our Rock who is stronger than the deepest darkness.”
Usually when we keep God out,we try to find fulfilment in something other than God,but we can never get enough of that thing. We think that “more” is the answer to the problem,yet we are never ultimately satisfied.
Our greatest desire is to know God,to have a relationship with God. Why? Because that’s how we’ve been designed.