Nov 9 2015
I have a motivational picture in a frame on my desk. It says Direction as a title on the top with a Bible verse below – ‘In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths. Proverbs 3:6.’ I was looking at this earlier today and it got me thinking. How do we know we are on the right paths? I did a quick search on “Direction” and got lots of references to maps. So I changed my search to finding God’s direction and one of the results was my title, Finding God’s Purpose for your Life. This is a common question, and I think, even though we might know what it is, we still stop every now and then and ask it again. Especially if we are experiencing resistance to what we think we should be doing or going through some difficult times (as I talked about last week).
You man not think so, but direction can play a big role in life. Let’s look at children first. Those of us who have kids can relate to the struggles of ‘bringing them up right’ or simply ‘raising children’. I’m not going to espouse any knowledge I have on that subject, I just do the best I can and hope that it works. Instead, I want to point out the words I used. Up and Raising. Both words have something to do with direction. But that’s not the only time in life that words like that are used. At work, we work hard and hope for a promotion, or a leg up, sometimes called climbing the corporate ladder. Or you may work for yourself and be the boss or the top dog. Maybe your job doesn’t have anywhere ‘up’ for you to go or your not looking to move up in that career path because you are happy where you are. If that’s the case, some people would stay you are stuck where you are or happy being in a middle position. Maybe you don’t have a job but are in a happy routine that some would call being stuck in a rut. Hang on, don’t all those examples contain directional words again? Well, I did do that on purpose. I could probably find more if I thought about it, or did a Google search. My point is this, no matter what we do, no matter how old we are, there are directional words to describe what we are doing. I think it is pretty safe to say that everyone is looking for movement upwards in life. We want improvements to our lives and to always be moving forward, towards a goal. That’s all very interesting, but what does it have to do with God’s purpose?
My point is that most of us are wanting to move on with life and not sit still. And God wants that for you too. There’s a verse in revelations where it is said that those that are sitting on the fence will be spat out (I’m paraphrasing). The reference is more to do with making a decision about following God. But it can also be thought of like this, not making a decision is the same as sitting still and doing nothing. So we need direction in our lives.
Moving in a direction usually means being on a path, even if it is one that you are creating yourself. There are many words that can be used here to help describe the path – roads, walkways, routes, trails etc, but they all lead the same result. Moving from one place to another, or simply put, going on a journey. Now, here’s the hard part, the crux of that question… What path does God want me to take? Or, what is God’s purpose for me? I can’t tell you that answer because I don’t know what God has planned for you. But what I can tell you is how to find some clues to what it is. One big one, that you might have already guessed (it’s in the Bible verse I quoted earlier), is to acknowledge Him.
This is not an easy thing. You may think it is just about saying, ‘Hey Lord, this is what I’m doing’ but it’s not. Most of us don’t realise how much we don’t acknowledge Him. We thank Him for the good times, we call out to Him in the bad but do we recognise Him in everything we do? Do you thank God for the bad times too? Do you even talk to Him when your doing ‘other’ things? I once told a friend about how I sometimes pray when on the toilet and they were aghast. They thought that it was disgusting to speak to God when doing that. I believe that God is with us during 100% of the day. He is there when you wake up, when you brush your teeth, when you are eating, drinking, talking, sleeping, watching TV and yes, when you are in the toilet or shower. So, I ask you, why not talk to Him then too? I might be a little off my point but then again, maybe I’m right on top of it. The verse starts like this, ‘In all your ways’. Meaning, everything you do.
Ever have one of those days where everything seems to go wrong? What do you do when that happens? Do you stop and pray? What do you say? Do you ask God why everything is going wrong? Do you ask, Why me? Do you stop and think about what has happened and then thank God that it happened? I blogged about this topic a while ago and in it I said that maybe things like that happen to stop you from experiencing something worse. Catching every red light might be saving you from a car accident. Losing your job might lead to you getting a better one with more pay and better hours. Thank God for all that happens, acknowledge Him, ask for help if you need it or just thank Him for being with you. During the hard times and good. It’s hard to put in to practice, but it can be done.
What does that have to do with God’s purpose for your life?
Everything! Let’s take it right back to Adam and Eve. Adam was created to live in fellowship with God. That is to say, he was created to talk to and spend time with God. There is our very first purpose for our lives, to spend time with and talk to God. When we do that, amazing things can happen. There are verses in Joshua and Jeremiah that tell us that God knows His plans for us. When we spend time with Him, He will start to lead us towards these plans. Depending on what they are, will depend on whether we are ready or need preparation for them. If we need preparation, then it is possible that the path He leads us down will be a temporary one. Maybe, there will be several paths until He get’s us on the one that will lead us to the purpose that He has for us.
That doesn’t really answer that all burning question of ‘what’s my purpose in life?’ and as I said before, that’s not something I can answer. What I hope I have done though, is to shine a light on to the path that we all need to take. The path to a loving God who wants to spend time with us and will show us His way. By acknowledging Him, spending time with Him, thanking Him and asking for His help, (by being a disciple), He will lead you to your purpose and fulfill your life, possibly without you even noticing.