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Discerning and Obeying God’s Purpose

Discerning and Obeying God’s Purpose in These Critical Times

The God of the Bible is infinite, personal and triune. As a communion of three persons, one of God’s purposes in creating us is to display the glory of His being and attributes to intelligent moral creatures who are capable of responding to Hs relational initiatives. In spite of human rebellion and sin against the Person and character of the Lord, Jesus Christ bore the awesome price of our guilt and inaugurated “a new and living way” (Hebrews 10:20 NIV) by which the barriers to personal relationship with God has been overcome. “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loves us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins,” (1 John 4:9-10 NIV)

Because God is the initiator of a loving relationship with us, our high and holy calling is to respond to His offer. Our Lord, in encapsulating the Law and the Prophets, gave us the essence of this response: “Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Matthew 22:37-39 NIV) The quality of our vertical relationship with God has a direct bearing on the quality of our horizontal relationship with others. As we grow in His grace, we will have an enhanced capacity, through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, to respond to others with Christlike qualities, being “completely humble, gentle, and patient, bearing with one another in love.” (Ephesians 4:2 NIV) This Agape Love, which we receive from the Lord and which flows through us toward others, is rooted in volition (our willingness to receive and display it) and is expressed in deeds of other-centered love.

Another way of summarizing our calling and purpose as followers of Jesus is to love God completely, to love self correctly and to love others compassionately.

Loving God completely is a growth process that involves the personal elements of communication and response. By listening to the Holy Sprit in the words of the Scripture and speaking to the Lord in our thoughts and prayers, we move in the direction of knowing Him better. The better we know Him, the more we will love Him, and the more we love Him, the greater will be our willingness to respond to Him in trust and obedience.

To love ourselves correctly is to see ourselves as God sees us and to allow the Word, not the world, define who and whose we really are. The clearer we capture the vision of our new identity in Jesus Christ, the more we will realize that our deepest needs for security, significance and satisfaction are met in Him and not in people, possessions or positions.

A Biblical view of our identity and resources in Christ moves us in the direction of loving others  compassionately. Grasping our true and unlimited resources in Christ frees us from bondage to the opinions of others and gives us the liberty to love and serve others regardless of their response.

Because we cannot serve two masters, the focus of our heart will either be the temporal or the eternal. If it is the temporal, we cannot love God completely because we will have a divided heart. When Jesus Christ is a single component instead of the center of life, things become complicated; the worries of the world, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things choke the word of truth in our lives and we do not bear lasting fruit. (Mark 4:19). If the focus of our hearts is the eternal, we will love Jesus Christ above His created goods and pleasures and begin to fulfill the enduring purpose for which we were created. (Excerpts taken from “Face to Face” by Kenneth Boa)