God Put You Here on Purpose, Part Three
Then there is a third category of purposes. Some purposes have their whole issue with us in eternity, and others begin in us now. There is still a third set of purposes, the practical purposes that God is working through our lives. And while, of course, some of these may carry over into eternity, God has specific purposes for working through us while we live this life in the flesh. Never forget that God tells us we live this life in two different places. He says that we are in the world, in the world that crucified Christ. Paul puts it, "The life that I now live in the flesh ..."
When anything wonderful appears in the life of a Christian, when we find anyone who has been touched by Jesus Christ, when we see something that sublimely shows Christ has been working in the life, someone from the heavenly realm looking at it seems a stark contrast between the beauty of Christ and the ugliness of the world. It would be like seeing a magnificent lily growing in a manure pile. God has reached into the mud and has saved us out of darkness into light and is working things in us at the present time.
Let's look at some of them: Philippians 1:6 says, "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." God gladly states that His purpose in saving you is to take you where you were when He saved you, and then to begin to work on you. He's never going to let you go.
I once spent some time working with three adolescents who had been committed to the Lord by their godly Christian parents. These teeagers were tugging against everything they had been taught. They wanted to have their names flashing in neon lights. They were hoping for the world's glamour, not knowing that they were doomed to disappointment. God's purpose in the life of a Christian is to cut us away from the things of the world and make them a disappointment to us. God always wants to curtail anything that you take from the world. If you are grasping at anything for personal ambition or trying to exalt or to aggrandize yourself, then God wants that to sour on you.
God is going to take you on His way, and your way will have to be conformed to that if you are going to have true joy. Any way that is apart from His way must be broken. "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Prov. 14:12). We must learn that any human way must always lead to disappointment. Then the quicker you come to the place of surrender, the quicker He is able to move in, and give you the best that He had for you in the first place; the best that you refused because it didn't fit your specifications of what you thought the best should have been.
The second purpose He's working right now we find in 1 Peter 2:9, "That you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light."' One of the reasons why He saved us is that we might declare these wonderful deeds. In the midst of this world, what are we to be talking about? Who is to be the theme of our conversation? What is to be the center of our life and living? What is to be the purpose of all that we're doing? To exalt Christ! Our purpose is that in every way possible as we walk and move among men, Christ should have all the glory. He should have all the praise. Everyone that we come in contact with should know, if there is the slightest difference between us and the ordinary man of the world, that Christ is the One who makes the difference.
Say there is a businessman in a position where it's the accepted thing to take graft, and everyone knows that he doesn't. So they say to him, "You're a fool to pass this up." And he says, "That's all right. You see, the Lord called me out of darkness into light and I'll have my money when He wants to give it to me, but I'll have it in His way." They may call him a fool, but he has witnessed for Christ. And they know that he can't be reached.
And that principle may be applied in a thousand ways of life. We are to declare the wonderful deeds of Him who called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light. We are to declare "how wonderful God is! How loving and kind He is! What steadfast love He has toward us!"
And then in 1 Peter 2:5 He says that He has saved us so that we might "offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ."' He has saved us for this purpose so that as we live there might come from our hearts a well-pleasing surrender to Him. In the midst of this world that crucified Christ, in the midst of this world whose motto is "Take care of yourself, nobody else is going to do it," God delights in that we can say, "Lord, I offer you myself. You can do with me whatever seems good to You." No matter what happens, we take it as coming from the hand of our Father. Even though we fall into tragedies as great as those that beset job, we see that they are not tragedies when they are given to us by our Father. They really give evidence that we have a loving God, and that we are quite willing for Him to light any kind of a fire in us that He wishes to light.
Then in Ephesians 2:10 it says, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." This is the reason He saved you. He put you where you are in order that you might walk in a pattern of good works which He has prepared for you in advance. God has a plan for your life. And that plan includes the development of your character and the plowing of your whole being in order that the Seed of Life might be planted in well-worked ground and bring forth fruit that is well-pleasing to Him. We are "created ... unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."
- What does it mean that we are sinful?
- What is the depth of our sin, and why is it so bad?
- What does it mean to follow God’s will?
- Why might our sinful nature get in the way of doing God’s will?