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Monday, January 9, 2017

Why am I here?- A Series on Purpose

I'm currently leading a series on purpose in a bible study group and thought to share part of the journey with you all. Please feel free to leave comments/questions down below. Here's week 1

Bible references: Romans 8:28-30; Isaiah 43:6-7; 1 Corinthians 10:31

What does purpose look like for us as Christians?

"It is important that you understand that your purpose or mission in life is why you are doing what you are doing. It is not what you are doing."

God created us for his glory, simple and direct ( Isaiah 43:7). This is an unequivocal fact on which our foundational principles lie as Christians. We were given breathe and life to bring forth the glory of God. We were not made to create the glory or add more to it, it is a pre-existential phenomenon we were called into, to establish,to cherish, to absorb every single day we are here on earth and even continues after our time here into eternity. We are able to do this at an optimum when we are conformed to Christ's image.
God’s intended aim for his people, after all, is that we are conformed to the image of Jesus. This is his decree and promise, having chosen us for this before the foundation of the world and having promised us unto this that all things will work together (Romans 8:28–30)

Why do we need to understand this subject?- a period of deep and genuine reflection
  • To live an effective and fulfilling life
As said earlier, it is a foundation on which every other thing lies.We are only able to function effectively within our purpose only if we understand it to a reasonable point. Purpose is an important subject even in the secular world. Everyone is trying to find their "calling", what they were born to do. It is an unending quest which may lead to a life of dissatisfaction if not comprehended. 
  • To reinforce our faith 
When we understand the truth of why God created us, it reinforces our confidence and we are better equipped to fight the lies of the enemy. It helps us see ourselves in light of God's word not as the world describes us.
  • To help us reorder our steps every time we get lost in the waters
There are so so many distractions in our day to day lives and sometimes, these distractions cause us to lose focus. We get carried away by the woman with the 10 million followers on Instagram, or the one with a blooming business or the family that seems to b having it all. One of my biggest struggles is staying focused- one minute I am so confident and empowered by my walk with Christ, the next I want to lay in bed for a whole week and wallow in self pity. Life moves at such a fast pace that we can't afford to have a shaky foundation we can return to when things get blurry.

How does the Christian purpose connect with our personal goals and aspirations ?

I think a major challenge for all of us is finding a connection between our generic purpose as Christians and our personal goals/pathway. We may want to ask: how does my career as a dancer translate into bringing glory to God? Or how can I bring glory to God by being a cashier ?
Another common question is: are we born with a particular purpose attached to our name tags? And if so, how do we go about finding what that purpose is? And what if we never find that purpose, does it mean we've lived a worthless life?
I'll try to explain these to the best of my knowledge but I urge you to take this as a pinch of salt and open your hearts for God to reveal this to you on a personal level.

So God has given us a compass (His word), to help us navigate through difficult subjects like this. Although there are no exact or direct answers in the Bible for every subject, there's enough wisdom to help guide us to the light.
1 Corinthians 10:31 is a very solid compass for us here: 
"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."
This means,whether you are a teacher, a stay at home mom, a lawyer, a social worker, a help...do it ALL to the glory of God. What does this tell us about God? His interest is more in the heart's condition than the actual vocation.
"His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man, but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love."- Psalms 147:10-11
So whatever your hands find to do, do it to the glory of the Lord and you are well within the foundational purpose of mankind.

Do we have a particular purpose assigned to us at birth in terms of career and livelihood?

No, I don't believe we do but I believe God molded us all uniquely and put various desires in our hearts that will only lead to a select number of things that we can do to bring us great joy and bring God utmost glory. These desires are designed in a way that aligns with God's foundational purpose of conforming us to His image. As Christians, we are all under an umbrella called providence (we will expand more on this term later on). This means God gives us the free will to choose various paths but they are still controlled by His will. It's like being confined within a very big circle and any step taken in any direction still leaves you in that circle. That circle of confinement is the will of God.
There are also many things that can influence what we end up doing. For example, a child who grows up in Nigeria will understand that we have a limited amount of vocations to pick from(Doctor, Lawyer or Accountant lol) . External influences like this can shape our interests and desires as well. However, God is the one who gives the ability to find joy in everything we do through the knowledge of his foundational purpose for creating us.

These are my views so far on purpose, through the eyes of a Christian chic as usual ;)
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