Destiny, Purpose, I have something to do, my calling, much is said about all these terms within church life but what do we actually mean by them. Are we seeing our unique life, gift and character in the plan of God or do we actually mean we can get caught up with the belief that each life has a purpose each life has a destiny in self-serving? Is destiny and purpose about pouring out one’s life for the sake of another, the other being Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
We mirror and take on the way of God and serve, emptying self for the sake of another. I long for a deliverance from this self-seeking life we seem to be encountering today on every hand. Politically in the UK around the Brexit talks, we hear “for the sake of the country”, in other parts of the world it is so often about securing self whether it be an individual or country it is not often to the advance and empowering of others.
I’m challenged as I hear the language of empowerment and honouring yet see more rooted in self-serving action rather than self-emptying. I long to live in a world where people are more interested in “carrying each other’s burdens”, “preferring one another” which is much more about pouring out a life for the sake of the other person. To live in a world, a Christ mirror world that as the older saints used to say is “living your life for the sake of another”. In a world of dominance, of individualism and consumerism with all the ‘I’s” we endorse, we do not hear or see words of honouring or empowerment but self advance. At worse this self advance is on the back of others, but a Christ follower will lift and establish others even at a personal loss.
I watched again recently a small section of the film ‘Passion of Christ’, it just happens to be on, as I watched I was overwhelmed at the cost it attempted to be portrayed, this cost really cannot be portrayed by humanity, the thinking of divine purpose and has pored outness. The emptying of self, how can we portray the cost of the purpose of God and Christ living out a pored out life. A life to firmly plant humanity in seeking of Christ in a rich relationship, one within the Divine movement.
The Genesis narrative in Chapter 2 outlines God planting, making a prepared garden, an Eden garden. A garden divinely prepared with everything woman and man required, ‘Ish’ and ‘Isha’ humanity placed in a world, an environment that was prepared out of Gods love for Gods image and likeness. A Garden of Gods love that held all, perhaps as Paul said to the Ephesian church “…every thing unto Godliness has been given to us…”, this Garden of love’s preparation contained everything humanity required. Back to my point, Christ was Gods prepared garden, we are placed be “in Christ” and everything required is found in this garden of God’s love, Christ. Humanity is placed in the wide open rich place of Christ.
This celebratory Garden flowing from a poured out process, came about as Christ took on the will of another “not my will but you will be done…Father”. Could this be the garden we are to offer to our world a self-emptying, to provide an environment for all to live! God out of love prepared creation for humanity, Christ out of love prepared a place in the rock, Christ Jesus,, Christ-like people to prepare a garden of love for humanity in being and seeing their purpose and destiny to live the will of God while living for another, humanity re-creating creation bringing liberty in healing creation Romans 8 tells of a cry being silenced due to the freedom of humanity, the freedom to live for the other.
I would suggest then that live our destiny, our purpose is to take on the aim and purpose of God, then and only then we will have a destiny, all other self-seeking destinies are substandard. The Bible writers, at least the New Testament writers summed it up in this way, that Christ might fill all in all, if we do not understand this we will be deluded into thinking that my whole life is about discovering my specific calling. But really God has a grand purpose for my life, I must reflect and live that out, and in shaping my explanation of God to a whole world I will realise my specific calling. This will come without thought of title or position but only with Christ filling.
It really is about discovering the divine purpose and focusing on God, discovering that we are here to journey not just to arrive at some destination. An adventure quite often has turns and bends that often surprise us.
Perhaps we don’t start at the right starting place, perhaps encouraging others to start in the wrong position. We are made before anything else to deepen our relationship with God to focus on God. Investing in our relationship with God above all else, realising that finding this focus in God helps us to realise what we are becoming rather than getting fully occupied with what we are doing. This breathes life into us. Perhaps the best way of saying it is to ask myself what really makes me feel alive?
A good friend of mine who ministers in South Wales called Ray Bevan once told me that if you have passion people will always be influenced. He pointed to the music world, in that the bands that make an impact are those that are passionate about their music and passionate about their words. Passion causes momentum. Passion, the passion that which burns inside you that causes others to catch alight. The last thing we need is a plan, not an instruction we need a fire.
I wonder if I could ask you a question or better still ask you to finish this line “ if I could do anything, without any restrictions on me I would …..” when you enjoy something you will thrive.
One of the greatest gains I have found is the ability to understand yourself in the midst of great purpose. As I’ve read various books on Nelson Mandela’s long journey it was clear to me, one of his greatest gains was understanding as he put it ‘his enemy’, which gave him an understanding of self. The ability to develop disciplines within our lives to get to know ourselves is of great power and help. Spending time to understand the ways and the fingers of God in my life as he wove me together in my mother’s womb.
One of the dangers in this journey touter dates destiny of God is wanting to know the end, so concentrated at the end will only delay or dis-enabled you to advance, the over-emphasis of eschatology rather than living Christ-like now will slow all our advance down.
Another danger is to overthink, thinking of the things that could go wrong, thinking what people think of you, rather think what small step can I take this week to explore my passion to find my purpose.
The growing and overwhelming consumer culture are all-embracing on every continent. It might manifest in different forms but people want to consume. Even the church wants to consume leaders, resources to achieve its status and its position. In the world, we live it is far too easy to find our identity in what we consume and spend our money on. Our lives are to be an offering, making a difference for Jesus sake and restoring our world.
We live in extraordinary times when our societies are getting tired of corruption when people are beginning to ask for something different. a world that knows a world that is just using all resources fo self cannot continue. A Cry for simpler, people conscious, empowering, living for the benefit of the greater good, a life of freedom. A Christ centred life…let the extraordinary place you find yourself in produce in you…
I was not a messiah but an ordinary man who had become a leader because of extraordinary circumstances