Tuesday, March 18, 2014

What Is My Purpose?

                This morning I came across a few words in my study that stuck out at me. We are studying the book of Acts, (which you already know if you have been reading my blog). We are reading and studying about Saul, his conversion and the new creation that he has become. Saul, who later will become Paul, is on the road to Damascus, ready to tear apart the city and to do whatever is necessary to annihilate the name of Jesus from the face of this earth. Most of us know this story, we know that Jesus interrupted his plans and changed his purpose for living, for an eternity. (Acts 9) Paul ends up writing two thirds of the New
Testament. He will become the Apostle who will bring the gospel to the Gentiles and eventually, we too will come to a deeper understanding of who Jesus is through his writings. Saul would be used for a great and mighty purpose. This leads me to the words that stuck out at me this morning which are “chosen vessel”.
                “But the Lord said to him, ‘Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.” Acts 9:15
                Ananias in the previous verse is kind of questioning Jesus, making sure Jesus knows who this man Saul is and what his intents were for coming to Damascus. Ananias is asking the Lord Jesus if this man Saul is really a believer, or is this just a ploy to draw out Christians for persecution. (Acts 9:13-14) But Jesus clearly states that Saul is His chosen vessel. The term vessel was very common in the Greek dialect. They referred to the body as a vessel because they believed that souls temporarily used the body to live in. Biblical dictionaries define the word “vessel” as an instrument or tool used to accomplish a purpose.
              How many of us over the years have asked the question, “What is my purpose?” I know I have asked that, many times. Before I became a Christian, I wondered what exactly was the point of my existence. I questioned many different religions, many different theologies out there, but I did not know nor understand what my purpose was until I became a Christian. Now, as a Christian I know that I was created to carry forth the glory of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world. But, sometimes, even now, as a Christian, I ask the Lord, “What is my purpose? Why did you create me? What am I to be doing for you?”
                This morning, as I was reading and studying I realized that we all are created for a purpose. Your existence is not by chance, but you were chosen before the foundations of the world for a purpose. You were created by God the Father to carry the light of the gospel of grace to the world, but, there is a deeper, more personal, purpose in each of us. In the Old Testament, when you read of all the vessels in the temple, you will see that each one was created for a specific task. Some were created to carry wine, and some were used to hold light, water, blood, etc. But each one had a specific task and each one was used by the priests to bring sacrifice, praise, thanksgiving and glory to God the Father.
                Our purposes are no different. Paul tells us that we have this “treasure in earthen vessels”. We
have the treasure of Christ Jesus in each of us, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. And, each one of us has been given a specific task to accomplish while we are on this earth. What that purpose is, we may not fully understand until we get to stand before Him and He shows us the whole purpose. But, we can know that we have a purpose. Inside each of us is a gift, a gift of the Holy Spirit. These gifts are given so that we can fulfill the purposes we were created for. For me, my gift seems to be teaching (well, as of late that is). I do not always see this gift, and I do not always understand the purpose of it- but it is the task that this earthen vessel has been given.
                So how then do we answer the question, “What is my purpose?” First, we must seek the Lord and ask Him to show us the gifts that He has given us. In these gifts we will find our purpose. I have a sister in the Lord who has the gift of evangelism. She loves to tell people about Jesus, she loves to go door to door and tell people about the goodness, the grace and the mercy of Jesus Christ. Her purpose could be to lead many to the Lord through the gift of Evangelism. I have another sister in the Lord who has the gift of hospitality. She has loving opened her home to us and has used this gift of hospitality to share the love of Christ with many, and encourage her fellow sisters in the Lord.
                Our gifts point us to the purposes Jesus Christ has chosen us for. Saul was a chosen vessel to carry the gospel to the Gentiles, and through the gift of teaching and evangelism, he was able to fulfill that purpose. We all have a purpose for existing. But, the only way we can ever truly know what that purpose is, is to understand the gifts we have been given. I once took a test to see what gifts I had. But to be honest, when I look back on it now, I already knew the gifts that I had been given- I just wasn't allowing God to use them yet.
                The vessels in the Temple were used for certain purposes, just like you are I are used for certain purposes. Not every vessel was used every day, some were only used for special feasts, or special occasions- but they were all used by God for a specific task. We have been given such wonderful gifts, yet we sit and wonder what our purpose is. We have been given a treasure, dwelling in each of us, a priceless treasure, all we have to do is allow God to use it and then our purpose will be revealed. Saul did not fully understand the purpose that Jesus had for him until much later in his life. He too had to come to understand the gifts that he had been given before he could fully understand the reason why he was chosen.
                God does not create anything in vain, or just for the fun of it. You were created for a specific purpose, a specific task. It could be that your gift is the gift of healing- are you allowing God to use you for that purpose? Perhaps your gift is the gift hospitality- are you allowing God to use you for that purpose? I do not want to go into a detailed explanation of how to know what gifts you have, because I do not fully understand it myself. But what I can tell you is this- what makes you passionate, what makes you want to step out and do is most likely where your gifting is at.
    Even the talents that we have been given are given to us for a certain purpose. I have a talent for writing (well, I like to think that I do!) and this talent, when I give it to God, is used for His purpose, for His glory, and to help me operate in the gifts that I have been given. I do not know if you fully understand what your purpose in life is, but I do want to encourage you that you were created for a purpose, you were created for a specific task, and until you can realize that and take it to heart, you will be wandering around aimlessly looking for something, or someone else to fulfill you. The only purpose that matters, the only reason for living that truly matters is to glorify God our Father through our Lord Jesus Christ, pointing others to the goodness, the grace, the mercy and the salvation that we have in Him. That alone should be purpose enough.

                Father God, I pray today that whoever is reading these words and is asking you the question, “What is my purpose”, will see that You have created them for a reason, for a specific task. I pray that they will seek You, that they will seek to know and understand the gifts that You have given them so that we can become the vessels of Your grace to a lost and broken world. I ask this in Jesus Name, to Him alone be glory, to Him alone be praise, forever and ever. Amen and Amen.