Finding Perspective on Purpose
The scary thing is that the enemy can take a very good purpose and separate it from faith.
by clint fisher, upper elementary principal
“By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be one of my disciples.”
Over the past few weeks I have noticed that I am driven by many things, and most of them serve to distract me from what is most important. I have wondered many times how to identify those things that operate within the deeper recesses of my soul, the drive behind the drive, the whisper within. I am going to spend a few weeks digging through different drivers that operate within our souls and where the Gospel meets us to bring freedom and joy.
In John 14:6 Jesus claimed to be the way. What did he mean by that? The word “way” in the Greek (ὁδός) means a path, a road, a means to arrive somewhere. Just prior to verse 6 Jesus was telling his disciples that he was going to prepare a place for them so that they could join him where he was going. He then told them they knew the way. At this point Thomas spoke up. I view Thomas as the practical, detailed one. I have a great respect for him. He basically said, "We don't even know where you are going, so how do we know the way to get there?" I can sense his astonishment. I would have been trying to figure out what I missed in the conversation. Thomas was most concerned with making sure he could join Jesus where he was going.
We fill our time with the way to achieve our purposes – the means to reach our desired end. For many of us as full-time parents a job or education either inside or outside the home is “a way.” Neither of these are an end in and of themselves. An education is, at the least, a means for growing and developing as a person, and a job is, at a minimum, a means to provide for your family. We look at education and a job as a means to arrive somewhere or achieve something. They are a means to an end. The problem is that we have broken ideas of what is a meaningful and worthy end. And sometimes we become fixated on the way, losing sight of the purpose altogether. I was asked once who was to be pitied most, the one who gave his whole life to attain something but never attained it or the one who gave his life to attain something only to realize it was not worth attaining.
We are often driven by many different purposes. Some are driven by a cause that means something to them while others are driven by a sense of accomplishment. Some are driven simply to surround themselves with pleasure, beauty, and ease. The scary thing is that the enemy can take a very good purpose and separate it from faith, and then it becomes sinful and broken. Romans 14:23 reminds us that anything that does not proceed from faith is sin.
God, reveal to us our hearts’ actual driving purpose. Show us your calling, promises, and yourself, so that we can redefine our purposes based on your will and faith in your promises. God, do this so that we may abide in you, walking with you and doing the work we see you doing, and so find the joy that is overflowing in your presence.