Recently, my wife and I were trying to make some decisions that would carry us into the remaining years of our lives. We have been married thirty-two years and are now looking more clearly at the last phase of ministry and life together. I certainly hope that we have many more years together, but much in this life is uncertain. What is certain is that life is short and filled with both good and bad things, disappointments and many joyful occasions.
As we were working through some of the decisions, we prayed specifically that God would be glorified in all we do, which included our decisions. And we prayed that we would surrender to His will for these years and not ours. I’m sure you are aware that life has many distractions. Things that take our time from us, that may not be the most important. So, we prayed and asked God what He wanted from us and for us.
As part of our discussion, the question that kept coming to my mind was, what is our purpose in these decisions? In other words, what do we want to accomplish through these decisions and why? It has been fairly, soul searching. I think it is good to reflect on our lives, to see if we can come to some clarity on what our purpose is in this life and how we will know that we have achieved that purpose.
I remember a few months ago, I was struggling to answer the question of what God wants from us. I understand that He wants our love and attention and even our very lives in service to Him, but my question was, what does He want from my life specifically. Well, I did what I believe every Christian should do in that predicament, I looked at His Word. And as I looked, I specifically wanted to see if there were any people who struggled with their purpose. After some prayer and meditation on Scripture, I was drawn to Solomon, King David’s son.
Solomon was known to be the wealthiest king of Israel. In fact, we are told that he had more “things” in this life than anyone. He was rich, to say the least. Rich in material wealth, power, and even wisdom. God blessed him with an abundance of wisdom, more than anyone. But yet, at the end of his life, Solomon was unsettled. He looked at all God had blessed him with, and was still asking the same question I was asking, what is my purpose?
And it wasn’t until the end of his life, as he looked back on his achievements and his many, many failures, that he understood his purpose. God worked in his mind, so Solomon would write it down. Ecclesiastes 12:13 (NASB) 13 The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person.
As I read that again, (I have read it many times before), it struck me differently. This time, I understood what God is really after. He wants us to make sure that we live in fear of Him. Not fear like watching a scary movie or as if He is to be feared like He is some kind of monster, but He is to be feared as being respected. He wants us to be in awe of Him. To hear Him in His Word and our attention is immediately captivated. He wants to to live our lives listening to every Word He says in His Scripture, believing every word to be directly from His mouth and then obeying what He has said.
That’s it!!! That’s what God wants from us!! He wants us to respect Him as the ultimate authority over our lives and eternal souls. And from that respect, to obey all He says to us to do and be. What struck me and even strikes me now, is that I often get caught up in “doing” things for God and looking for the switch that I can flip that will accomplish everything I think I should be “doing” for the Lord. But there is no switch that we can turn on or flip, and find the answer to purpose in this life. Or maybe I should back up and say, if there is a switch to flip, it is in our hearts and minds. And this switch, when it is flipped, will accept what Solomon said. God wants us to honor Him in our lives. Not with anything more specifically than that we love Him with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength and then turn to our neighbors and love them the same way we love ourselves. There is nothing He wants us to do necessarily, other than obey His Word, which will cause us to do certain actions. But more so, God wants our hearts to be followers of Him. He wants our souls to follow Him, no matter what the situation or scenario.
As I process that statement from Solomon, I become more aware of all the things that come in to my life, on a daily basis, that challenge me to live like I just described. But that is precisely why God said what He did through Solomon. God wants us, every day, to examine our motives, our decisions, our actions, our words we used to interact with one another, so that we see Him before us in every step of life.
Amazing isn’t it? That all God wants from us is to fear or honor Him in everything, and then obey what He says. Most people search to find their purpose. But its right here! So simple, yet so profoundly challenging to our souls. And it is challenging because we are filled with sin, rebellious to the core, wanting our own way and our own stuff. And if we don’t get it, we exhaust ourselves to achieve them anyway. Even if that means, we let go of or lose relationships or jobs or houses or money, in our attempt at finding our purpose.
I hope that you will take a step back and look at what God said through Solomon in Ecclesiastes. Then accept the truth, that God just wants your heart, fully, and then your obedience. When you do those two things, everything in this life is open for you to enjoy. Things take on new meaning. People have new meaning. Life has new meaning. And you will not fail in this life, because you are following all He has commanded, from your heart. Be careful! I didn’t say you would have all you want materially or physically, but you will have what you need in every area of life. Because, who do you think is directing your life at that point?
What a purpose! What a goal! What a great way to live!