January 2020. Wow! The dawn of a new year, a new decade. Happy New Year everyone. As we move into this new decade, instead of the usual new years resolutions, I thought in my January and February 2020 posts I would challenge us all to perhaps step out of our boxes and think about living this next year, or even this entire decade with a new kind of purpose that perhaps many of my readers have never considered before.
Author Rick Warren says that living God’s purpose is the only way to live. Everything else is just existing. “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it’s the Lord’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21 (NIV). Often people struggle with 3 basic issues in life. The first is identity. “Who am I?” The second is importance. Do I matter?” The third is impact. “What is my place in life?” These are deep and profound questions that may be a great food for thought for a new year or a new decade. Rick Warren’s answers to these 3 questions are found in God’s 5 purposes for each of us.
Once we know what God wants us to do, the blessings come in actually doing it. Remember Jesus’ words in the Upper Room to his disciples on that last day of his ministry as he washed their feet, “now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them?” John 13:17 (NIV). So what are God’s purposes for each of us? Here we go !
1) What will be the centre of my life? This is a question of worship. Who are we going to live for? What are we going to build our lives around? We can build our lives around our careers, family, sports, hobbies, money, fun, etc. They are all good, but they don’t belong at the centre of our lives. None are strong enough to hold us together when life starts breaking apart. We need an unshakable centre. We are supposed to centre our lives around God. Actually, whatever is at the centre of our lives is our god. When we commit our lives to Christ, He moves to the centre but we must keep Him there through worship. How do we know that God is at the centre of our lives? When God is at the centre, we worship. When He’s not, we worry. Worry is a warning light that God has been shoved to the sideline. The moment we put Him back at the centre we will have peace again. It’s that simple. The bible says “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 (NIV).
2) What will be the character of my life? This is a question of discipleship. What kind of person will I be? God is far more interested in who we are than what we do. Remember, we will take our characters into eternity, not our careers. Perhaps we should make a list of the character qualities we want to work on. We might begin with the Fruit of the Spirit or Beatitudes. Peter said, “Don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness and generous love. 2 Peter 1:15 (Msg). We mustn’t be discouraged and give up when we falter. It takes a lifetime to build a Christlike character. We must just keep at it.
3) What will be the contribution of my life? This is a question of service. What will be our ministry? Being aware of our spiritual gifts, individual talents, heart, personality traits and life experiences will shape what will be our best role in God’s family. How can we make a difference? Is there a specific group of people I am shaped to serve? This service we perform not only meets the needs of God’s people, but it also produces an outpouring of gratitude to God.
4) What will be the communication of my life? This is a question of our mission to unbelievers. Our mission statement should include our commitment to share our testimonies, life lessons and godly passions we feel God has given us to share with others. As we grow closer to our Lord, God may give us a special target group of people to focus on reaching. For example, if we are parents, part of our mission is to raise our children to know Christ, to help them understand his purposes for their lives and send them out on their mission in the world. Of course, our lives must support and validate the message we communicate. Before unbelievers accept the Bible as credible, they will want to know that we are credible. That is why the bible says, “whatever happens, conduct yourselves worthy of the gospel of Christ”. Philippeans 1:27 (NIV). Also, remember as I said in the past, be armed and ready to communicate to those that the Lord has placed in your path. No point in preaching to those who are not interested. We are billboards of God’s love and truth by how we live, more than what we say. Remember St. Francis of Assisi’s words “Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words”.
5) What will be the community of my life? This is a question of fellowship. How will we demonstrate our commitment to other believers and connection to the family of God? Where will we practice the “one another” commands with other Christians? To which church family will we be joined as a functioning member?
Lots of heavy “food for thought” from Rick Warren for a January of a new decade in know. I will wrap this up for you in a bow and bring this home full circle to conclusion in February. Enjoy the rest of your day. Love MJ xo