The Warrior Within
Every year we are told that over two billion books are sold, downloaded or exchanged. Estimates of self-help books sold annually put that number at around 10 million. Just last year alone, sales jumped almost 20%, so in opening or picking up this blog, you are alongside many others around the world searching or looking to define purpose in life.
I am no different. Purpose has been at the core of my faith and existence for almost seven decades. As a child, a sense of purpose set me on course with the future direction of my life. As a teenager, a sense of purpose framed my decisions and ultimately led me to study in a certain vein for what lay ahead. And as a young adult, a sense of purpose faithfully led me towards calling and what many would call destiny.
Calling and destiny are not restricted to what some perceive as the few and favored. Calling and destiny belong to us all. It will of course look different for everyone, but nevertheless, each and every person has a unique calling, grace and assignment. Understanding these layered realities, enables you to walk in, experience and find fulfillment when it comes to purpose.
And purpose always comes with a battlescape of some description. We are clearly exhorted in 1 Timothy 6:13 to fight the good fight of faith. Why. Because faith is intrinsinctly connected to godly purpose, godly destiny and godly fulfillment.
The last book I wrote was aptly titled -
There Is More because as a pastor and leader for many years now, seeing people find and fulfill their purpose matters to me. When the world says you can't, God says you can! When circumstances scream impossibility, God says that all things are possible in Him! So unearthing and walking in purpose is a very real journey that spans a lifetime. It involves and requires constant determination, perseverance and a warrior-like spirit. As my wife Bobbie and I have often said (and hopefully exampled) walking in purpose is not for the faint of heart.
The nature of purpose will also be tested as it matures and develops across the seasons of life. Doubts, intention, ambition (whether godly ambition, or ungodly ambition), obstacles, and opposition will all challenge the resolve that determines the outworking of purpose.
The Bible provides us with so many examples. Individuals who fought valiantly for what was in their hand to achieve. Allow me to draw wisdom from three powerful examples in scripture. Who they were, the times in which they lived and what they achieved deserves more than a paragraph or two, but I trust that mentioning them, incites a hunger within you to dig deeper. Perhaps what they endured and overcame, will inspire the same within you. What kind of person do you want to be? What influence do you want to bring to others? What mark do you want to leave upon this earth?
- A Reluctant Leader
Reluctance is a human response many of us can grapple with. Whether it’s a hesitancy to step out, take a risk, or go beyond what we believe to be our capacity, reluctance can become a barrier to purpose. Moses, who is one of earliest recorded champions in scripture, was chosen by God to deliver the nation and children of Israel from slavery within a pagan land and culture. He initially doubted his ability to fulfill the task entrusted. He questioned his own identity, capacity and calibre of strength. He feared the challenges that lay ahead. Yet, despite his insecurities, Moses chose to trust in God's guidance and stepped boldly into his purpose. Advancing with unwavering faith, courage and determination, Moses led the Israelites out of the bondage of Egypt and into immense promise. He demonstrated that even the most reluctant of leaders can accomplish great things when they stand firm and fight for what they believe to be their purpose and calling.
Esther - A Courageous Advocate
Esther, a young Jewish woman, found herself in an uncanny position to save her people from genocide and destruction. Like Moses she was initially hesitant. She faced the daunting risk of personal harm (in her case, death) in taking up a mandate to challenge a powerful adversary, yet emboldened with a sense of destined-purpose, she became the much needed advocate. Her courageous faith, her courage belief in what God was asking of her brought about the historic deliverance of her people.
Esther's story powerfully reminds that fighting for purpose will often (if not always) require stepping out of one’s comfort zone in order to be obedient to that purpose. Again, the warrior-like spirit that changes history and influences the lives of others, carries this revelation. Jesus wrestled with the divine purpose entrusted to him by His Father, yet as he drew upon that purpose and relentlessly lent into the divine strength within and from Above, he secured the redemption of humanity. You and I have access to that same empowerment and strength.
Paul - A Transformative Journey
And then lastly, a brief look at the Apostle Paul's life bears remarkable testament to the power of fighting for purpose. Initially a fierce adversary of the Christian faith, Paul experienced a transformative encounter with Jesus that changed the trajectory of his life. Despite facing significant opposition and persecution himself, Paul dedicated himself to spreading the gospel and fulfilling his assigned purpose as an apostle and fore-runner in the Kingdom. He was beaten, imprisoned, chastised, wrongfully accused, and many of his so called friends abandoned him when the opposition heightened and the road became treacherous. His unwavering commitment, endurance and resilience in the face of adversity inspires us to fight for purpose, even when the path is fraught with challenge beyond imagination.
God is very clear about His purpose for our life! He says in Jeremiah 29:11 - "For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." This well known and often quoted scripture reminds us that God indeed has purpose, intent and a unique plan for each of us. He is the God of past, present and future, and He knows exactly where we sit in the greater scheme of things. This single verse, assures us of His confidence in the plans he has assigned. He will never not be present to guide our steps and lead us in His ways.
I encourage you to
Embrace your life
experiences and actively pursue the good works He has prepared. Once again, be assured that purpose is neither accidental nor random. Purpose flows from the heart of God and is attached to His divine knowing of who He has created you to be, and all He has called you to achieve. Together we can achieve much for His glory and goodness.