Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Created for a purpose: Christ in meScripture
Key Bible Verse Text
“…God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased 16 to reveal his Son in me…”
Our Bible text today reveals Paul’s firm conviction in being called for a purpose. A purpose that he believed was decided by God, set in motion by God and being continued by God. Paul did not believe that he was chosen by man; he knew his calling was from a higher order and he tried to live responsively to that calling. This was his motivation.
Considering this understanding, we have to ask ourselves, what is our motivation for the lives we lead? Do we live in response to a calling from God? Or do we live with the deep desire to serve human standards?
By focusing on God as his true north (2Tim.1:12), Paul lived to God’s standards. He knew that the plans that was purposed for him was revealed to him by God. What he was given to do was not the work of man, but God putting His divine plan into gear.
We keep experiencing heartbreak and disillusionment and go astray in our many endeavours, because we lose our true worth. We are tossed about like waves (Eph.4:14). When we try and live by man’s standards and the expectation of the world, there creeps in the very human tendency to measure ourselves against others. We don’t think we are much when we compare ourselves to others. We are never smart enough, good enough, rich enough, faithful enough or even just enough. We keep measuring ourselves against others because we build models of perfection in our heads, using our very limited perspective and the lens of the fallen world we live in. Yet God who sits enthroned in heaven and sees everything in a much bigger perspective looks at us and says, “It is good!” (Gen.1). Surely this is all we need to be convinced of our own worth.
Fulfilling the purpose of being called out also means achieving the pivoting needed to see the God perspective; this requires a breaking free- a change. Paul was never shy to acknowledge the change that was necessary for him to be transformed from Saul to Paul. It requires a recognition of our blinkers- what keeps us from really seeing God at work? Is it our own entrenched views, our inflexible black or white categorizations with no room for compassion? We are stopping God from revealing his plans to us if we keep pulling back and carrying on with our fixed ways of doing things. It could be in intergenerational ministry or serving amongst the homeless, addicts and criminals that we embrace the change required to fulfil God’s purpose for us
Sometimes embracing our mission involves stepping into the unknown. We see numerous people do this in the Bible. Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, Elijah, Jeremiah- all people who did not know where the journey would take them, only that they need to trust God with knowing what He is doing. And here we are, close to 3000 years later, still applying their life lessons into our own lives.
Paul says that when God reveals His plan for us, it is in fact a reckoning with Christ in us. As Christians, our identity is in Christ (Col.1:27). And this identity has been embedded in us since the beginning of our existence (Ps.139:13-14). When we become aware of our mission and get to the point of reckoning, we then become aware of Christ who dwells within us. We then hand the key over to him to unlock our potential for His kingdom purpose. We are no longer inhibited by our past; we no longer need humans to validate our purpose for existence; we recognize how uniquely created and gifted we are. We can the go forward to preach the word, irrespective of our past mistakes and our present shortfall, focusing only on the glorious future that awaits us, as people who fulfilled the purpose for which we are called out.
Heavenly Father, we thank you that we are uniquely, intentionally, and purposefully created by you. Help us today to submit ourselves to you so that Christ can be revealed within us. We know then that we don’t need to see ourselves with the lens used by the world, but that we can then see ourselves the way you see us – as good and loved. Amen!
Thought for the Day
We keep measuring ourselves against others because we build models of perfection in our heads, using our very limited knowledge and the lens of the world. Yet God who sits enthroned in heaven and sees everything in a much bigger perspective looks at us and says, “It is good!”. Surely this is all we need to be convinced of our own worth.
Bindhu George, Melbourne Mar Thoma Church, Melbourne, Australia