2015-02-27 - Finding Our Purpose
From these first two parts, we see that we are to be like him. Let's just sum it up with those three words: Be Like God. And that then brings us to Micah's third point: Walk with God. WHOA! God didn't say learn a lot of stuff or do a lot of things. Instead, he says we should be like him.
It boils down to this: Be Like God - Be With God.
Holman Old Testament Commentary, on Micah 6:8 says,
"This is the root of religion, the core of the covenant, the point of piety, and the essence of Christian commitment. God does not expect regulated religious activities. God wants personal relationships with other people and with him - relationships that place the other at the center of our concern. Actions are not controlled by legal writings, but by genuine commitments."
Will you commit to God today? This is our purpose. This is why God created us. Back in Genesis 1:25, God said let us - God had relationship within the trinity - let us make man in our image, in our likeness. God in his perfection had relationship within himself. Father, Son, Spirit - perfect in relationship with one another. Notice that throughout all of creation, God saw that all was good until Genesis 2:18, man was alone. Man didn't have the same kind of relationship that God had, and so he made woman. Then later in Genesis 2 we see that Satan's temptation was eating the fruit would make us like God. And that's the big lie. We are already like God by virtue of being his creation. We are now a reflection in a broken mirror but a reflection nonetheless. Eating the fruit didn't make us more like him. There is nothing we can do on our own to be more like him. Just being with him makes us more like him.
When I'm around some of my more country friends I start talking more country. If I'm around females too long I start talking like them. We all do, we adapt to be more like those around us. That is why old couples often finish each other's thoughts. If you are with someone you just naturally start being like them. Relationship is the number one thing! Let's look at a couple examples from Jesus' ministry.
Look at the encounter of Zacchaeus. Jesus didn't tell him what he was doing wrong or what he needed to do right. He just invited him to eat a meal and be with him. Once in the presence of holiness, Zacchaeus figured out the rest on his own.
Look also at the prodigal son. He wasn't given a lecture by the father of the way things were going to be if he came home. The father instantly threw a feast just to be with him. And the father invited the older brother to join them. He wanted to be with his children.
In an illustration book called "The Eternal Vision" compiled by William Sykes, I found the following quote:
There is hardly anything than can make one happier than to feel that one counts for something with other people. What matters here is not numbers, but intensity. In the long run, human relationships are the most important thing in life. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison
In prison, he knew what mattered most was relationships. When we reach life's darkest moments, when we reach the end of life no one ever looks back and says wow I wish I'd seen one more movie, read one more book, earned one more dollar, but rather they wish they'd spend more time with this person or that person. We are created as relational beings - we are in God's image. He is relational (Father, Spirit, Son - the very nature of God - the trinity is a relationship)
Our most important thing then is relationship with him - and then with others.
Hebrews 12:1(NKJV) Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
Yes we are to run the race. Yes there may be things to go around, over, through. Yes the race involves all these things on your list. But verse 1 does not sit alone. It ends with a comma.
Hebrews 12:2(NKJV) looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
So as we run, we keep looking to Jesus. Look unto Jesus. The purpose of the race is not to get over the obstacles, and it is not to train for the race; the purpose of the race is to get to the finish line, and at that finish line is Jesus.
Philippians 3:12-14 (MSG) I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back.
Jesus is the goal - he is the reason we run, the reason why we practice our running, the reason we run in teams. The purpose is all about him, first and foremost. We are relationship-driven. The one relationship that nothing else can replace, is one with God.
Jesus knew this. The disciples knew this. The disciples saw all his miracles, his great teachings, his sermons. They saw it all - but they didn't ask him how to do those things. Instead, they said "Teach us to pray." They perhaps intuitively knew that the key was a good relationship with God, so they asked how to talk with God. With a good prayer life - communication with God, relationship with God - all the other things would just happen.
On Jesus' last night before his crucifixion, he didn't fill their heads with knowledge. Instead he filled their bellies, and enjoyed good food and fellowship with the disciples. No amount of theology learned will ever replace time spent directly with God - just sitting and talking with him. That is how even Jesus spent his final moments before the arrest. After the meal with the disciples, he took them out to Gethsemane, and invited them to join him in fellowship with God through prayer - but they fell asleep, so Jesus prayed alone that night. He knew he needed the strength of God, and that only came through spending time with God.
Be Like God, by Being With God. It is all about the relationship with God. Jesus came down to Earth as Immanuel - God with us. He showed us how to act, by living among us. Be like him - be Christlike. Be with Christ. Because he gave his all to be with us.
[at this point I played a video showing scenes from "The Passion of the Christ" while the song "Just to be with you" by Third Day played. As everyone watched the video, I drew the words Be With God and a simple sketch of Jesus, over the top of the list we had created.]
So as we seek out purpose, we must first simply seek God. In the weeks to come, we will explore what seeing God can do for us, but for now, that is our purpose. We are not to be brats - as great as that may be - but simply to be with God.`
All scripture references from NIV (New International Version) unless otherwise noted