Wait to you hear this for a quote:
"Discovering God's original commission and purpose for humanity can help fortify our resolve to a life of history-shaping significance." G. L. Ladd
It's quite wordy but amazingly profound. I love the word fortify! I'm going to try and use it in my conversations today. The reason I love the quote, though, is that living a life of purpose that leaves the world different than we found it does take a whole heap of resolve. And sometimes we don't talk about that part.
Most of us at some point in our lives dream of living a life of history-shaping significance. We want to make a difference. And there are moments where we feel purposeful and 'on it'.
But truth is, life has a way of sucking the purpose out of us, doesn't it? Maybe it's pain, grief, business, destructive habits, distractions, delay, weariness. Whatever it is for you living a life of history shaping significance takes a great deal of resolve.
I was having a bit of a moan this week, feeling tired and weary and like I wanted to 'check out' of this purposeful living thing for a bit. "I just want a comfortable life I grumbled". I was feeling the pain of the process. The truth is I'd forgotten the 'why'. I'd forgotten that God, like a good Father has a process for training us and making us whole. It's what we need to carry out the purpose we have been called to. But it takes a some resolve.
The Bible calls resolve - endurance or perseverance. It's not a fun word, its a gritty one. We don't talk about it a lot but if we don't have it, we'll not move in purpose.
When you begin to realise the size of God's dreams for the people and places around you it can blow your mind. It can overwhelm you and make you feel like you can't do it. But God invites you into a purpose that is so far beyond you - in fact - it's impossible without Him. That's the way He likes to do it because it requires you to love and trust Him and stay close to Him.
Discovering God's dreams, in the context of His original commission and purpose for humanity should inspire you. It should lift you out of your small story and expand your heart to dream again. That's important. We need those encounters with Jesus that change our whole perspective on life and call us into more.
But there's another part that we don't always talk about. It's the gritty part. The part that requires resolve and endurance. Its God's process of training and preparing, testing and disciplining as a father or mother disciplines their children. It isn't always fun but it is part of God's way of shaping us to carry the incredible purpose He has called us to.
The process I'm talking about involves testing and training, it involves enduring trials and difficulties and allowing God to use them to shape us into the kind of people He needs us to be. We don't always love the training but we love what God is doing through it.
God loves us. He's incredibly good. He is shaping us into the kind of people that will carry out His Great Purpose on the earth. Embrace the process - don't check out just yet. Keep on it. Get up and go again because God is producing life in you that will bear a harvest of joy, peace and righteousness. As James writes (2:1) "consider it pure joy my brothers and sisters, when you face trials of many kinds..." and the writer of the Hebrews "Take a new grip with tired hands, strengthen the knees that give way, and make straight paths for you feet, so that what is lame might not be put out of joint but rather healed." (12:12-13).
Embrace the process - the outcome is worth it. Fight your better judgement and run towards the God who loves you not away from Him. Embrace His Grace in this moment and remember that you've been called to history shaping significance. He will get you there!