Our Life, His Purpose

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations. ~Jeremiah 1:5

This is, at the same time, one of the most comforting and one of the most convicting verses of Scripture. It is comforting because, as the cares of the world pile up around us and as stress builds in our lives, it helps to remind us that even before we were born, God knew us and had a plan for our lives. Nothing that is going on in your life right now – none of the pain, none of the disappointment, none of the difficulty – is a surprise to God. Whether you are basking in the bright and warm sunshine on the mountaintop or trudging through the dark difficulties down in the valley, God is neither shocked nor dismayed. He is there with you using your situation, whatever it is, to advance His kingdom and bring you ever closer to Him.

This verse is convicting because it reminds us that, not only did God know us before He made us, but He also had a designated purpose for us and had planned for us the part He would have us play in advancing His kingdom. Being aware of this begs the question of whether or not we are actively seeking to fulfill God's plan or instead working toward our own purposes.

Francis Schaeffer points out in his book How Should We Then Live? that in western culture, over the past century or so, strong biblical values have been replaced with two supreme secular values: “personal peace” and “material prosperity”. These two values have taken over even in the church. Our two primary concerns when approaching any life decision tend to be the questions of: "Will this impact my feeling of personal security for me and my family?" and; "Does it allow me to increase, or at least maintain, my material holdings?"

The problem is two-fold: first, I don't find any instruction in the Bible to hold either of these as driving values in my life (in fact, I find exactly the opposite); and second, when I examine my life and when I look at the lives of those around me, I find that these two values do indeed tend to drive the majority of our decisions and radically affect the way we surrender (or resist surrendering) ourselves to God and to His purposes.

God did not call us out of the darkness and into His light in order that we might make a comfortable and safe home for ourselves here in this fallen world. Rather, he purposed for us to be a light in the darkness and to represent His kingdom as ambassadors so that His kingdom would be advanced and that His will would be done. How are you letting the concerns of your own personal peace and prosperity distract you from what God would have you focus on? Where in your life are you holding too tightly to the things of this world? God has had a plan and a purpose for your life since before you were born.  Where is your focus?

They will fight against you, but they will not overcome you, for I am with you to deliver you, Declares the LORD ~Jeremiah 1:19

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