The Purpose Driven Life
THE PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE
WE GLORIFY GOD BY TELLING OTHERS ABOUT JESUS
God is at work in the world, and He wants you to join Him. This assignment is called your mission. Your ministry is your service to believers and your mission is your service to unbelievers. Being a Christian includes being sent into the world as a representative of Jesus Christ. In John 20:21 Jesus says, “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” Jesus completed His mission, so you need to do the same.
What He did in His physical body we are to continue as His spiritual body, in the church. 2 Corinthians 5:18 says, “And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to Him.” In this way we can do the five purposes: to love Him, to love others, to become like Him, to serve Him and to tell others about Him.
Your mission is so significant that Jesus repeated it five times, in five different ways in five different books of the Bible. In the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus says, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 And teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.”
This commission was given to every Christian, not just to pastors and missionaries. And this is your commission from Jesus and it is not optional. You may be unaware that God holds you responsible for the unbelievers around you. Ezekiel 3:18 says, “If I warn the wicked, saying, ‘You are under the penalty of death,’ but you fail to deliver the warning, they will die in their sins. And I will hold you responsible for their deaths.”
Your mission is an incredible honor. 2 Corinthians 5:18 says, “And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to Himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to Him.” You are working with God to build His kingdom and you are representing Him. 2 Corinthians 6:1 says, “We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain.”
Jesus has secured our salvation, put us in His family, given us His Spirit and then made us His agents in the world. 2 Corinthians 5:20 says, “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.” Telling others how they can have eternal life is the greatest thing you can do for them. Do not keep it a secret that their sins can be forgiven.
Remember that no matter how content or successful a person seems to be, without Christ they are hopelessly lost and headed for eternal doom. Acts 4:12 says, “There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” Your mission has eternal significance. Nothing else you do will ever matter as much as helping people establish an personal relationship with God.
John 9:4 says, “We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work.” We will have all of eternity with those we have brought to Jesus, but we only have our lifetime in which to reach them. This does not mean you should become an evangelist. God wants you to share the Good News wherever you are working or are among your friends.
As a student, mother, father, teacher, salesman, engineer or manager or whatever you do, you should continually look for people God placed in your path with whom you can share your story, your individual gospel. Your mission gives your life meaning. The best use of your life is to spend it on something that will last. And only the Kingdom of God is going to last forever and ever.
Everything else in your life will eventually vanish. That is why we need to live lives committed to God, to our fellow men, to spiritual growth, ministry and mission because the results of these activities will last forever. Paul says in Acts 20:24, “My life is worth nothing unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus, of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.”
There are people whom only you will be able to reach, because of where you live and what God has made you to be. If just one person will be in heaven because of you, your life will have made a difference for eternity. Start looking around at your personal mission field and pray, “God, who have you put in my life for me to tell about Jesus?” God’s timetable is connected to the completion of our mission.
Today there is a growing interest in the second coming of Christ and the end of this world. When will that happen? Acts 1:7-8 says, “Jesus replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere, in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Jesus said in essence, “The details of my return are none of your business. What is your business is the mission I have given you. Focus on that.” But Jesus said in Matthew 24:14, “And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come.” Jesus will come when everyone God wants to hear the Gospel has heard it.
It is easy to get distracted and sidetracked from your mission because Satan would rather have you do anything else besides sharing your faith. Now the moment you become serious about your mission, expect the Devil to throw all kinds of diversions at you. Luke 9:62 says, “But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”
To fulfill your mission will require that you abandon your agenda and accept God’s agenda for your life. You must say like Jesus did in Luke 22:42, “Nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” And it would help if you pray, “God help me do what You want me to do.” Romans 6:13 says, “Present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.”
If you want to be used by God, you must care about what God cares about, and what He cares about is the redemption of the people He created. And the way to do that is by sharing your life message. Your Life message has four parts: Your testimony of how you began your personal relationship with Jesus. Your life lessons of what God taught you. Your passions which are he causes God created in you and the Good News itself.
There is no other story like yours, so only you can share it. You may not be a Bible scholar, but you are the authority on your life. It is your personal experience that counts. Actually your personal testimony is more effective than a sermon, because unbelievers see pastors as professional salesmen. But you are a “satisfied customer” so they will believe you more readily. And personal stories are easier to relate to.
Your testimony is the story how Christ has made a difference in your life. 1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” You are in essence witnessing, sharing your personal experiences with the Lord. This is just a humble personal story.
That is why on many occasions Paul used his testimony to share the gospel instead of quoting Scripture. 1 Peter 3:15-16 says, “And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. 16 But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ.”
Your life message should include your life lessons, the truths that God has taught you. These lessons might be in relationships, problems and temptations and other aspects of your life. David in Psalm 119:34 prays, “Give me understanding and I will obey your instructions; I will put them into practice with all my heart.” While it is wise to learn from your own experience, it is wiser to learn from experiences of others.
We don’t need to learn everything by trial and error. We also must learn from the life lessons of others. Proverbs 25:12 says, “To one who listens, valid criticism is like a gold earring or other gold jewelry.” Proverbs and Ecclesiastes are filled with practical lessons on living. Mature people develop a habit of extracting life lessons from everyday experiences. What has God taught me from failure, sorrow and disappointments etc.?
Your life message includes your godly passions. As you grow closer to God, He will give you passion for godly things. It may be a passion for a group of people. Whatever it is, you feel compelled to talk about it. Matthew 12:34 says, “Whatever is in your heart determines what you say.” Jeremiah 20:9 says, “His word burns in my heart like a fire. It’s like a fire in my bones! I am worn out trying to hold it in!”
Sometimes God gives people a passion to speak up for a group who can’t speak for themselves such as the unborn, the persecuted, the poor, the imprisoned, the mistreated, the disadvantaged and those that are denied justice. The Bible is filled with commands to defend the defenseless. God gives some people a godly passion to champion a cause. It is often a problem they themselves have experienced personally.
God uses passionate people to further His kingdom. He may give you a passion for starting new churches, funding Bible translations or training Christian leaders. You may be given a godly passion for reaching a particular group of people in a specific country. God gives us different passions so that everything He wants done in the world will get done. But don’t expect others to be passionate about your passion.
Instead we must listen and value each other’s life message because nobody can say or do it all. And your life message should include the Good News. Romans 1:17 says, “This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith.” The Good News is that when we trust God’s grace to save us through the sacrifice Jesus made, our sins are forgiven.
All the training in the world won’t motivate you to witness for Christ until you learn to love lost people the way God does. Colossians 4:5 says, “Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity.” Whenever you feel apathetic about your mission, think about what Jesus did for you on the cross. As long as you know one person who does not know Christ, you must pray, serve and share the Good News to that person.