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The Purpose Filled Life

By Dan Vis
May 03, 2021
Comments: 99

This month we've been reviewing some of the core principles that drive us at FAST. It's been a serious look at our purpose... This week's article looks at how important having a clear sense of purpose really is.

Electric power lines

Many of us recognize the need for more of the Spirit's power in our life. But we don't always know how to go about getting that power. I believe one key is understanding the close connection between a life of purpose and a life of power. That is, to enjoy more power, it's important to cultivate a deeper sense of purpose.

“To enjoy more power, it's important to cultivate a deeper sense of purpose.”

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And there's no better time to think about your purpose in life than in the weeks leading up to a fresh new year.

Two Parallel Prayers

I first noticed the connection between purpose and power when memorizing the two prayers opening up the books of Philippians and Colossians. Many of Paul's epistles begin with a prayer for the believers he was writing to, and I've made it a point over the years to memorize these prayers as guides to help me when praying for believers today. It's been a helpful practice.

Not only did I memorize them about the same time, the prayer is found in the exact same place in both books (verses 9-11 of chapter 1)--which is no doubt why they linked themselves together in my mind. Both prayers ask God to grant those believers a clearer sense of purpose.

In Philippians 1:9-119 And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; 10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ. 11 Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God., Paul prays they would abound "more and more in knowledge and in all judgment", and be able to "approve things that are excellent" as opposed to just good. It shows a clear burden that they grow in their sense of purpose.

Paul's prayer in Colossians 1:9-119 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; asks that they "might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding", in order for their lives to be pleasing to God, fruitful, and continually growing. Again, his prayer is that they would live lives of purpose.

In the first, Paul promises purpose will lead to "the fruits of righteousness". In the second, he promises purpose will lead us to "walk worthy of the Lord". Both are only possible through the reality of the indwelling Spirit. He doesn't pray for more of the Spirit, however, he prays for more purpose--knowing God's Spirit would be the inevitable result.

After reflecting on these verses many times, and praying through them often, I've come to the conclusion that being filled with purpose does indeed lead to being filled with the Spirit.

Other Examples

Once I made that connection, I began to see it in other places too. In Luke 24:49And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high., for example, the disciples were told to tarry in Jerusalem until they received power, so they could fulfill a specific purpose: that "repentance and remission of sins" should be preached among all nations (vs 47).

In Acts 1:8But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth., the real promise was that the disciples would be witnesses to the uttermost parts of the earth. The descent of the Holy Spirit was just the key to accomplishing that purpose.

In the days leading up to Pentecost, I suspect it was the enormity of the great commission that drove their prayers. They were burdened with the realization that all who "call on the name of the Lord" could be saved (Acts 2:21And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.), so they plead for power to make that message clear.

In Acts 4:29And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,, just before the second outpouring of the Holy Spirit (vs 31), they didn't even ask for more of the Spirit--they asked for greater boldness to speak the word in the face of severe threats. Their purpose drove their prayers. And God blessed with an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

“God has an almost incomprehensible longing to save the world, and He is looking everywhere for men and women willing to commit their lives to that purpose.”

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To put it differently, I don't believe God gives the Holy Spirit primarily for our own personal enjoyment and growth--though these are certainly outcomes of His presence in our life. Rather, God has an almost incomprehensible longing to save the world, and He is looking everywhere for men and women willing to commit their lives to that purpose. And when He sees that determination to engage, He eagerly grants whatever power is needed.

For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. II Chronicles 16:9For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.

Perhaps more than focusing our prayers on requests for some kind of spiritual experience or blessing, we should spend more time like the apostle Paul--praying for a greater and stronger sense of purpose. Make it your goal to be filled with the knowledge of God's will for your life, and He will make sure you are filled with whatever measure of the Spirit you need to accomplish it.

As another year draws to an end, and we get ready to launch into the next, how is it with you? Is your life filled with a clear sense of God's purpose for your life? If it is, then trust Him to make the year ahead your best year yet!


Take a moment to reflect on your life. What is your motive for wanting more of the Holy Spirit? Is your life marked by a strong sense of purpose? What can we do to be more purpose filled?

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Posted by Dan Vis on 05/09/21
Happy to help if I can John. Send me a private message if you want to do an article for June! :)
Posted by John Gilmore on 05/09/21
Thanks, Dan, for both the cautions and the encouragement! I see that I've work to do, and I'll get back with you after I've started to figure out what I can do in print form.
Posted by Dan Vis on 05/09/21
Wow--that's a really nice list John. And I think you are right that there is not anything out there (that I know of) that really emphasizes these points. So a book idea seems worth pursuing to me.

Note three concerns though: books require a pretty big investment (time to write and money to print), it's hard to get published if you don't already have an audience, and it takes a lot of promotion to get a book out there, even with a great book. I can share more on these points privately if you wish.

If you want to take a stab at writing up a short article on this and giving it a test run here at FAST--I'd be open to publishing it in June as a Monday Memo. I'm hoping to do another community month, and I'm looking for articles!

So yes, I definitely think there's a lot of potential here! Let me know if putting together a memo interests you!
Posted by John Gilmore on 05/09/21
Dan, you ask about the other 4 M's? I won't say that this list is exhausive, but what I've found is:

Motive - I focused on the love of God which, as He saves us, becomes formed in our hearts and becomes our primary motivation.
Merit - We recognize that inherently only God is worthy of praise, yet His goal is to make us worthy, worthy of His commendation and to be in His company(Revelation 3:5He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.).
Method - Salvation is a multistep process, consisting of a combination of God's actions with ours, including a process of individual character development.
Measure - Our minds can only dimly envision the immensity of God's gift, as He gave all He could (an infinite gift) so that we could have eternity with Him. Likewise He calls us to give all that we are to His service.

Having finished the sermon series, I feel challenged to put it in book form. I'm sure that I've not read most of what has been written on the subject of salvation, but at least I'm not aware of it being approached this way. There was more that I might have shared from the pulpit, but for the lack of time. And then I also see this subject as central to our destiny yet sometimes misunderstood, having facets that are sometimes emphasized to the exclusion of others. Perhaps in print it might help more. Your counsel and prayers would be appreciated.
Posted by Dan Vis on 05/06/21
Sounds like a great series John! I'm curious what the other 4 M's were. :)

Also appreciate the discussion about 2020 being possibly a call for God's people to refocus on their walk with God in preparation for what is coming next. Very possible (Qing), though I have my own thoughts about its cause/purpose. I resonate even more with your statement about crisis revealing character. It certainly has revealed some longstanding weaknesses in our own country that are disturbing.

Regardless, I think this is a good reminder to make the use of whatever opportunities we have to seek God. You're right that the final scenes seem much more imminent now...
Posted by John Gilmore on 05/06/21
Qing, Thank you and Amen.

I'm sure that everyone is further along on their journey, in one direction or another. I've heard it said that "crisis reveals character." I'm sure that's true. I'm also sure that crisis gives opportunity to develop character, either for good or for bad. So as crisis builds on crisis, characters will more rapidly be formed, transformed for One or deformed for the other, until every person shows well their allegiance. It may not be long now.

Posted by Qing Ling on 05/06/21
John no doubt many were thinking the same as you've mentioned re the connection with Elijah, Moses and Jesus. 2020 and its "iso" periods were definitely opportunities for us to take time out with God. Almost halfway into Covid year #2, I wonder where everyone is up to in their Purpose-Seeking journey.....

May God anoint your lips and convict the hearts that hear your (His) message on mission. :)
Posted by John Gilmore on 05/06/21
As I'm preparing a sermon on mission (part 5 of a series, the 5 M's of Salvation), I see a lot of overlap with what you've written here on purpose.

Qing, re: "pause" and "reset" -- I was thinking of that, too, not long ago, in regard to the pandemic. Didn't God have many of His servants do just that? Moses spent 40 yrs raising sheep, Elijah spent time by the brook, Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness and Paul spent 3 yrs in Arabia. All of them had time for prayer, study and meditation, in preparation for service. We need it, too. And we certainly need it no less than they did as the last events begin to unfold.
Posted by Dan Vis on 05/05/21
Thanks Valerie! I think that's an awesome application--to seek to be more intentional and deliberate in everything we do today. That really spoke to me too. Always room to become more purpose-filled, isn't there?
Posted by Valerie Wise Burrell on 05/05/21

This is a power-filled memo. I intend to let the words: “ Being filled with purpose does indeed lead to being filled with the Spirit”, guide me today. Instead of going from one task, one meeting to the next, I pray for more evidence of His purpose in my life that I may receive more of His Spirit.
This is clearly a Spirit-filled memo. Praise God!
Posted by Dan Vis on 08/30/20
Wow, "pause" was an appropriate word indeed. Not my nature to like to pause (life's always been a race against time to me), but I guess I needed one this year for whatever reason...

As for a common experience, I think in this country, people are more divided than ever before.
Posted by Qing Ling on 08/29/20
Yup, sounds like the experience the whole world has had this year Dan. 2020 = reset and rewind
In a way its kinda cool how this pandemic has brought the world into a common experience.

I was just teasing about the closing paragraph of the article :)

"As another year draws to an end, and we get ready to launch into the next, how is it with you? Is your life filled with a clear sense of God's purpose for your life? If it is, then trust Him to make the year ahead your best year yet!"

in a way, we can choose to turn over a new leaf anytime of the year. So the question of revival and renewal of purpose is poignant always. I usually find sometime along mid year i find new words for my one word theme of the year. Because life is full of curve balls. But my word this year was PAUSE and it's turned out to be quite appropriate given lockdowns everywhere.
Posted by Dan Vis on 08/29/20
Well actually, I haven't been thinking too much about 2021, yet Qing. I have my hands full right at the moment with a number of projects. I am praying 2021 will be a very different year though.

In our church, we decided to forego officer elections for next year, and just repeat the same officer list--because the pandemic hindered so many plans. Kind of as if 2020 was a wash, and we need to reset.

That's about how I feel about 2020. I had big plans at the start, but things didn't quite turn out like I expected. I guess I wasn't quite ready, really, so a reset sounds pretty good to me...
Posted by Qing Ling on 08/29/20
Dan we just clicked over into the second half of 2020 and you're talking about gearing up for 2021 already? I suppose this year is a bit of a write-off due to covid basically deleting a lot of our plans. i'm just kidding, i know the last time you had this article out it was December - the actual end of a year. haha.
I am grateful for the prompt at this time to re-align my path with God's Purpose for my life though. Purpose is everything. I want more of the Holy Spirit because I know I can't fulfil God's plan for my life without His power.
Posted by Dan Vis on 12/05/19
Excellent post Sheri. I agree completely. Should probably work some of those ideas right into the article. Purpose does have a sanctifying influence, because the more committed we are to achieving something the less likely we are to do something that will sabotage our success, or neglect something essential. And if the mission is right, then those tendencies work in the right direction. Thanks for articulating that so well.
Posted by Sheri Trueblood on 12/05/19
I am thankful for this post, it has put into words things that I have thought, though I didn't see these scripture texts that connect purpose with Holy Spirit Power. Good food for thought, and texts to chew. I appreciate this and the counsel to pray for a knowledge of God's will and to pray this for others.

I know for my life, when I have a purpose or a mission it actually has had a sanctifying influence on me, because I don't want sin to get in the way of fulfilling God's perfect plan. Specifically, I didn't want my foolishness/sin to get in the way of someone's spiritual walk or them having an opportunity to know about God.

Over the years, John 17:19And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. has helped to keep me, "I have sanctified myself, that others maybe sanctified." This is Jesus speaking, our Example. I can't sanctify myself, but I can pray an ask God to sanctify me, and then I have reason and choice to follow God's words and impressions. Looking back, times when I did not have a strong sense of purpose or times of "idleness", or not being involved in some kind of mission or project has been times when I grew weaker spiritually. Its kind of like David when the war was going on and he was at home idle and then got into trouble with Beersheba...
Posted by Floride Leonce on 12/04/19
You’ll find me there.
Posted by Dan Vis on 12/04/19
I'll look for you there! :)
Posted by Floride Leonce on 12/03/19
Thanks, Dan! I’m glad to be back too.
I think I will follow your advice and join the Rocket Goals class. That might help me see through and get me committed to whatever things God wants me to do.
Posted by Dan Vis on 12/03/19
Sometimes the Lord withdraws our desire for one thing, because He has something else in mind for us. But it's important Floride, to spend whatever time you need, to get clarity about what that other thing is, so we're always excited about something!

If you can, try taking our Rocket Goals class. It might stimulate some ideas on where God would have you put your focus right now. Good to see you back!
Posted by Floride Leonce on 12/02/19
Hi Dan, and thank you for this meaningful message!
I’ve been praying for the Holy Spirit for others to see Christ in me through words and actions. I believe that, once that happens, God can use me to accomplish whatever mission He wants me to accomplish for Him.
At the beginning of the year, I launched a small group ministry, which didn’t last too long. I lack the motivation to continue it and I feel like something is missing in me. Although my prayer ministry is till going on, I don’t feel as though I have this flame that should keep me going. So, I want more of the Holy Spirit to live the life of purpose for which I was called.
Posted by Dan Vis on 12/02/19
Nice summary of the main point in this article Rhona. I think the Lord wants to bring all of us to that understanding, but it kind of goes against the grain of our nature, doesn't it? I mean, the sin problem at its core revolves around a focus on self. And it's only gradually that God can help us break free from that, and to focus more on the life of heaven. But like you said, praise God He is so patient! :)
Posted by Rhona Brown on 12/02/19
I think that this is a very important message. The motives for more of the Holy Spirit in my life, has been more about self then the glory of God. I feel that the Lord has been working on me for a while to get me to this point. I rejoice that the Lord is so patient with me. Now my prayer will be to have a more defined purpose in my life.
Posted by Sue Gilmore on 12/22/17
I believe a key purpose for our lives is to reflect Jesus in character. That is m prayer--not merely to engage in working with Him, but living like Him--in my thoughts, words, in what I eat and drink--every part of me.
Posted by Fiona van Wyk on 12/10/17
How super that you enjoyed the Breakout Challenge, Carlota. I did too!
Posted by Carlota Belmo on 12/09/17
Yes Dan, this is my first ever Breakout Challenge and I love it!.
Posted by Dan Vis on 12/09/17
That's exactly why I posted this, Fiona. I do think we tend to have it backwards. You expressed it so clearly!

Praise God Carlota! Glad you found this helpful. And love the verse! Was it from our last Breakout Challenge?
Posted by Carlota Belmo on 12/08/17
Thanks Dan, this is what I have been asking for, I want to understand my purpose here, what is it that God wants of me. I think I now see the light, as I surrender to God and serve Him He will make the purpose visible to me, and then give me the power to execute my mission for Him. “Preserve me, O God for in Thee do I put my trust.” Psalms 16:1Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust.
Posted by Fiona van Wyk on 12/08/17
I am intrigued, Dan, about how you suggest exactly the opposite of what most people state : usually we are told that we need to pray for a greater measure of the Holy Spirit, and then we will be equipped for working for God. But no, you suggest just the opposite! That equipped with a purpose inspired by God, the Holy Spirit will be given so that we can accomplish that purpose. Very interesting! It makes sense. God guides and then empowers.
Posted by Dan Vis on 12/07/17
Thank you everyone for your positive feedback! I think the Holy Spirit must be tugging on each of our hearts because HE wants us to live a life of purpose. He longs to pour out through us a river of love and grace to a suffering, dying world. But He needs channels willing to be used for that purpose. Let's step up and answer the call!
Posted by Nathaniel C Nwazue on 12/06/17
As I reflect on the purpose filled life, I desire that God may use me to reach many and lead them to the foot of the Cross. This is my purpose that each day of my life will be guided by the Holy Spirit. I have read this lesson three times and it gives me a good understanding of what a life of purpose is. thank you.
Posted by Lynie on 12/05/17
May God's Will be done in our life as we approach new year
and the time to come..
Posted by Valerie Wise Burrell on 12/04/17
Dan Vis,
This really gave me something to think about. I pray often for the Holy Spirit to use me. I ask for the latter rain because I want the power of God to combat the evil that assaults each of us on a daily basis. I want to be like Paul and Peter who were so faithful in their witnesses. Most of all, I want to love others like Christ loves me to win others for His Kingdom.
Posted by Darci Ziegler on 12/04/17
This was very good for me to think about. I have memorized one of these passages before and have prayed it for my children. I am going to do this again because they are teenagers now and need to have purpose in life as they decide what to do in the future. So do I as they are growing and someday leaving home what is my new purpose after all these years of them being my purpose?
Posted by Linda Elliott on 12/04/17
It's easy to get lost in the busyness of life without a focus on purpose. Thank you for sharing.
Posted by Marion Coppock on 12/04/17
We absolutely cannot be a Spirit-filled person without asking for the Holy Spirit to fill you each and every day. I like the "praying for greater purpose" It seems like Life is to busy that I often stay, I will go visit, call etc another day when I have more time.
Posted by Deanna Dekle on 12/04/17
Thank you for this emphasis. We need it.
Posted by John Gilmore on 12/04/17
I need the Holy Spirit to empower me to live for Jesus, both to know and to do His will. And so I pray, Lord, please help me and all of my FAST friend not just to know but also to fulfill your purpose this next year.
Posted by Cristina Bastos on 12/04/17
It is good to remember that I can do nothing, but Jesus does all that is needed, if I allow Him to use me as a tool. My purpose is to be an "ergonomic" tool that the Master uses free and perfectly in the work that He created me to do. For this I need the Spirit living in me, so all the glory is to our Wonderful God!
Posted by Dan Vis on 09/17/17
You are very welcome Liza! Thank you for you inspiring and motivating thoughts...
Posted by Liza W on 09/11/17
More of the Holy Spirit, less of me. More of Jesus, less of me. That God's purpose becomes mine and that in all my thoughts, plans, intents, desires, I am becoming a partaker of the divine nature, through the knowledge of Him who has called me to glory and virtue, that I am surrendering more of myself to be a vessel of use for the Master. Such a challenge because of my brokenness and impurity but such a blessing because of Him who transforms me into a vessel of glory. Blessed again, thank you for sharing this.
Posted by Dan Vis on 09/10/17
Praise God Qing! Your words give such a clear picture of the real meaning of life. :)
Posted by Qing Ling on 09/09/17
the things of this earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace...

Getting to know Jesus as a personal friend, our mission with Him will become clearer to us. And the clearer our purpose in life is, the more effective we will be in our calling in Life.

This memo has inspired me to dig deeper into my relationship with Jesus, so that His Great Commission drives my prayers the way it did the first evangelists.
Posted by Dan Vis on 09/09/17
Great post, Nena, and a great prayer. :) I like your last sentence especially: "this is a search and seeking process , constant learning, continuous practice and prayer". Thanks for sharing!
Posted by Nena on 09/08/17
I want more of the motives of the Holy Spirit to hope that everything can be done according to the will of God. John 7:17-1817 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. 18 He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him. will you always remind me that I am acting to honor myself, or to glorify god? This will keep me praying for this. Philippians 1:9And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;, Psalms 81:10I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it., I think this is a search and seeking process , constant learning, continuous practice and prayer.
Posted by Dan Vis on 09/06/17
I'm sure the Holy Spirit was leading your thoughts down those paths, Elizabeth. God has infinite creativity. I'm sure He will give you some amazing ideas...
Posted by Elizabeth on 09/06/17
Today I have been thinking about the needs around me and how God can use me to bring others to him. Especially in a secular paid workplace where I cannot really witness but the Holy Spirit definitely will empower me. thank you for sharing.
Posted by Dan Vis on 09/06/17
Glad to see everyone enjoyed this week's post. Always an encouragement to hear people find these helpful! :)
Posted by Violeta Buckley on 09/05/17
Very inspiring article. Thanks Dan.
Posted by Floride Leonce on 09/04/17
Hi Dan,

Thank you for this wonderful article. It's very interesting. I usually pray for my relatives and friends tor them to understand and respond to the message of Christ, but I never thought about using Paul's prayer found in those passages. Now I know what to do.

Thanks again and many blessings!


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