The Purpose Filled LifeBy Dan Vis
August 24, 2020
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.
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.
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 PrayersI 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 ExamplesOnce 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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ConclusionTo 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!
CommentsTake 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?
|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 12/03/19|
|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 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 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 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 Dan Vis on 09/17/17|
|You are very welcome Liza! Thank you for you inspiring and motivating thoughts...|
|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 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 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 Laurie Wissink on 09/04/17|
|I really appreciate these Monday Memos! They always get me to thinking and praying! Amen to the message for today!|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 09/04/17|
|Thank you everyone for your kind words, and the inspiration it gives to see your commitment to live purpose-filled lives. I especially appreciated what Leslie wrote about Jesus, and how He is an example for us of commitment to a mission. What a privilege to be able to enter into and share in the very heart of Christ by being colaborers together with Him. It's an exciting thought.
Actually, I don't think we can ever fully know Christ until we do. Without that commitment there will always be aspects of His life that remain mysterious. I suspect this is part of what Paul was hinting at when he talked about "the fellowship of his sufferings" (Philippians 3:10That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;). Exciting thought, isn't it?
|Posted by Lynn Badger on 09/04/17|
|I pray Paul's prayer in Colossians daily for my children. Gives me hope for their future. Thank you for sharing this morning. Felt the Holy Spirit as I was studying your words today.|
|Posted by Noelle Kroneck on 09/04/17|
|I am a homeschooling mom. I want to have clear purpose so I can pass that on to my family, and they will be more prepared to live a life of purpose for Jesus.|
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