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.
The Purpose Filled LifeBy Dan Vis
May 03, 2021
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 Dan Vis on 05/11/23 - Coach|
|Purpose and prayer go hand in hand. Glad this memo spoke to you Valerie!|
|Posted by Valerie Wise Burrell on 05/11/23 - Coach|
You and Carlota give me a better focus for I need to do what God is calling me to do:pray. He will give me focus and equip me to fulfill His purpose.
|Posted by Dan Vis on 03/28/23 - Coach|
|Yes, that's it exactly Carlota. The more we focus toward our goal, the more that goal comes into focus. And you are also right, once that goal becomes clear, our confidence will grow that God will make a way...|
|Posted by Carlota Belmo on 03/27/23|
|I can start with what I have. Then my purpose would be strengthened and clearer, while the power from the Holy Spirit is increasing more as I pray and work. When God called Moses, he made excuses that he couldn’t do it because of his speech impediment. Genesis 4:12-1312 When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth. 13 And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear. God ask us to trust Him, and He will make a way out of no way.|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 03/21/23 - Coach|
|That's an awesome testimony, and an amazing verse. You comment is very encouraging Lana! Let's keep pressing forward...|
|Posted by Lana Rose on 03/21/23|
|Just what I needed today! I have been figuring out what God's purpose for me is here in our church and community. Gives me lots of food for thought as I pray about reaching out.
Love 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.!
I want my heart perfect toward Him!
|Posted by Dan Vis on 03/16/23 - Coach|
|Praise God Sam. Glad this was a help to you. I definitely see a strong sense of purpose in your life. The Holy Spirit is clearly working in you. Keep pressing on!|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 03/15/23 - Coach|
|Great verse Barbara! I definitely sense a singular focus in your life... :)|
|Posted by Barbara E. LaRose on 03/15/23|
|I want this in my life this year. Ephesians 6:19
And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,
|Posted by Dan Vis on 01/04/23 - Coach|
|Amen Robert! I'm sure God has put this desire in your heart, and He will be faithful to fulfil it as we persevere in seeking Him!|
|Posted by Robert Gonzales on 01/03/23|
|I want more of The Holy Spirit to have Christs character in me. I also want more of The Holy Spirit to be a powerful soul winning tool for Jesus.|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 12/27/22 - Coach|
|Isn't that paradoxical Colette, that we get closer to Jesus by spending time with those who are not close to Him. Very strange, but I suspect it's true.|
|Posted by Daniel on 12/10/22|
|Motive: I seek the Holy Spirit for wisdom. Wisdom to discern the voice of God; Wisdom to discern God's will; Wisdom to know what to speak and when and how; Wisdom for action.
One purpose you have delineated for 2023 is "walk worthy of the Lord" and "the fruits of righteousness" and i think that is fulfilled (or partly) by seeking the fruit of the Spirit - Galatians 5:22-2322 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. ---- one of my goals for 2023.
|Posted by Dan Vis on 12/09/22 - Coach|
|That's a beautiful thought Sam, that the more Spirit-filled we are, the more joy will radiate out. And that will definitely affect our witness. Good post!|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 12/01/22 - Coach|
|Glad this was helpful Deanne! I'm finding myself a bit tired too--so much going on. But like you said, time to redouble our efforts! :)|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 11/29/22 - Coach|
|Praise God if FAST can help in some small way Robert. It really does requires a miracle of God to create the kind of change you are talking about, but fortunately God is in the miracle working business!|
|Posted by Robert Gonzales on 11/29/22|
|I want more of The Holy Spirit to have the character of Jesus. To die to selfishness and have Gods love in me. The FAST school I believe, helps us in seeing more of what Gods purpose is for us .|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 05/09/21 - Coach|
|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 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 05/05/21 - Coach|
|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 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...
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