September 21, 2007

Divine Purpose

If we are searching for our purpose in life, we can look to the teachings in the Christian Scriptures. For example, Jesus taught that the most important commandment is, "... you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength."1 And the most important commandment according to Jesus is a key to understanding our purpose in life. In other words, our most important purpose is to love God with all of our life.
1Mark 12:30. See Jesus quoting Deuteronomy 6:4-5 in Mark 12:28-30 and Matthew 22:36-38.

This all-encompassing love of God is not necessarily a perpetual fuzzy feeling about God, but a devotion that focuses on trust and faithfulness. This love of God includes all of our relationships and activities. For example, Jesus taught that the second most important commandment is, "... you shall love your neighbor as your self."2 And loving our neighbor involves forgiveness,3 ethical living,4 helping needy people,5 and bringing Jesus to every human in the world.6
2See Jesus quoting Leviticus 19:18 in Mark 12:31 and Matthew 22:39.
3See Leviticus 19:18, Matthew 6:12-15.
4See Mark 12:32, Matthew 22:40.
5See Luke 10:25-37.
6See Matthew 28:18-20, Luke 24:46-48, Acts 1:6-8.

When considering our divine purpose in life, we should also understand the first commandments that God spoke to the first humans as written in Genesis 1:28, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth." Here we see that God’s first commandment to humanity was to have children. This does not mean that everybody should rush to impregnation, which is impossible for many people. But everybody should value the importance of parents7 and the divine institution of marriage.8
7Deuteronomy 5:16, Ephesians 6:3.
8See Genesis 2:23-24, Matthew 19:3-9.

For the second commandment to humanity, God told us to fill the earth and subdue it. In other words, God commanded humanity to migrate throughout the earth and to develop technology from nature for our advantage. The commandment for us to subdue the earth does not mean that we are to trash our planet, but we are suppose to use nature for human advantage.

When we look to find our purpose in life, we should also consider God’s design of humanity. For example, Genesis 1:27 says, "So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." This means that the created spirit and mind of humans are a finite representation of the infinite God. And this divine image in humans helps to explain why humans have priority over the rest of creation, as described in Genesis 1:28. And this divine image in humans is part of what allows us to have a parent-child relationship with God, which brings us back to our most important purpose of loving God.

However, there is a problem. The first humans disobeyed and rebelled against God, which caused corruption in the original design of the human spirit. And since then, all humans have inherited a corrupted spirit and have continued to rebel against God.9 But God provided an answer for that problem by sending Jesus to restore us from our corruption and disobedience.10
9See Genesis 3:3:1-24, Roman 5:12.
10See John 3:16.

Believing in Jesus is the first step in restoring the original plan for our parent-child relationship with God. And all true believers have a portion of the Holy Spirit of God living inside of them.11 And it is only by the power of the Holy Spirit within us that we can fully love God with all of heart and soul and mind and strength.
11See John 14:16-17, Acts 1:8, Romans 8:14-16, Ephesians 1:13-14.

The Holy Spirit of God within us gives us greater character. For example, Galatians 5:22-23 says, "... the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control...." Here we see that the Holy Spirit within us helps to develop important character qualities that we need for a successful life. And this spiritual development will progress for our entire life while we continue to trust and devote ourselves to God.

We must remember that the same Spirit who gives us joy also gives us patience, and patience is synonymous with long-suffering. And we need patience because we sometimes suffer, some people more than others. We may hope for a life without suffering and a wise person will try to avoid unnecessary suffering, but our Lord Jesus suffered and all of us will suffer in our learning experiences.12
12See Romans 5:1-4; Hebrews 5:7-10, 12:2-8.

The Holy Spirit of God within us also helps us to fulfill our divine purposes by giving us spiritual gifts. For example, 1 Corinthians 12 says that the Holy Spirit gives some believers a message of wisdom, and others a message of knowledge, and others special faith, and others gifts of healing, and others miraculous powers. Here we see that the Holy Spirit gives gifting such as special wisdom and faith that can help us to succeed in every situation.

We also learn from the teaching about spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12 that God does not give all of the spiritual gifts to lone rangers, but the Spirit of God will disperse all of the spiritual gifts to a group of believers. God did not design us to fulfill all of our purposes by ourselves, and many important accomplishments in life require teamwork.

In sum, we see that our most important purpose is to love God and our second most important purpose is to love humans. And God designed humans to rule the earth while loving God and each other. And God gives His Spirit to live inside believers so we can develop character and gifting that help us to succeed in all that we do.

Many of us have great dreams and goals. This is good because God gives goals and dreams to all of His children.13 We must make sure that we are humble before God and that we allow God to adjust or change our goals.14 We also must be willing to do anything that God asks us to do. We need to be faithful in all of our circumstances if we want God to give us greater responsibilities.15
13See Joel 2:28-29, Acts 2:17-18.
14See James 4:10, 1 Peter 5:6.
15See Matthew 25:14-30.

I pray that the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit will bless all who hear and all who study these teachings.

For additional reading and meditation, see Romans 12:1-21.

Copyright © 2007, 2008 James Edward Goetz

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Updated 1/27/8

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