Christ in me – Living My Purpose

In wondering about our purpose, we explored the great mystery described in Colossians – Christ in me, the Hope of Glory.  This picks up where that left off.  If you’d like to read it before this one, click here and it will open in a new window.    Jesus announced His ministry by quoting the Prophet Isaiah.  Exploring His announcement focuses us on the purposes that emanate from His life within us.  Isaiah 61:1-5 are our base text.

The Father sent Jesus to those who were crushed to their core—the broken-hearted. Jesus was to wrap them up, heal them and govern these broken ones.  These are the ones who can hear. These are the ones Jesus sought.

Do I seek to find and share Christ in me with the broken?

Jesus then said He was sent to proclaim truths—proclaiming means calling out truth, accosting ‘hearers’ with reality!  The first truth involved freedom for those harnessed to lies.  Jesus came to call out those who could hear to come out of the lies that hold God’s

children captive.  Then Jesus promised light in the darkness the lies created so that  prisoners could leave. Hearing a truth without light to find the way out would be cruel.  Jesus proclaims to those bound to lies, to those imprisoned, that He gives light!  The hearers must seek the Light to find their way.

Is Christ in me confronting the lies of world and showing captives the way to freedom?

Often, those who hear the first messages:  you don’t have to be harnessed to the lies, there is a way out, falter in fear.  Jesus said it was (it is) His purpose to proclaim that MercyNOW is the age of God’s favor.  Fear does not need to keep anyone in darkness…but Jesus also said His purpose involves declaring a day of vengeance.

It is never the purpose of Jesus to deny the reality of God’s anger with sin. In the ‘acceptable year’ in the ‘age of favor,’ is a day of vengeance.  Christ in me proclaims that as clearly as He proclaims the ‘year of favor.’

Am I faithful to the fullness of Jesus Christ’s purposes?

 

Proclaiming the day of vengeance is necessary and beautiful.  Those whose hearts really seek and see God will mourn the devastation of sin just as God does.  Christ’s purpose is to comfort those who mourn—not comfort those who are in distress because of sin.  And Christ’s comfort is what transforms hearts.  The comfort of Christ:

  • provides mourners gleaming crowns of beauty in exchange for the ashes of repentance, for the grief of rejecting God!
  • provides a richness of life to those who mourn the cost of living without God.
  • wraps those who feel obscure and frail with praise for the glory of God.

Does Christ in me have opportunity to give to those who grieve over sin?

All that Jesus does is for an even more beautiful purpose.  Jesus accepted the assignment of Savior so that those who received Him could be known as ‘trees of righteousness planted by God.’  He didn’t do it for His reputation…or to gather glory for Himself.  Jesus never has and never will do things for that purpose.

Jesus’ driving passion—His purpose–is ensuring that God, the Father, receives the glory due Him.  Christ in me seeks the same:  to give and generate glory for God!  Isaiah went on to say that all Christ did was so that we (those who receive Him) will be called ‘trees of righteousness planted by God.’

Jesus purposes for his followers to be strong, magnificent givers of glory to God.  He lives in us for that purpose…to strengthen us and to bear fruit through us.  My purpose—your purpose as a follower of Christ—is to allow Christ in me to fulfill His purpose.  So that more will become ‘trees of righteousness!  Together, we will give glory to God as through us He rebuilds the dried up, wasted and decayed places sin has created.

 

Are you ready to live Christ’s purpose?

It is the purpose you seek!

What is my purpose?

It’s a question many ask…an answer many pursue…and some give up seeking.  The Bible is the guide book that helps us find the answer and live on purpose!

The New Testament tells us that God created good works for us to do (Ephesians 2:10).  The Prophet Jeremiah tells us that God intends good for us in His plans (Jeremiah 29:11). Colossians 1:27 helps us tie those together as we read of a grand mystery described as:

” …Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

Jesus Christ in me is the key to knowing my purpose and living in the light of glory.  It is His life in me that can walk in those good works the Father created for me to do.  It is His life in me that produces the good plans of God spoken of by Jeremiah.  My purpose about the life of Jesus that now pulses in me—and we’ll see that life is about others and the Father!

Jesus knew and lived His purpose.  He came to do the will of the Father.  He came to destroy the work of the enemy that separated the ‘very good creation of humanity’ from the Father.  He came because the Father loved the rebellious creation He made…He loved the ones who rejected Him and found themselves lost.

Announcing his ministry, Jesus quoted the Prophet Isaiah:

 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.   Isaiah 61:1-3.

There are powerful truths fortifying Christ’s announcement of His ministry…powerful truths that remain truth for the life of Christ within me.

The LORD, Jehovah, the Great I am, consecrated Jesus as a messenger of good—fresh, full—tidings to those with a heart ready to receive it.  Christ’s purpose was specific in action and in audience.

Christ’s messages were for those:

  • able to hear – those with a poverty of spirit that comes from broken-ness;
  • those drawn away from the Father;
  • those mourning the loss of that connection.

While salvation is available to ‘whosoever will, not everyone is ready to receive the Word.  Jesus never wasted time forcing His message on those not ready to hear. In announcing His ministry, Jesus explained the Father sent Him out…the word choices imply the Father sowed Him like a seed.  Jesus saw His purpose as being the vessel the Father used to reach out to a lost and dying world.

Christ in me is still on mission.

Are His purposes being realized in your life?

Knowing Christ’s purpose is the key to knowing and living your purpose!

 

Want to know more about those purposes? Check out:  Christ in Me – Living my Purpose.

Blending In or Called Out?

While there’s a cry in every heart to be uniquely valued–to be loved, there’s a competing photo of men standing near each othercry to blend in and not to draw attention to yourself (unless there’s something about yourself you think will give you attention you really want).  High school & college students are a great example…in any gathering of students, hair, make-up and clothes will share many similarities.  Individuality is within tight boundaries.  Where do you think the desire to blend in & not be noticed comes from?

Does it come from God who created each person in a unique way…with unique responsibilities?

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10

Or does it come from the enemy of our souls…the one who hates the handiwork of God?

But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.                         2 Corinthians 11:14

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Let’s go back to Ephesians 2:10 and consider that word ‘masterpiece’ the translators chose.  The Oxford Dictionary gives us a couple insights.  The first is that a masterpiece is something made by an acknowledged master.  Consider the glories of sunrises, sunsets, meadows, oceans and mountains.  The same God who made those made you. The second definition for masterpiece is a  work of outstanding artistry, skill, or workmanship.  Do you think of yourself that way often?

The Church–the Ekklesia –are the called out ones of the world.  We are not meant to blend in!  We are made to be different but we can only find our true identity when we get to know the Master Craftsman.  We can’t know what we are to be like until we know what our Designer is like. The craziness of a society that thinks it can self-select gender is individuality gone far astray.  Our design is only found in the character of the Designer.  Then our uniqueness is a glory to behold–just like a sunset or an ocean!

Blending in is a great danger that lurks in the world we live in.  It is purposeful danger planned by the enemy of our soul.  It is danger designed to keep us from those purposes God created us for.  It is danger that blends in with the world around us and bids us to do the IMG_3689[1]same.

As Christians we’re called to stand out…to not be like the world around us. Just like the Copperhead in the picture, danger is both present and hidden all around us.  What dangers do you welcome into your world?

Satan lays in wait, and we don’t know when he will strike.  We don’t how often God protects us from his poison. This snapshot my son took after God protected him spoke volumes to me.  The Copperhead on the right side of the log could have nailed him…he had just been standing straddle of it moments before this picture.  But God protected him.  This time.  We live in enemy territory.  Learning to watch for him and be alert is our responsibility.  Sometimes we won’t see the enemy even though we think we are being careful…even though we think we know what to look for.  Those times, we must trust in our Deliverer.

But what about the rest of the time?

  • Do your activities honor God?
  • Do your words help others know what God is like?
  • Does your spending point to the things God values?
  • Does your recreation point to the goodness of God or promote the temptations of the world?

Everything we do is a choice. Every choice we make takes us one step closer to who we are becoming.  It is a matter of life and death.

The cost of freedom is responsibility.

Choosing to honor God with every choice is the only wise use of our free will.  The only way to honor Him is to know what pleases Him. Honoring God brings good to us and the world we live in.  When God is in His rightful place in our lives, we find our place in this life. We come to understand His glory and how we are made in that same image of glory.

 

Which cry of the heart will rule your life?

  • The cry to blend in that comes from the enemy who masquerades as good?
  • The cry to be loved that comes from your Creator who made you to stand out?

Dove Notes – Life’s Messy

Welcome to this little dove mini-series!  There are two pieces prior to this, so if you would like to start at the beginning, these links will open in a new page.

Dove Notes – Intro

Dove Note – Do you hear me?

Today, the dove note focuses on ‘Cleaning Up!’ Doves are messy.  Mine live in an outdoor aviary but it still has to be cleaned.  If I was a scientist, I’d find out the chemical composition of dove poo because it has adhesive properties!  Cleaning the perches and the food dishes is a job!

It is an important job  because the health of my doves, myself and my family are at stake.  There are dangerous bacterium carried by birds.  I have to be vigilant in how I clean as well as faithful to clean.  There are great spiritual truths in this dove reality.

TRUTH: LIFE YUCK STICKS TO US & HAS DEADLY PROPERTIES

As Christians, we are in the world even though we are not of the world.  We have been born from above, but we live in a broken, sin-filled world.  Just as Jesus told Peter, we need to let Jesus clean our feet.  It’s not something we can do by trying harder.

Walking in filth gets us dirty.  I don’t clean up my dove cage daily but I do clean up this clay vessel of mine daily–often several times a day.  I simply agree with God that His way is right, and I’ve slipped off the path.  It may be a thought or an action but anything that is not HIS thought or HIS way needs to be released!  God is a righteous God who calls us to be holy as well!  His presence is beautiful and worthy of every effort to honor Him.

Sin is deadly.  Here’s an interesting truth: sin is the only thing we really can give to God that He didn’t give to us.  We are born with a sin nature; we live in a world with sin.  But sin was never God’s desire or gift for us.  Sin damages everyone and everything it touches.  Only God can deal with sin:  He wants us to give it to Him.  It is the work of the enemy; Jesus came to destroy the work of the devil.  When we give Him our sin, we embrace the victory Jesus won on the Cross.   The blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin—if we will release it to Him.  Taking our yuck to God in prayer and asking Him to clean us up protects us and those around us.

My dove cage cleans up with some ‘elbow grease’ and soapy water.  But it’s not our effort or  soap and water that takes care of sin for us.  Nothing but the blood of Jesus washes away our sin!  We need the Word, the written and the Living Word, Jesus Christ–and we need each other.

“But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”  I John 1:7