A Pastor's Ponderings: God's Purpose and Plan
Over my four decades in the ministry, one of the most frequently asked questions revolves around the purpose of life and how to recognize the will of God. I always point out one truth first: God made us in His own image, intending for us to spend eternity with Him in heaven. Unfortunately, sin severed that relationship. To accomplish God’s desired reconciliation with His creation, He sent His Son to earth to take upon Himself the form of a man. “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). Humanity’s lost relationship found a means of restoration.
Jesus Christ became a man to be the sacrificial Lamb slain for sin. His life and death recovered all that was lost—from Adam and Eve (in the Garden) throughout eternity. The Bible describes the sheer joy in heaven when one person comes to know the saving grace found only in Jesus Christ. “Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth” (Luke 15:10). With that foundation, consider three indisputable factors:
1. God wills for everyone to come to a saving knowledge of Him. “The Lord … is long longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). God has a purpose and a plan for every person born into the world, and His desire is for all people to spend eternity with Him. Unfortunately, the Bible also mentions “the course of this world,” leading people in the opposite direction. Every life has a specific course that God wants to be followed. No two courses are identical, and each has its rewards and challenges.
2. God created us to have a personal relationship with Him. “Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him” (Isaiah 43:7). Have you ever thought about your life’s direction and course? The Bible has much to say about it. The right course is described as a fight, a war and a race with hindrances and prizes for winning and finishing. The Bible tells of a man named John who finished his course and Paul who finished his course. Paul considered finishing his course more important than life itself.
3. The purpose of life is to please God. “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Revelation 4:11). Those that grasp this last truth are most blessed. God created each person for His pleasure. Those who find out what pleases God find their purpose for being on this big round ball we call earth.
Lastly, consider that all the good guys in the movies always have an archnemesis. This plot comes from the Bible as it contrasts the thief with the Saviour. “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). Jesus lived and died so that we could live the abundant life. The Devil comes to steal your joy and peace by destroying your relationship.
Some of the greatest Christians I have ever met understood that we are in a battle for the souls and minds of humanity. I am not talking about religion but relationship.