What's the Point?
I have spent my entire adult life trying to figure out how I can improve my passion, skills, knowledge and ability in sharing the gospel with the lost. Most of the time my efforts are met with hardened hearts that aren’t willing to accept the message I am sharing—the precious message that Jesus has paid our debt in full. Being met with opposition and mixed results brought confusion to my heart and overall attitude. I brought the tension I was dealing with to God and asked Him, “Father, am I not doing Your will? Am I not fulfilling my purpose for living this life? Why am I so crushed?”
Through prayer and contemplation I began to ask myself this question: What is my main reason for being? As Christians, what is our main reason for living this life? Sharing the gospel with non-Christians wasn’t quite cutting it for me. What was I missing?
36 For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen.
We, as humans created in the likeness and image of God, come from God and exist by His power. Our purpose, the intention behind our creation, is to bring God glory. That is the chief purpose of our existence. To some, this may seem like an old truth that is far from being a revolutionary, theological teaching. This timeless and revolutionary truth changed everything about my life. Praise God for His teaching and guidance as we earnestly seek His council!
In understanding our main reason for being, there are things we must address and be aware of that can keep us from fulfilling that ultimate purpose. I like to call these areas of obstacles “strongholds of prevention”. It’s so important to be self-aware and through life’s mundane moments. Constant reflection and willingness to be corrected offer the key to fluffing ends.
I love this prayer from David:
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
Asking God to reveal strongholds of prevention in our lives, just like David asked God to point out areas in his life that weren’t pleasing to Him, allows God to point out obstacles in out lives that are robbing Him of His glory. Willingly welcoming God to do as He pleases invites the Holy Spirit into our lives and the process of holiness begins. It’s a defining moment in our lives when we surrender to God’s hand of revelation and refinement. Only through daily diligence and surrender can we honor God to our fullest potential.
In Mark 10 we read about a rich, young ruler. The man comes to Jesus and asks Him what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus answers him with a list of several commandments. The young ruler is quick to say that he obeyed all the commandments that Jesus shared since he was a child. Jesus then said to him with genuine love that there was one thing he hasn’t done. He told the man to go and sell all of his possessions and give the money to the poor, then come and follow Him. Once Jesus said this the young man went away very said, for he very wealthy.
Jesus knew this guy’s heart. He knew what was preventing him from glorifying God to the fullest. Intimacy with God, and complete glorification to God, would not be possible with this one thing in the way. What was it? Money! The young man’s wealth was acting as a stronghold of prevention.
God asks us to surrender strongholds to Him, things in our lives that are actually robbing Him of His glory. Strongholds can take many forms: fear, grudges, marriage, comfort, validation, family, dreams, our past, identity, humanism and pride. This list can continue longer if we wanted it to. Let’s look at a few of these more in depth.
Personal dreams. What if I was to tell you that God never said to dream big? Well, He didn’t. It’s not wrong to dream, but sometimes our dreams of the future become so concrete that we don’t allow God to move in our lives because we are so set in what we are going to do for Him instead of being used by Him. It’s not about our dreams, but God’s dream and God’s glory. In order to be most glorifying to God we must be surrendered in our personal dreams.
Our past. There are things that trip us up from our past, one of those being sin. The guilt of our own failures and the consequences of our decisions can turn into a prison for our potential. Concerning our past, we can fester on mistakes and shortcomings or we can forget it and move on.
12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
Paul tells us to forget the past, look forward, and press on. The Christian faith is a marathon not a sprint. Keep getting back on the horse and pressing on. But, it doesn't end there. We must learn from our mistakes, otherwise we miss the point. Learn and apply, then press on. Getting over our past and focusing on Jesus is key in glorifying Him and fulfilling our reason for being.
Identity. People around the world are suffering from an identity crisis. Over 2016 a lot of things shook the world. Perhaps the biggest thing that rattled people’s lives was the election of Donal Trump as the President of the United States. People across America protested. Individuals were thrown out of their vehicles and beaten because they voted a certain way. Families were split apart and the nation was divided.
With a lack of solid identity we are easily tossed back and forth as circumstances change. God calls us His children through grace and faith in Jesus. By embracing our identity in Christ, as His child, we can have confidence and remain solid through it all—we can stay steady and constant because Jesus is steady and constant. An identity solid in Christ is most glorifying in its purpose.
Humanism. This philosophical belief that the end of all being is the happiness of man has entwined itself into the 21st century church, starting all the way back in the 1850’s when the church was under heavy persecution in Europe. The church tried to adapt to this wave of secular teaching and ended up adopting it and twisting the truth that they were trying to preserve.
The happiness of man as the main reason for being is un-Christian. God didn’t come to make you happy. Happiness is not a primary, it should only ever be seen as a secondary. This isn’t to suggest that happiness and glorifying God are contradictory. On the contrary, we’ll live the happiest, most joy-filled lives when we walk to glorify God in obedience. The happiness of man as the main reason for being is in direct and total contrast to Biblical doctrine, yet it easily finds it’s way into our evangelical terms and Biblical doctrines. It easily disguises itself as a good reason to live.
How often do we seek the fullness of God to use God? We say: “Turn your life over to God so you can go to heaven. Let the Holy Spirit fill your life so you can live with the Fruits of the Spirit. Go to the ends of the earth so the lost can have a chance to hear the gospel and be saved from Hell.” What is this? It is humanism. It is saying follow God for He will do you good. Go to the ends of the earth so God can do good to others and save them too.
This brings us back to our question: What is our reason for being? Our main reason for being is not to see the lost be found. This was revolutionary to my life because I thought that’s what it was all about. My main reason for being is not to share the gospel with others. Our main reason for being is not to be filled full of the Holy Spirit. The only reason for being, the only thing worth living for, is for the glory of God, Everything else must follow behind that central and foundational truth. It’s not that seeking the infilling of the Holy Spirit is wrong. It’s not wrong to share the gospel. But, if we do it for any other reason than to glorify God we are thieves who are living with misguided zeal, diligence and service.
If we live for anything other than the glory of God, even if it may seem good, or purposeful, or selfless, we will be greatly disappointed and miss the whole point of why Jesus even came to earth, all while we think we are doing the right thing.
What happens when we go to the ends of the earth and find out that the lost don’t want to be found? What happens when we find out that entire communities are happy to sin and be lost in sin? Maybe the lost know about heaven but don’t want to go there. Perhaps most of them think they’re already going to heaven, so why do they need a Savior? If we make our main reason for being all about the lost we will be crushed and stunted, for our fulfillment would be determined upon the response of man rather than the character of and unchanging and pure God.
God doesn’t send us to the lost for their sake, He sends us for His own sake. We can be motivated by humanism to go and share the gospel, we can be motivated by the great need of people instead of the glory of God. We need to allow God to overthrow the level of humanism in our hearts. It acts as a stronghold of prevention that is robbing Him of His glory.
Even the wonderful act of repentance can turn into a stronghold of prevention. If we repent, if we go to the cross, just to go to heaven, all we are is people using God because He will do us good and He is our ticket to Heaven. In repentance, our sins are erased for His glory. Come to Jesus and serve Him as long as you live whether you go to hell at the end of it or not because He is worthy. It’s not about what we can get out of God, it’s about what He is going to get out of us.
In order to fulfill our reason for being in glorifying God we must eliminate strongholds of prevention. Eliminating strongholds in our lives is a war—a war that is not won overnight. You will be extremely disappointed if you expect short spiritual battles. Consistently listen to God as the battle goes on and invite other to help in your battle. It’s so worth it.
Today, willingly submit to God’s hand of refinement so you can fulfill your reason for being. Be renewed in body and mind as you welcome the Prince of Peace to reign in your heart. Live for Him in boldness and in assurance knowing that you have found the secret of life: It’s all about Him!