What Would Love Do?

“Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith.” I Timothy 1:5

One purpose for God’s commandments is to reveal the goodness of God. Then we can know Him better – His character, His values, His behavior. We can learn what is upright, what is holy, what is true, what is good. Not only do we learn the holiness of who God is, but we also learn the holiness we were intended for. All those rules and regulations we read about in the Bible are based on a benevolent God who knows what is best for us and wants us to experience His life. It grieves God to see His children living beneath His intended purpose.

God’s standard of holiness is a high bar. When we live in His ways, it will be well with us. When we live contradictory to His ways, it’s a way that is outside of His life, His design, and His source of help. Anything outside of life brings separation, trouble, and even death. Even the most disciplined can’t reach the high bar of God’s moral standard.

When we come to realize God exists, we usually want to be received by Him and to be loved by Him. As we are aware of His presence in and around us, we often long for intimacy in relationship with Him. However, we also are typically aware of our own imperfections and how we do not deserve His love or His goodness. Christians sometimes struggle with the guilt and shame and fear of our own failures. We all fall short. We often try to clean ourselves up before coming to Him. We may work hard to do the right thing so God will find us pleasing and lovable. We might feel the need to up our performance when we are in need of His help.

However, there is a second purpose for God’s commandments, and that is to reveal the goodness of His love and His grace! God did not make us to be like circus animals that are forced to perform in exchange for a reward or an escape from consequence. God doesn’t whack us in punishment when we make a wrong choice. His grace loves us as we are, accepts us as we are, and empowers us to become more like Him on a life long journey of growth and transformation. God is merciful, longsuffering, and patient with us as we continue our daily surrender to His loving lordship. Love is God’s motive for returning us to Himself and empowering us to live a blessed life through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Application: Read Matthew 22:36-40, Romans 13:9, and Galatians 5:14. Love will not harm someone you love and value, including God. If there is anything in your life that is not pleasing to God, spend time loving God and let His grace bring you to freedom.

Give On and With Purpose

“So let each of you give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.” II Corinthians 9:7

We’re not all that different from God – who would want to receive a gift from someone who didn’t want to give it? Not me! To receive something from someone who didn’t want to let it go would feel like I was taking something that didn’t belong to me.

When we give, purpose is important to God. Purpose in giving means two things to me. The first is giving on purpose. When I purpose to give, I’m giving intentionally and willingly. Paul writes in II Corinthians that our purpose in giving should not be done under compulsion or obligation, but willingly and cheerfully. God cares about our heart’s motive more than the gift itself.

Here is a truth about my gift. God doesn’t depend upon me; I depend upon Him. Does my giving make a difference? Absolutely! However, if the majority of people do not give, God is still able to multiply the amount given by the minority. Any good being done is more about what God can do through me, not what I can do by myself. The real offering when I give is not the amount – it’s the offering of me.

The second meaning in giving and purpose is giving with purpose. God has things He wants to accomplish, but He loves us so much that He wants to include us. When we give with purpose, it isn’t so much about our decision on where to give and what to give and how much to give. It’s more about going to God to find out what He wants to accomplish together with us, and then us being obedient to His leading.

If there is no specific leading from the Holy Spirit, there is plenty of leading from the Word of God. In the Bible, God instructs us to give ten percent to our local church. Even though we know the tithe belongs to God, we’re not “paying” our tithe like we’re paying a bill. We’re giving our tithe because we want God to have the firs and best of what He has provided. We want to take care of His kingdom. God also admonishes us to give in offerings inside and outside of the church to the poor, to missions, to ministries, to building programs, and to the people in our sphere of influence. When we give, let’s give on purpose and with purpose. Let’s give with love for God and people. Let’s give from faith and trust in God. Let’s watch how God takes our gift and multiplies it with His overflowing grace!

Application: Read II Kings 12:4. Think of a time you gave on purpose and with purpose and the blessing that followed. Let’s do it again!

God’s Purpose For Your Life

“We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

God has a purpose, a reason, for your life. One purpose is to know His love, to receive it and to share it. We have a purpose in existing as a child of God in a relationship with our Father. This purpose is also our identity – who we are in Him.

In Psalm 139 we see that God formed us with a unique design. There is no one else like us! Each one of us is special, set apart, and different from anyone else. Science has discovered that no two fingerprints are alike, no two patterns of eyes are the same, and even on a molecular level, our DNA can identify us from the hair or cells we leave behind. We see our unique design in our fingerprints, eyes, and DNA – these things are only indicators of our unique God has made us in personality, talents, creativity, perspective, and understanding. Not only are we different in our makeup, but God also strategizes the specifics of where to place us, how to connect us, when to release us, and how to equip us. We have a purpose in being who we are.

God also gives purpose for our life in giving us something to do. We can find great fulfillment in accomplishing something beneficial to God and to others. With the unique way God made us, He planned on us doing something special with the gifts He gave us. “May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your purpose.” Psalm 20:4

Our purpose is not just about us. Our purpose is a part of God’s greater purpose. Our purpose is also interwoven with the purpose of the people around us, the people who went before us, and the people who will come after us. We share a common purpose, a corporate purpose, in life.

“Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.” II Timothy 1:9

Some of our gifts are obvious, but many are treasures that are waiting to be discovered. As we continue to know God more, we also get to know ourselves more. Our purpose is revealed in the time we spend with God.

Application: When you pray, ask the Lord to reveal more of His purpose – who you are, what you do, and how our purpose entwines with others. Pray about your life, the lives of those connected to yours, and the purpose He has in His kingdom

Is There Not a Cause?

“… Is there not a cause?” I Samuel 17:29

The Philistines were an enemy of Israel, Israel being the people group God chose to reveal Himself to, make covenant with, and bring His Son into the world through. Saul was king over Israel. Goliath was a champion of the Philistine army who challenged any one of the Israelites to a fight. If Goliath won, the nation of Israel would become their servants. If an Israelite won, the Philistines would become servants of Israel. In this one fight, nations were on the line.

Goliath was extremely strong and tall. He had strong armor and destructive weapons. There was not one Israelite that had the confidence to defeat Goliath. The future of the nation of Israel was at stake. David was an underdeveloped teenager who worked as a shepherd for his father. However, David looked beyond his limited ability and put his trust in the Lord. David wanted to fight Goliath.

David’s brother made an accusation of David. He told his brother that his heart was full of pride. David’s question, “Is there not a cause?” was directed at his brother. David was stating his purpose. He wasn’t there because of youthful pride or to watch a battle. David didn’t just see Goliath’s challenge as a defying of Israel, but a defying of the God of Israel. The cause was to fight on behalf of God and his country.

King Saul heard of the youth’s desire to fight the Philistine. David told him of his past shepherding experience where a lion had threatened his father’s sheep, and another time, it was a bear. David talked about how the power of God came on him and helped him to kill the beasts. David assured Saul that the same God would empower him to kill Goliath.

If David lost, Israel would be servants to the Philistines. Saul must have believed that God would anoint David to win because of what was at stake. The two nations watched as the power of the Holy Spirit took a small stone from a shepherd’s pouch and a young shepherd to bring down this giant.

David had a cause. He had a purpose. If we want to accomplish great things for God, we have to know our purpose. If we want to lead others to do big things in God’s kingdom, we have to give them a reason. Know your purpose and accomplish the cause God has for your life.

Application: Is there something God has called you to do, but you feel unqualified to perform the task? Ask God for His anointing to be the power that causes you to do what He has asked you to do.

God Moves On Purpose

“… I have purposed it; I will also do it.” Isaiah 46:11

The purpose is the reason why something is done or why something is created. The purpose can give motivation to the action required to accomplish a matter.

When God acts, He acts with purpose. God doesn’t do anything unless there is a reason. To act otherwise, would be to waste time, energy, and resources. When God has determined what He will do based on a purpose He intends to accomplish, there isn’t anyone or anything that can stop Him.

God said concerning Pharaoh, “For this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.” Romans 9:17 God had purpose, even in opposition.

As human beings, we also can set purpose, but because we are limited, other people or circumstances can bring to a halt to what we purpose to do. We are under the authority of others – a parent, a government, an employer, a teacher, or other leaders, and they could stop us. There could be others who are stronger or larger in number than us. For example, if we are voting for a candidate in an election and the other candidate gets more votes, the person we purposed to elect would not get that opportunity.

However, God is the highest authority. God is stronger than any other power. When God has a purpose and works to accomplish that purpose, no one can stop Him. “For the LORD of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back (Isaiah 14:17)?” Whatever God intends to do in our life, our family, our business, and our ministry; it will be done – not based on us, but based on HIM. “The LORD of hosts has sworn, saying, ‘Surely, as I have thought, so it shall come to pass, and as I have purposed, so it shall stand (Isaiah 14:24).” Even in times of trouble, where we don’t understand why things don’t seem to line up, we can have faith that God will turn it around and accomplish what He desires. “I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You (Job 42:2).” Even when there is opposition, the opposition can be part of His plan, even the ones who put Jesus to death, saying of them, “to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined to be done (Acts 4:28).” God is in control!

Application: Perhaps you are in a situation that seems difficult. It doesn’t mean God desired it or created it. It does mean that we can trust God that He will accomplish His purpose in us no matter what we go through.