The Gift of Surrender to God's Purpose

Bible Book: Selected Passages 
Subject: Purpose; Meaning in Life; God's Will; Vision for Living
Introduction

"Present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your member as instruments of righteousness to God."(TEV) "Give yourselves to God...surrender your whole being to Him to be used for righteous purposes." Colossians 1:16, "For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him."(MSG)

"For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible ... everything got started in Him and finds its purpose in Him."

The purpose of your life is far greater than our own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. It's far greater than your family, your career, or even your wildest dreams and ambitions. If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by His purpose and for His purpose. The search for the purpose of life has puzzled people for thousands of years. That's because we typically begin at the wrong starting point - ourselves. We ask self-centered questions like: What do I want to be? What should I do with my life? What are my goals, my ambitions, my dreams for my future?

Focusing on ourselves will never reveal our life's purpose. Job 12:10, "In whose hand is the life of every living thing..."You won't discover your life's meaning by looking within yourself. Reason, you didn't create yourself, therefore, there is no way you can tell yourself what you were created for.

Example: If I handed you an invitation you had never seen before, you wouldn't know its purpose and the invitation itself wouldn't be able to tell you either. Only the creator or the owner's manual could reveal its purpose.

Atheist, Bertrand Russell, "Unless you assume a God, the question of life's purpose is  meaningless." You must begin with God, your Creator. You exist only because God wills that you exist. You were made by God and for God and until you understand that, life will never make sense. It is only in God that we discover our origin, our identity, our meaning, our purpose, our significance, and our destiny.

Major Problem: Many people try to use God for their own self-actualization, but that is a reversal of nature and is doomed to failure. You were made for God, not vice-versa, and life is about letting God use you for His purposes, not your using Him for your own purpose. Romans 8:6, "For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." This verse serves as a simple spiritual equation. The person with the mind set on the flesh is spiritually dead. The person with his mind set on the things of the Spirit is very much spiritually alive and at peace with God.

(MGS), "Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life."

There are two ways to approach God's purpose for your life:

I. Speculation

Consider your dreams, clarify your values, set some goals, be disciplined, achieve your goals, involve others, never give up. These may lead to great success. But being successful and fulfilling your life's purposes are not at all the same thing. You could reach all your personal goals, becoming a raving success by the world's standard, and still miss the purposes for which God created you.

Dr. Hugh Moorehead, a philosophy professor at Northeastern Illinois University, once wrote to 250 of the best-known philosophers, scientists, writers, and intellectuals in the world asking them, "What is the meaning of life?" He then published their responses in a book. Some offered their best guesses, some admitted that they just made up a purpose for life, and others were honest enough to say they were clueless. In fact, a number of famous intellectuals asked Professor Moorehead to write back and tell them if he discovered the purpose of life.

Matthew 16:24-26, "Then Jesus said to His disciples, 'If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?'"

Jesus moves us from self-helps to self-sacrifice. There is an alternative to speculation about the meaning and purpose of life.

II. Revelation

It's Revelation. We can turn to what God has revealed about life in His Word. The easiest way to discover the purpose of an invention is to ask the creator of it. Ask God. He has clearly revealed it in our "owner's manual", explaining why we are alive, how life works, what to avoid, and what to expect in the future.

Ephesians 1:11, "In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will."(MGS) "It's in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, He had His eyes on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose He is working out in everything and everyone." God is not just the starting point of your life; He is the source of it.3

Truths:

1. You discover your purpose through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
2. God was thinking of you long before you ever thought about Him.

He planned His purpose for you before you existed. You may choose your career, your spouse, your hobbies, and many other parts of your life, but you don't get to choose your purpose.

3. The purpose of your life is designed for eternity.

Back to The Gift of Surrender to God's Purpose:

Today, the average life span is 25,550 days (70 years). I have lived 18, 370 of my days (50 years/4 months).

I have served FBCW for 5,840 days (16 years.) Since Ecclesiastes 3:11 teaches that "God has put eternity in their hearts..." God has made us for His eternal purpose.

You have an inborn instinct that longs for immortality. This is because God designed you, in His image, to live for eternity. Even though we know everyone eventually dies, death always seems unnatural and unfair. The reason we feel we should live forever is that God wired our brains with that desire. One day your heart will stop beating. That will be the end of your body and your time on earth, but it will not be the end of you. 2 Corinthians 5:1, "For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." While life on earth offers many choices, eternity offers only two: heaven or hell. Your relationship to God on earth will determine your relationship to Him in eternity.

We read that C.S. Lewis said, "There are two kinds of people: those who say to God 'Thy will be done' and those to whom God says, 'All right then, have it your way.’“ Tragically, many people will have to endure eternity without God because they chose to live without Him here on earth." When you fully comprehend that there is more to life than just here and now, and you realize that life is just preparation for eternity, you will begin to live differently. You will start living in light of eternity, and that will color how you handle every relationship, task, and circumstance.

You will see death is not a termination, but a transition. The most damaging aspect of contemporary living is short-term thinking. Surely C.S. Lewis captured the concept of eternity on the last page of the Chronicles of Narnia, his seven-book children's fiction series. "For us this is the end of all the stories...but for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world...had only been the cover and the title page. Now, at last, they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story, which no one on earth has read, which goes on forever and in which every chapter is better than the one before."

God has a purpose for your life on earth, but it doesn't end here. His plan involves far more than the few decades you will spend on this planet. It's more than "the opportunity of a lifetime;" God offers you an opportunity beyond your lifetime.

Psalm 33:11, "The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations." (TEV) "God's plans endure forever; His purposes last eternally." Rather than death

being the end of your life, it will be your birthday into eternal life. Hebrews 13:14 (LB) "This world is not our home; we are looking forward to our everlasting home in heaven." Measured against eternity, our time on earth is just a blink of the eye, but the consequences of it will last forever. Matthew Henry said, "It ought to be the business of every day to prepare for our final day."

Greatest Truth About Life And Eternity: In order to keep us from becoming too attached to earth, God allows us to feel a significant amount of discontent and dissatisfaction in life-longings that will never be fulfilled on this side of eternity. We're not completely happy here because we're not supposed to be! Earth is not our final home; we were created for something much better.

Think about the theme: The Gift of Surrender to God's Purpose

It's the Christmas Season: The gifts we give and receive speak of relationships cherished. In light of all God has done in Jesus Christ, what can I give Him? Surrender! To His purpose for your life.

Great Truth: God did not need to create you, but He chose you for His own enjoyment. You exist for His benefit, His glory, His purpose, and His delight. Bringing enjoyment to God, living for His pleasure, is the first purpose of your life. Surrender is an unpopular word. However, in the Christian context, it is best demonstrated in obedience and trust.

Again, C.S. Lewis observed, "The more we let God take us over, the more truly ourselves we become, because He made us. He invented all the different people that you and I were intended to be. It is when I turn to Christ, when I give up myself to His personality, that I first begin to have a real personality of my own."