Friday, September 3, 2010

Everything is "On Purpose": Ephesians 4 (Day 4)

Ephesians 4:11-13; 16 (Click here to read all of Ephesians 4)
It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of Christ...

From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.  

So far this tour of Ephesians has been like a treasure hunt, revealing priceless treasures we have in Christ that can easily go overlooked in our day to day lives. We've discussed the gifts of power, life, and love and the obstacles that get in the way of believers accessing and using these gifts.

Today Ephesians 4 brings us to something new.  In reading the text, I find that this treasure is not as obvious to see as the past three, but it's meaning rings loud and clear through the entire passage- from beginning to end.  What I am talking about is the beautiful gift of Purpose.

It's been said that one of the greatest fears of man is to live a worthless and invisible life.  If you ask me, that fear ranks pretty high on my list as well.  At the core of our beings, each one of us is longing for meaning in this life, for something or someone to justify their existence.  We discussed one of the greatest needs of our inner man yesterday: the need for love- and I believe the need for purpose follows closely behind.

Here Paul discusses some specific gifts that God has granted to those in the body of Christ- and other passages in Scripture also expand on these spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:1-12).  But it wasn't really until I dove into this passage that I associated the idea of spiritual gifts with spiritual purpose.

God has given each and every single one of us a unique design, programmed with the greatest gift of all- our purpose.  Within each one of us there is a significant spiritual purpose created as an avenue in which we can take part in drawing closer to God and changing our world. 

This message is so important to me right now because to be honest, I haven't always felt so "purposeful" lately.  I tend to wrap up my significance with the roles I have in life and build my worth on things of this earth- my paycheck, my degrees and education, and my career.  And let me tell you, right now, all of those things are on a standstill for me. 

The beauty of this treasure is that for me, my purpose is far deeper than those temporary things.  God has given me a designated position in the body of Christ, a role intended just for me.  Every day I am called to tap into my spiritual gifts whether it be teaching, hosting, or encouraging those around me.  God wants these things to be my primary focus as part of his Church.  Therein lies my purpose.

You would think that more Christians would be capitalizing on these aspects of their lives, waking up with the high calling and purpose of being God's instruments and doing His work.  Rather, it seems that everything else...all the temporary things...all our "earthly jobs" kick in to high gear and take over on a day to day basis.  

God has given you a purpose.  A spiritual gifting (or maybe even 5 of them).  A high calling.  Don't allow the clutter of your life to hide and conceal the beauty of your role in doing the work of Christ.  Take some time today to really consider the gifts he has given you.  Take inventory of the things that give you purpose and meaning- and exchange them for the things of higher calling. 

If God has given you the gift of encourage - than go encourage others, write a card or a note, say an uplifting word.  Of hospitality?  Then open your home, cook a meal, or make someone feel welcomed.  Of teaching?  Then become active, open your mouth, and share the things you have learned.  Whatever you gift is...your purpose is great. 

Don't have a clue where to begin?  Take some time to take an online spiritual inventory that might help to shed some light on your unique gifts.  But most importantly, bring these things to God in prayer.  Ask the author of your purpose to reveal to you the beautiful gifts he has instilled in you, to open your eyes to His purposes for your life...and then go do something about it. 

Arms Open Wide by Hillsong United

Take my life I lay it down
At the cross where I am found
All I have I give to You oh God

Take my hands and make them clean
Keep my heart in purity
That I may walk in all You have for me

Oh here I stand
Arms open wide
Oh I am Yours
And You are mine

Take my moments and my days
Let each breath that I take
Be ever only for You oh God

My whole life is Yours
I give it all
Surrendered to Your Name
And forever I will pray
Have Your way
Have Your way


  1. Purpose gives direction and reason to life. Yet there are many who struggle in "finding" that purpose, that call God has given them. Sometimes it is hard to see the big picture when we ask: "What is God’s will for my life”. Maybe it is time to start asking “What is God’s will?” Then situation by situation, day by day we can ask Him to equip us accordingly for this purpose.

    Debra, I am so thankful that I stumble upon your blog!!

  2. Maria, I really like the point you make. It's easy to get all tripped up on the big picture of God's will and purpose for our lives rather than simply taking it moment by moment- situation by situation. Thanks for your thoughts! Very insightful.

  3. I totally agree with you Maria, I think that knowing our purpose would not be such an overwhelming thought if we were only concerned about each day or each situation, rather than the big picture. I am sure many of us has more than one gift and might only have that revealed to us if we take it one situation or life experience at a time. Thank you both for you insightful and thought provoking words!


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