Whose purpose are we to be filled with? In his fabulous book, Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren opens with the statement, “It is not about you.” If it is not about us, who is it about? What purpose are we to be driven by? What purpose can man identify with?
Arguably, there are three identities that drive a man’s purpose: First, is an identity in the world. The purpose is success professionally, financially and socially as defined by the world. This reflects a man doing his will in his strength. It is called the secular life; Second, is an identity in self. The purpose is busy-ness on the job, in the church, with hobbies and generally busy doing stuff. Often good stuff. This reflects a passion for what a man perceives as God’s will and does in his own strength. This is called the religious life; Finally, there is identity in the Trinity. The purpose is glorifying the triune God. The call is to submit to Christ, often through a wakeup call, embrace the Father’s will and step forward with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. This is called the abundant life.
Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, 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 granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity. – 2Timothy 1:8-9. “according to His own purpose” – Paul’s journey progressed through the three identities. As Saul, he was a Jew’s Jew, a Roman’s Roman, very successful in the world of his day. Later, he proved to be a religious zealot on task to persecute threats to Judaism. “Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest, and asked for letters from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, … he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.” (Acts 9:1-2). On the road to Damascus, he got a wakeup call. The Lord revealed Himself (Acts 9:3-19) and the conversion to Paul took place. The Lord redirected Saul’s religious passion into a personal, passionate and growing relationship with Him. Paul’s submission to Christ turned the focus to “His own purpose” and empowered him for the journey to do God’s will in God’s strength. God’s will for each man is to submit to Him and be a Kingdom influence in family, church and community. The charge is to step forward into the abundant life by His grace and for His glory.
Submission is not a term easily embraced by men and women today. But looking at Jesus’ submission to His Father, Peter’s submission at Pentecost and Paul’s submission in Damascus, a beautiful picture emerges that glorifies God. The secular life and the religious life are done in man’s strength, and glorify man. The abundant life is a call to submit to Jesus the Christ as Savior and Lord, embrace the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and step forward on the journey of doing God’s will in God’s strength.
Prayer guide: Father, thank You for Your word and Your patience with me. I confess I have gotten caught up in the world, embracing the secular life and even the religious life to the glory of self. Forgive me. I do want to live into the purpose-filled, abundant life You call me to. Grant me strength to submit to You in the vein of Peter and Paul, and glorify You where You have me. Help me live into Your will, in Your strength and lead my family spiritually by example. That is the dad You call me to be and that’s the dad my kids need to see. Amen.
A faithful father submits to Christ and lives into the purpose-filled, abundant life.