Hello there! Thanks for coming by. This write- up is part one of a three-part series discussing practical issues around our purpose as children of God. Purpose is a big theme within the Christian faith, and rightfully so. Understanding that each one of us was created by God for a specific reason is an important foundation for every human being, and indeed, every child of God. It is a truth worth stating at every opportunity – that every human being is created by God to fulfill a specific purpose on the earth. Fulfilling our purpose ultimately brings God pleasure and glory.Continue reading “The Big Picture: Your Purpose through God’s Eyes“
This morning, I read chapter 3 of the biblical book of Genesis as part of my daily devotion. This chapter chronicles the fall of humanity through disobedience to God’s instruction and subsequent eviction from the garden of Eden. I would like to share a few thoughts that came to mind as I meditated on this story this morning. I would suggest you take a few minutes to read the chapter before proceeding even if you are familiar with the story.
Adam and Eve had only “Thou shall not”, but that was the very one they decided that “they shall”. It was the beginning of man’s disposition to do the very thing he has been commanded not to do, the things he knows he ought not to do. We still see this trait in many of our lives today, even in little children, signifying that we all carry a fallen nature. But how did we fall from being God’s royal representative on earth to this corrupted nature we are all born with?
It all started with the tempter’s manipulation – the serpent who drew Eve’s attention to God’s command and then, in an act of rebellion, contradicted God’s statement “You will not surely die” (vs. 4), making God out to be a liar. With her attention now drawn to the fruit, Eve was pushed on by her own desires and became attracted to the forbidden fruit, thinking it “good for food” and “pleasant to the eyes” (vs 6). She also believed the tempter that the fruit would indeed make her wise. What a tragedy!
Guess what? In our battle against iniquity, it’s still the same modus operandi in place today: the tempter draws, our desires push, and before you know it, we’re reeling in the mire of sin (see James 1:13-15). But there were three questions God asked Adam & Eve after the fall, that can help us break the cycle of rebellion against God, and live lives that truly honour our heavenly Father. Let’s check them out.
1. Where are you? (vs. 9)
You cannot sin while standing in God’s presence. You must first depart before entertaining sin. In fact, listening to the tempter only happens when you are not mindful of God’s presence. So if you stay in prayer, and keep your heart full of God’s Word, you have the first barrier to sin. Like the Psalmist said, “Your word have I hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Ps. 119:11)
2. Who told you? (vs. 11)
The voices you listen to, especially the ones you spend much time with and pay attention to, whether in movies, on the internet, on radio or social media, those are the ones that determine your actions and the direction of your life. They automatically instruct your mindset and introduce ideas you may not even be conscious of into your mind. So, whose voice is feeding your thoughts? What are they nurturing within you?
3. What have you done? (vs 13)
There are 3 steps to sin: the tempter draws, our desires push, and then we yield. The first two steps can always happen, but the third step is where we have influence, where we can pause to say: “What am I about to do?” This third question shows God placing responsibility for the fall on human beings, not the tempter. Adam had deflected, blaming Eve (and God), and she too blamed the serpent. But God always holds us responsible!
This is why Jesus came and died a shameful death on the cross, taking the fall for our sins and giving us His untainted victorious life in exchange. If you have not accepted his sacrifice for your sins, you need to do so now, confess Him as Lord and embrace new life in Him. After you accept Christ, the responsible to choose still lies with YOU! God gives us the power to choose through Christ: the power to say “No” to sin and “Yes” to righteousness. We must choose right!
This is where I draw a curtain on my sharing from Genesis 3 today. I hope it blessed you. I would love to hear your thoughts as well…please share in the comments. Stay blessed, and stay victorious!
Into the presence of your heavenly Father – your Lord and Maker
Even though you know you’re not good enough
And are fully convinced you’re terribly short of the mark
Your memory is your judge – kept accurate records of all your wrongs
Your guilt crushes your soul beneath its heavy weight
But God has sent me to remind you: enter in.
He sees you standing at the door, hanging around the corridor
Tentatively. Wishing, but uncertain. Hoping, but afraid
Waiting till you do enough to feel like you have the right
But you are not getting any better at being good, it seems
He says to enter in through the open door. In fact, He says to open up
Because He’s been knocking, waiting to come in and dine with you
To make you His treasured vessel and special dwelling
But you must open up and agree that no price will ever be enough
To pay off your sins and unload all of your guilt
Except the life of the Son, who was the perfect sacrifice
The Son has shed His blood; you can come in on His account
The covering of blood is enough; the price was paid on the cross
Do not despise the cross in pride. Rather, accept the price paid
Once for all on your behalf, and enter in to His presence
It is He who purifies and perfects, empowers and transforms
Only in His presence will you be made whole and fulfil purpose
But first, you must enter in.
We all have a dainty picture of how our lives should pan out, of how all of life should operate. We expect to do good and experience good, to love and be loved, work hard and prosper, build up wealth and enjoy it. We expect that good things should happen to good people, and evil people should reap the work of their hands. And we’re not alone in our thinking. Large portions of the Bible hold and teach the same viewpoint – that it will be well with the righteous, and that the wicked will eventually self-destruct.
But no sooner are we born into the world than we begin to experience the unfairness, instability and imbalance that characterizes this fallen world of ours. The very idea that life can be random and not predictable, that our faith doesn’t guarantee happier lives, or that a relationship with God doesn’t mean we will get all we want, can be discouraging or depressing in our pursuit of purpose. We are all shocked with this reality at some point in our lives and may even begin to question the meaning of life.
This search for meaning is what the book of Ecclesiastes is all about. The writer explores critical themes of our lives and declares with a brutal finality that “All is Vanity!”. He draws from his own experience of pleasure and wisdom and wealth and introspection, and then arrives at the discomfiting truth that all human endeavour and accomplishment ends with a sobering submission – death and return to the dust. Whether rich or poor, powerful or weak, wise or foolish, careful or carefree, all will end up in the grave.
He goes further to examine the static nature of our world through its various encounters with humanity. At its best, the rise and fall of kingdoms and nations mirrors the rise and fall of sea waves. From where things come, there they return. We are rather minute in the grand scale of things, even though we would like to exaggerate our own impact on the earth. Then the writer goes on to strike a final chord, which is for me, the most disconcerting note of all: nothing is guaranteed in life.
The strong does not always win. The smart does not always get wealth. The fastest does not always win. Nothing guaranteed; nothing assured. So, he encourages his readers to enjoy their days and take pleasure in whatever blessings they have received from God: food, family, friendship, wealth – whatever it is they are privileged to have, knowing well that nothing is guaranteed, and that all good gifts come from above. It is somewhat of a contrarian view, asking people to enjoy knowing nothing is assured.
Yet this seemingly conflicting counsel is the hallmark of the book of Ecclesiastes: asking us to give our best in all we do and rejoice in all we have after painting us a picture of gloom. He closes the book in a similar manner, calling the young to remember their God in the days of their youth and asking everyone to fear God “because this is the whole duty of mankind”. It is a call, not to despair, but to hope and trust in God who gives us all things richly to enjoy.
The book of Ecclesiastes is an adventure into realism and invitation to humility, seeing that we will all die and be forgotten someday, and we cannot even control the outcomes of the life we are living. It is an invitation to abandon worry and fear and sorrow, to embrace joy and diligence and faith, not slacking in our daily work but giving our best, not careless in the way we live but honouring God, knowing that we will all give an account of our lives to Him someday and receive appropriate rewards for all we do.