purpose

“God’s Purpose in the Storm” by Dr. Charles Stanley

Believers have a choice about how they will respond to life’s “storms.” Either they can cast blame while becoming resentful and bitter, or they can turn to the Lord and ask, “What is Your purpose?”

Since recognizing God’s purpose and plan is the way that faith grows, Christians have the right to ask “why?” Like a child learning new concepts, we see that when x happens, God does y, just as He promised. If we could choose the number of difficulties we want to face in a month, most of us would pick zero. Yet, God sees value in difficult times.

For instance, in the Old Testament, King David made destructively wrong choices for which God allowed cleansing storms into his life. The leader of the nation had wandered off the right path, but painful experiences drove him back to the center of the Lord’s will. We might consider the divine method cruel, but David would disagree. He wrote, “Before I was afflicted, I went astray, but now I keep Your word. . . . It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes” (Ps. 119:67, 71).

When a storm rages into our life, the Lord is already planning how to turn destruction into good. Just like David, we need to seek His objective and learn to work with Him to achieve it. We must believe that “in all things God works for the good of those who love Him” (Rom. 8:28). The promise of that verse is that we will reap blessings from our losses. Through the Lord’s mighty power, He uses trials to accomplish His plans–to grow us from children into mature disciples of Jesus Christ.

1. One purpose God has for us is a growing intimacy in our relationship with Him. But He knows we struggle to put Him first over our interests. Many of us place higher priority on family and friends than on companionship with God. For others, finances, work, or even personal pleasures interfere. When the Lord sees that our attention is drifting away from Him, He might use hardships to draw us back so we’ll refocus.

2. Another reason God allows difficulties is to conform us to the image of Jesus. Pain is a tool that brings areas of ungodliness to the surface. God also uses it to sift, shape, and prune us. The sanctification process, the building of Christlike character into our lives, starts at salvation and ends with our last breath.

3. A third purpose for stressful circumstances is to reveal true convictions. Our faith is tested in tough times. It’s easy to say, “God is good,” when life is peaceful. But when everything goes wrong, what do we believe about Him? Do our words and actions reveal an attitude of trust?

King David endured much heartache: a disintegrating family, personal attacks, and betrayal by close friends. But through his trials, he gained deeper intimacy with God, stronger faith, and more godly character. Won’t you let God accomplish His purposes in your present situation?

Returning believers to right fellowship is only one of God’s purposes for a season of trials. Some difficulties are meant to blow away all distractions so we can focus our attention on the Lord. Other “storms” break our worldly mold so that we can be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. Our personal pleasure is not the top priority. God’s primary concern is to shape a wise and obedient follower who loves Him.

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Iron Sharpens Iron: Encouraging You To Find Your Lifes’ Purpose

 

If finding your life purpose seems like an elusive undertaking, don’t panic! You are not alone. In this devotional by Karen Wolff of Christian-Books-for-Women.com you’ll find reassurance and practical support for finding and knowing your life purpose.

What’s Your Life Purpose?

While it’s true some people seem to find their life purpose easier than others, it’s also true that God really does have a plan for every single person, even if it takes a while to see what it is.Most people think finding your life purpose means doing something you truly love. It’s an area that just seems natural to you and things just seem to fall into place. But what if things aren’t so clear for you? What if you’re not sure what your gifts are? What if you haven’t discovered any particular talent that makes you think it could be your true calling in life? Or what if you’re working somewhere and you’re good at it, but you just don’t feel fulfilled? Is this all there is for you?

Don’t panic. You’re not alone. There are lots of people in the same boat. Take a look at the disciples. Now, there’s a diverse group. Before Jesus came on the scene, they were fishermen, tax collectors, farmers, etc. They must have been good at what they were doing because they were feeding their families and making a living.

But then they met Jesus, and their true calling came into focus very quickly. What the disciples didn’t know is that God wanted them to be happy—even more than they did. And following God’s plan for their lives made them happy inside, where it really matters. What a concept, huh?

Do you suppose it could be true for you too? That God wants you to be truly happy and fulfilled even more than you do?

Your Next Step

The next step in finding your life purpose is right in the Book. All you have to do is read it. The Bible says Jesus told his disciples they were supposed to love one another as he loved them. And he wasn’t kidding. Getting really good at this part of the process is like building the basement of your house.You wouldn’t dream of moving forward without a rock solid foundation. Discovering God’s purpose for your life is exactly the same. The foundation of the process means getting really good at being a Christian. Yup, that means being nice to people even when you don’t feel like it, forgiving people, and oh yes, loving the unlovable people in the world.

So, what does all that stuff have to do with what I’m supposed to be when I grow up? Everything. When you get good at being a Christian, you also get good at hearing from God. He’s able to use you. He’s able to work through you. And it’s through that process that you’ll discover your true purpose in life.

But What About Me and My Life?

So if you get really great at being a Christian, or at least you think you are, and you still haven’t found that true purpose—then what?Getting really good at being a Christian means you stop thinking about you all the time. Take the focus off you and look for ways to be a blessing to someone else.

There is no better way to receive help and direction in your own life than to focus on someone else. It seems completely opposite of what the world tells you. After all, if you’re not looking out for yourself, then who will? Well—that would be God.

When you focus on someone else’s business, God will focus on yours. It means planting seeds in great soil, and then simply waiting for God to bring a harvest into your life. And in the meantime …

Step Out and Try It

Working with God to find your life purpose means working as a team. When you take a step, God takes a step.

  • Be willing to try some things that interest you. You will know very quickly if you’ve found the right thing for you. Doors will either open or slam shut. Either way, you’ll know where you stand. 
  • Be Patient. Wanting to know everything right this second is pretty common these days. Learning to trust that God will show you when He’s ready—now that takes patience. God isn’t going to show you every piece of the puzzle all at once. If he did, you’d get that “deer in the headlights” look, because you’d be so overwhelmed by it all. Not to mention you’d be overly tempted to come up with a back-up plan “just in case” things didn’t work out. 
  • Don’t waste your time on things you know aren’t from God. “Get rich quick” schemes never work. Finding a Christian husband or wife won’t happen if you’re focused on activities and events that don’t involve Christians. And participating in things you know are wrong—well, you’re simply prolonging your answers. 
  • Don’t let the people around you talk you into things. Just because it all sounds like a good idea from the world’s view doesn’t mean it’s God’s plan for you. Following God’s leading sometimes means you have to say no to many well-meaning family members or friends. It comes down to the decision to follow, no matter where it leads. 
  • Lastly, don’t ever give up. You may not know your specific purpose today or tomorrow, but as long as you’re really great at being a Christian, and your heart is open, you will find God and he will find you.

Karen Wolff, a guest writer for About.com, is host to a Christian Web site for women. As founder of Christian-Books-for-Women.com, she wants to provide Christian women with a place to find practical information, tips, and help with a variety of issues they face every day.