In his book "The Purpose Driven Life," Rick Warren says, "You cannot fulfill God's purposes for your life while focusing on your own plans.” This quote, I believe, is so much deeper than it appears. On the surface it seems obvious, perhaps even trite, that I cannot fulfill God's purposes when I am not focused on them. It's the kind of statement that make you say, "duh".
When you give close consideration to what Warren is saying, you realize that he is actually speaking about the human condition. That the things that are important to us as humans do not align with the things that are important to God. He is saying that left to our own devices, we seek to gratify ourselves rather than fulfill God's plans for our lives. As I look at my own life, how can I argue? I so often find myself looking to meet my own wants and needs before seeking what God wants for me.
Jesus says, in John 10:10, that he came so that we would have life. Not just that we would be breathing, but a life that is full, a life that is great! So what are we do to with the passages of scripture that implore us to give of ourselves? Aren't these in direct conflict with the concept of full life? How can my life be full, when I give of myself consistently?
These types of questions plagued me for years, until I began to put them to the test. When I began serving I saw how I was the one blessed through my service. When I began giving I learned that it truly is better to give than to receive. When I saw God use me in the lives of people, I realized that this is the full life that He offers me. I can honestly say that I have never been more fulfilled in my life than when I am serving Him through the local church. I have learned that using my gifts in the church is fulfilling God's purposes or my life and it is incredible. I'm not perfect, not even close, but with Christ in me I can experience this full life he offers.
God's purposes are so much greater than our own. He asks us to serve, not because He wants something from us, but because he desires something great for us. Am I living for His purposes or focused on gratifying myself?
We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. - Romans 12:6-8
Thank you Lord for having a plan for me and giving me gifts and talents to use for your glory. Help me to focus on living for your purposes rather than my own.