Continuing from my last post, the New Testament, especially the words of Jesus, gives us insight into what God’s purpose for our lives is.
Because God is meant to be glorified, we are meant to bring him glory, along with all the nations.
A few words from Jesus that recognize the importance of God being glorified in all of the world include:
“My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.” (Mark 11:17)
“… this Gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14)
“… go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
“As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” (John 20:21)
“… repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name for all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:47)
The task at hand did not change. All the nations still needed to be reached in order that God may be glorified. Jesus himself recognized the importance of this, and he even commanded that we take part in this mission. He even says that the end cannot come until the unreached are reached, until Jesus is spoken throughout all of the world.
The question now is: Why are there so few people doing it?
Here are a few statistics for you to wrap your minds around.
73% of missionaries go to countries that have many Christians and an access to Christianity.
24% of missionaries go to countries that do not have many Christians but do have an access to Christianity.
3% of missionaries go to countries that do not have Christians and do not have access to Christianity either.
This means that the areas that need the most church planting, the most discipling, the most workers for the spread of the Gospel actually have the least amount of missions workers. Only 3% attempt to reach the unreached.
Even sadder is that 87% of the money given by Christians goes to the first group of countries, 12% of the money given by Christians goes to the second group of countries, and 1% of the money given by Christians goes to the last group of countries.
What this basically says is that the unreached have the least amount of missionaries and the least amount of resources being invested towards them.
There are 2.3 billion unreached people. Unless things change, 2.3 billion Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, the unreligious (especially in China), and believers of tribal religions in the 10/40 window will never hear the amazing news of what Jesus has to offer them, how he died for them and how they can have eternal life spent in worship and in perfect unity with God.
Like Paul says in his letter to the Romans, “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’ ” (10:14-15)
Whose responsibility is it- theirs or ours?
I pray that things change. Like God, we should be aiming for a Revelation 7 future:
“… there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people, and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:
‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.’
… ‘they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst… For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’ ” (Rev. 7:9-10,15-17)
Think about what this means for your own life, what God could be calling you to do.
So many say that you should first feel called to go to unreached people groups, but if this is true, then shouldn’t those who aren’t called overseas feel called to stay? How much more this world could change for the glory of God if the body of Christ, the Church, would dedicate itself to such a cause- the salvation of lost souls.
My challenge for you is to figure out what to do now that your purpose in life has been figured out for you.
Donate? Go overseas? Start a Bible study? Strike up conversations?
But whatever you do, remember the power of prayer.
For such a large task at hand, we need to be in tune with our even larger God.
Now go seek and ask.
Why am I here on this earth? What is my purpose in life? These questions echo in so many minds, but the answers vary to such a degree that people still find themselves lost and confused.
If we really are searching for the reason of our creation, the most reasonable thing we could do is ask our Creator, the God Almighty. So I’m asking my readers to read the verses I am going to point out with an open heart. God’s Word was meant to be read and it’s possible that we’ve been skipping over the whole point of the story all along.
Note: most of what I am sharing today is something that I have just recently discovered myself. I am in no way trying to bring forth a new idea and call it mine. I am simply repeating what was taught to me so that others would benefit as I have benefited.
Beginning in Genesis with the creation of man, God first says to mankind, “be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and subdue it.” (1:28)
This was God’s first command. When the fall came, some might think that God’s plan changed and mankind was no longer held to that command. But we see that God’s first words to Noah after he stepped off of the ark were “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” (Genesis 9:1) God’s plan for mankind was still the same.
In Genesis 11, we are told of the Tower of Babel and how “the whole world had one language and a common speech.” (11:1) Mankind began trying to build a tower that would reach the heavens so they could make a name for themselves; “otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole world.” (11:4) At this point in time, mankind was resisting God’s plan. Instead of multiplying and filling the earth, they sought to stick together in one place. But because God is always in control, “the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.” (11:9) God still intended for his plan to be fulfilled.
Later we read that God chooses Abraham and his family to be “a great nation” and he blesses his descendants so that “all peoples on earth will be blessed” through them (Genesis 12:1-3). Isaac gets the same promise passed on to him and then Jacob gets the same promise passed on to him as well.
Even when the Israelites were in slavery in Egypt, God still remembered the covenant he made (Exodus 6:7-8). He used Moses to lead them out of Egypt, and he led not only the Israelites but the Egyptians too! (12:37-38)
In Deuteronomy 2:25, God says that he will “put the terror and fear” of the Israelites “on all the nations under heaven.” Why would God want all the nations to fear the Israelites? Because the Israelites were the chosen people of God and to fear them would be to also fear their God. He was bringing them countless victories against the people who were in the land meant for the Israelites. As each part was overtaken, a fear of the one true God was spreading. And when people are overtaken by a fear of God, worship occurs.
The same occurs with David who was said to be a man after God’s own heart. 1 Chronicles 14:17 says that “David’s fame spread throughout every land, and the Lord made all the nations fear him.” Why would God make the nations fear David? Because David feared God. King David is known for his proclamations and songs about God, many of which are in the book of Psalms, and through these proclamations and songs, glory was given to God so that the nations would fear and worship God as he did.
One such song is found in Psalm 67:
“May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine on us – so that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations. …. may God bless us still so that all the ends of the earth will fear him.” (67:1-2,7)
And then in Psalm 46:
“Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (46:10)
Blessings don’t come to us because we deserve them. Blessings come to us because God wants his glory to be made known! The original commandment, “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth”, still exists because the nations need to know and worship the mighty God!
Israel understood this was their task. In Isaiah 26:17-18, Israel admits that they were not living up to it:
“As a pregnant woman about to give birth writhes and cries out in her pain, so were we in your presence, Lord… we have not brought salvation to the earth, and the people of the world have not come to life.”
God rebukes them for not focusing on their task through the prophet Ezekiel in Ezekiel 5:5-6:
“This is Jerusalem, which I have set in the center of the nations, with countries all around her. Yet in her wickedness she has rebelled against my laws and decrees more than the nations and countries around her.”
God placed them in a perfect place for his glory to be made known and they ended up living for themselves instead, rebelling against God’s laws and their main purpose.
Right before the New Testament begins, we see emphasis on God’s glory being made known in Malachi.
“My name will be great among the nations, from where the sun rises to where it sets. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to me, because my name will be great among the nations.” (1:11)
So now we have seen God’s plan carried through the Old Testament ever since the creation of man. And it answers the original question, “What is my purpose in life?”
Our purpose in life is to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. This means that we are seeking to make disciples and worshipers of God out of all the nations. Yet so many in this current age do not know Him. In fact, there are about 2.3 billion people who are considered unreached right now, meaning they have not heard the news of Jesus and do not even have access to hearing.
So what does this mean for our life then? In my next blog post, we will look at the New Testament and the words of Jesus in order to see how we can accomplish our true purpose as followers of Christ. Because this is such a lengthy subject, I had to split it up in two sections, which only emphasizes how essential it is for our lives. I will also share very shocking statistics and facts about the state of our world that has inspired me and changed my thinking. My hope for you is that you will become more missions-minded, whether that means going overseas and making disciples in the unreached people groups or just praying in your community for the glory of God to be spread through all of the nations.
Whatever your given calling may be, the task remains the same. We are to give God all the glory.
What common task could I start doing as if I were doing it directly for Jesus?
I read this question in The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, and it really stuck out to me because truthfully, there are many things that come to mind concerning that question.
Most of us are familiar with the verse, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” (Colossians 3:23).
But let me ask you, have you ever tried applying this to your life? Be honest with yourself.
You can’t think of many good examples, can you? Believe me, a lot of us can’t.
Below is an excerpt from this book, thoughts on living a life of worship.
“Worship is not a part of your life; it is your life. Worship is not just for church services. We are told to ‘worship him continually’ and to ‘praise him from sunrise to sunset.’ In the Bible people praised God at work, at home, in battle, in jail, and even in bed! Praise should be the first activity when you open your eyes in the morning and the last activity when you close them at night. David said, ‘I will thank the Lord at all times. My mouth will always praise him.’
Every activity can be transformed into an act of worship when you do it for the praise, glory, and pleasure of God…
This is the secret to a lifestyle of worship- doing everything as if you were doing it for Jesus. The Message paraphrase says, ‘Take your everyday, ordinary life- your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life- and place it before God as an offering.’ Work becomes worship when you dedicate it to God and perform it with an awareness of his presence.”
God wants us to work with praise and cheerfulness, as if our everyday living is meant for Him and Him only. Which it should be. When we start to replace our laziness, our bad attitudes, and our grumbling with an eager desire to be in His presence and worship Him with our lives, our outlook and perspective on work and everyday activities will drastically change. Instead of working for money, instead of working for personal satisfaction, instead of working for other peoples’ satisfactions, we need to work for God.
This is something I definitely need to work on and with the power of Christ, I know I’ll be able to find an answer to these questions soon. I need to trade in my life for His and just trust. Trust that our lives of worship are never in vain. We experience our greatest satisfaction when we are fulfilling our purpose of worshiping and loving God with our lives. Worship is not a part of our lives, it is our life.
Continuing from my last post, I am going to point something out in the middle of the book of Exodus. When Moses is brought before Pharoah to ask him to let his people go and worship God in the desert, Pharoah refuses. But there is a small detail easy to miss:
“The Lord said to Moses, ‘When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharoah all the wonders I have given you the power to do. But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go.'” (Exodus 4:21)
Did you catch that? Who hardened Pharaoh’s heart? GOD did.
Now you may be asking, “Why in the world would God purposely harden Pharaoh’s heart when He could just change it instead and avoid all the plagues and devestation Moses is going to perform?” Good question.
Why did God harden Pharaoh’s heart? So His glory and power would be known. True, there were probably easier ways to accomplish the task of freeing the Israelites, but God had bigger plans. God promised deliverance and he chose to fulfill his promise by revealing his strength and power to the max. Miraculous signs occurred and hearts were changed.
How does this apply to you today? Is there someone or something that seems to be standing in the way of freedom and contentment, whether your own or somebody else’s? Instead of becoming discouraged or frustrated with God, trust that He knows what he’s doing. Sometimes God allows things to happen in our lives for a bigger purpose, to reveal His glory and strength.
“Now if we are children, then we are heirs- heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” (Romans 8:17)
“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” (1 Peter 4:12-13)
Galatians 5:25: “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”
Keep in step, it says. Walk at the same pace with God, meaning don’t lag behind or get ahead. But what exactly does this mean? How can we prevent ourselves from lagging behind or getting ahead?
Lagging behind means we aren’t putting enough effort to stay at the same pace. Basically, this means we aren’t putting enough effort to keep up with our relationship with Jesus. If you want to prevent yourself from lagging behind, you have to continuously seek Him and yearn for His guidance. When you stop to tie your shoes in the middle of a jog with friends, you may be left behind and have to put more effort into your step to catch up. This is similar to your walk with Christ. If you stop walking with Christ, or stop to tie your shoes metaphorically speaking, you will lag behind. To regain the distance put between you and where you should be next to Him, you have to step it up. Follow His plan for you, trust in Him, become once again entirely focused on your Creator and Redeemer.
Besides lagging behind, it’s possible to get ahead. As mere humans, we don’t see the big picture that God does. We don’t always know his plans for us, the things he’s going to do in our lives, and the things he’s already doing in the present. Sometimes this may result in losing patience. When you stop trusting God’s perfect timing and plan, you may start deciding your own. You might seek relationships that isn’t part of God’s plan, you might lose sight of God’s goals and purpose for you. You might make decisions without consulting Him, you might try to take shortcuts that will probably only end disastrously anyway. This isn’t what God intended. He wants us to walk in step with Him. He wants us to trust Him.
Take an evaluation right now of where your life is headed. Are you lagging behind or getting ahead? If so, you’re not the only one. Everyday, we must remind ourselves that keeping in step with Christ is the only pace that will bring us peace and contentment, temporarily on this earth and eternally in Heaven. Don’t lose sight of where God wants you to be- right next to Him.
“In light of all this, here’s what I want you to do. While I’m locked up here, a prisoner for the Master, I want youto get out there and walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called you to travel. I don’t want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don’t want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline—not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences.” -Ephesians 4:1-3 (the Message)