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There’s this one question that every human being has struggled with at some point or another. And for some people, it’s something that nags at them every day.
It’s that question that keeps popping up in your head and you have no idea how to answer it. So you try to ignore it. And it may go away for a little while, but it somehow keeps coming up. And here it is:
What is my purpose?
Why am I here on this earth? Can I really make a difference? Does my life really matter?
And it’s not just Christians who struggle with these questions. It’s everyone. Only, here in the church, we phrase it a little differently.
What is God’s purpose for my life?
God wants to take every single one of us on a clearly defined spiritual journey. It can be broken down into three steps, and each one of us will find ourselves somewhere in these three right now.
Step 1: Know God
Before anything else, you must come to know God in a personal and vibrant way. You see, Jesus removed the barrier to make this relationship possible, and the Holy Spirit helps you understand who God really is.
If you want to know God, then you need to know the Bible. Because just like we talked about the past three weeks, the Bible is God.
And if you struggle to make the Bible a priority in your life, I encourage you to go on our website and listen to those three messages. Because they will help the Bible come alive in your life.
Step 2: Find Freedom
You’ve already been saved and forgiven through the blood of Jesus. So the next step is not to get right with God, that’s already been done. But now it is time to find freedom from all that stuff holding you back.
We can’t confuse forgiveness with freedom. When you receive Jesus, you receive forgiveness, past, present and future. You also receive the power to obtain freedom from all those things that are holding you back.
Some of them fall off the moment you receive Jesus. But many of them you have to work out with the power of the Holy Spirit working right alongside you.
Step 3: Discover Your Purpose
Once you know God and have stepped into the freedom He provides for you, it’s time to discover your God-given purpose. He has amazing things planned for you.
And that is exactly why you have that feeling that there is something more than just going to work, coming home, eating, sleeping, and doing it all over again.
God has something for you to accomplish in this life. And even your wildest dream wouldn’t compare to what He has for you.
That’s why we are all looking for purpose. Because what’s inside of us knows it’s potential, but it hasn’t quite made it to our mind and we’re not acting on it.
And really, the purpose for your life is not as ambiguous as you think. It’s not some big code that no one will ever crack. It’s actually pretty simple:
The ultimate purpose for your life is to make a difference.
Our culture likes to tell us that life is all about me. If I can get me happy and fulfilled then I will live my best life.
Turns out, this doesn’t work. And the reason it doesn’t work is because life is not about you. It’s about those around you.
John 15:8 NKJV – By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
You see, a tree bears fruit not for its own enjoyment. At least, I’ve never seen an apple tree eating apples. Maybe you have?
But a tree bears fruit for the enjoyment of all those who encounter its presence. And this an exact representation of what living your best life looks like.
In other words, going to church does not make you a Christian. It’s not what you do inside these walls, but outside these walls that makes you a true disciple of Jesus.
And the Father is glorified by this kind of life. And although this is a great reason to live life for others, this isn’t just for God’s benefit. Check this out:
John 15:11 NKJV – These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.
This is God’s nature right here! He gives you a benefit for being obedient when none of us really deserve it.
I mean, really, how much obedience do you think it would take to undo everything you’ve done in your past?
You probably couldn’t even get there, because just as soon as you get close, you’ll do something else that needs to be undone.
But, thank God, we don’t have to undo our past or future mistakes. Jesus took care of that, and now our job is to live our lives for others. And when we do, we will live a life of pure joy.
It’s funny. When you do things for others, you think it is for their benefit. But, turns out, you get a benefit too. And it’s called joy!
Even when things don’t go as planned, our joy will remain. Even when things seem to be falling apart, we will still be full of joy.
But only if we are living our lives in a way that bears fruit for others to enjoy. So, if you’re having a joy problem, the first thing to ask yourself is, “Is my life all about me?”
And if it is, just flip it around and start living your life in a way that makes a difference in other’s lives. It’s not that you think less of yourself, but you just start thinking of yourself less.
And when you connect with this purpose for your life, which is the same purpose God has for all of us, your life becomes more than you could have ever dreamed it could be.
God blesses us so we can be a blessing to others.
When you are on mission and living your life in a way that benefits those around you, God’s blessings start to chase you down.
And here’s what I mean by God’s blessing. It’s when He gives you more than what you need to take care of yourself. More financial provision, more energy, more drive, more passion, more talents, more abilities.
But this comes only when we break away from the “me” culture and start caring about all those around us. Otherwise, these blessings would ruin you and make you more selfish. God knows what He is doing!
Genesis 12:2-3 NKJV – I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.
God blessed Abraham, gave him way more than he needed for himself, so that he would be a blessing to all the families of the earth.
And this same blessing and purpose is on us today! Check this out:
Galatians 3:14 NLT – Through Christ Jesus, God has blessed the Gentiles with the same blessing he promised to Abraham…
This promise wasn’t just for one man thousands of years ago. It is for us today! This same blessing is on you! It’s on me. It’s on this church.
God wants to pour it out. He wants to give you more than enough. He wants to blow you away with the amazing things He can accomplish through you. He’s just waiting for you to let go of the “what about me”.
Let me show you what I am talking about. This scripture was actually not written to the church, but it was written to the pastor of a church. This is the apostle Paul writing instructions to Timothy for his church:
1 Timothy 6:17 NLT – Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment.
In other words, don’t put your hope in money because it will let you down at some point. But, even when you have money, put your hope in God. Because He will ALWAYS provide everything you need.
And did you notice that it said “for our enjoyment”? So, take a deep breath of relief. God does not expect you to live like a nomad and never enjoy anything He gives you. Some of the stuff He gives you is for YOU to enjoy!
You see, there is a belief out that that you are only holy when you are poor. You have to give everything away and maybe even go hungry to fully serve the God that is more than enough and owns the entire universe.
Yeah, that’s a bunch of bull. This kind of life is not godly, because it usually means you live your life in a way where you can’t even take care of yourself.
And, how are you supposed to impact others when all you can do is take care of yourself?
So, God wants you to have things for your enjoyment, BUT, not everything He gives you is for you. Let’s keep reading:
1 Timothy 6:18 NLT – Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others.
And when you do this, the reward is crazy:
1 Timothy 6:19 NLT – By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.
You’re sowing seeds for your future! You’re laying the foundation for the kind of life that most people want but never experience. And you are even storing up treasures in heaven.
Yes, you will experience true life in heaven. But, I believe that God wants you to experience true life here. And it all starts by always being ready to share with others.
It all starts with generosity.
Gallup did a survey several years back that asked the American population how much money they needed to earn each year to be considered rich. The consensus?
Rich = $150,000
But, when you talk to the people who make $150,000 per year, they don’t consider themselves rich. Because they have school bills to pay and all kinds of other expenses that seem to zap it away.
So, they changed the survey and only asked those who make $30-35k per year how much it takes to be rich. And their answer:
Rich = $75,000
Some of you look at that number and think, “That’s not rich! That’s barely getting by!” Yet, to someone, that is rich.
Then they did a survey that asked the people who read Money Magazine how much they need in liquid assets to be considered rich. Their answer:
Rich = $5 million
And even still, these people don’t think that they are rich. So, here’s the bottom line:
Nobody is rich, but everybody knows somebody who is.
So, how do we know who is truly wealthy? Well, here’s the simple truth.
If you make between $40-45k per year of combined household income, meaning even with two incomes combined, you are in the top 1% of the world.
Yet, if I asked you if you thought you were rich, no one would raise their hand. But, if I asked you if you thought you were blessed, many of you would raise your hand.
And you know, this is evident by the things we complain about here in America. Actually, this is a conversation Beth and I have often, “It must be tough to be an American.” Here are some examples:
“Man, the internet sure is slow on this airplane taking me to my Florida vacation.”
And, some of you did this this morning. You went to that room where your clothes live, stared at a pile of clothes and concluded, “I don’t have anything to wear.”
Please know that I am not saying any of this to make you feel guilty. Guilt is not a productive emotion, nor will it motivate you to create permanent change in your life.
Actually, I want you to take the guilt off. Throw it off and never pick it up again.
God doesn’t want us guilty. He wants us responsible.
I’m not and never will try to guilt you into giving to our church. All I am doing is reminding you that you are blessed.
God will always take care of you and He wants to do more in your life and through your life than you could dream of. And all we have to do to live this kind of life is to take the focus off of me.
And the reason we need to remind ourselves of this is because human nature tends to gravitate towards selfishness. Actually, this fact says it all:
The more a person makes, the less they give.
You know why? Because the more money you make, the more tempting it is to put your trust in your wealth instead of in God.
When you make barely enough to get by, your only option is to trust God if you want to survive. There isn’t any wealth to put your trust in.
As soon as you obtain even a little wealth, a war is declared on your mind.
And, if I’m honest, this is often a daily battle for me.
Beth and I lived with barely enough for many years. For 5 years, I drove a car with belts that squealed, a broken air conditioner, and a window that would fall down into the door.
I even cleaned pools out of this 2-door car. I would load the trunk down with bags of salt to where it looked like I was popping a wheelie. But I was just lucky to get up to speed on the highway, much less show off.
And now we are blessed far beyond what I ever could have imagined back in those days. And now God is pulling me into even greater things.
But what’s holding me back is this battle going on in my mind to trust in my wealth instead of trusting in God.
You see, running a business does not guarantee income. At any point, my online course could stop selling. And then what?
At any point, my clients could decide they no longer want my services, or their business could even go under. Then what?
These are the questions that plague my mind. And if I give into it, I’ll get stuck and even go backwards. Because that’s exactly what it looks like to put your trust in wealth instead of in God.
And this is a struggle for all of us.
Maybe you fear losing your job. Or, maybe you fear starting the business that you know you are supposed to start because you don’t want to let go of your trustworthy salary.
But it really doesn’t matter how secure you think your income is. At any point, it could dry up.
Just like the scripture said, wealth is unreliable. It will always let you down. But, put your trust in God, and He will richly supply all you need for your enjoyment.
Because, here’s the deal. No matter how much or how little you have now:
God has more and wants us to have more.
How do I know this? Check out this scripture:
2 Corinthians 9:10 NLT – God will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.
This is what God wants for you. It’s what He wants for me.
He wants to first provide for your needs. Then He wants to move on to step two and increase your resources so that you can produce a great harvest of generosity.
The truth is, there is no end to His provision and there is no cap on how much He can increase your resources. The only one putting the cap on is you.
We just can’t forget what the more is for.
In Jewish tradition, whenever a dad divided his inheritance to his children, the oldest son received what was called a double portion. In other words, he got twice as much as the others.
Deuteronomy 21:17 NIV – He must acknowledge the son … as the firstborn by giving him a double share of all he has.
I used to think this was just the privilege of the firstborn. They were here first, so they win the prize. But, turns out, it was actually for a reason.
Deuteronomy 21:17 NIV – That son is the first sign of his father’s strength. The right (judgement) of the firstborn belongs to him.
The first son is given a double portion to first of all display the father’s strength.
Secondly, the firstborn had a responsibility to make sure the family was taken care of, which is what is meant in this scripture by the ‘right of the firstborn’.
In other words, the firstborn had a responsibility that the other’s didn’t have. If dad died, he was the one to not only carry on his name, but also carry about the purpose of the inheritance by taking care of the family.
This is the exact image we need to keep in mind as God continues to bless us. We’re not blessed because it’s our privilege as Christians. We are not even blessed because we pray a lot or come to church every Sunday.
We are blessed so that we can display the strength of our Father, and to help take care of His children. This is exactly why Jesus gave us these instructions:
Luke 12:48 NLT – …when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.
In other words:
With increased blessing comes increased responsibility.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the thought that your job promotion is just for you. It’s so you can finally get the car you want, or go on more shopping sprees.
But, the more isn’t just for you. It’s for those around you.
This isn’t an attack on your character, and I am not trying to make you feel bad. I am simply reminding us all, myself included, that our culture and human nature is misleading us.
Living all about me will never bring joy! The only thing that brings true joy is when I live my life for others.
Hebrews 12:16 NLT – Make sure that no one is immoral or godless like Esau, who traded his birthright as the firstborn son for a single meal.
Esau was a guy talked about in the Old Testament. He was Isaac’s firstborn son. And one day, he got so hungry that he traded his birthright as the firstborn just to eat a bowl of soup.
It sounds ridiculous, but many of us do this very thing every day. We trade our right as a child of God to get a little something for me. We forfeit a greater blessing because all we care about is “me”.
And again, please don’t waste energy feeling bad about yourself for doing this. We are all fighting this battle. And today is simply a call to arms.
Don’t live like everyone else.
Be one of those people that makes everyone else wonder what you’re up to. Smile all the time, even to those who cut you off with their grocery cart at Sams.
Pay for people’s lunch just because. Let someone borrow your car even when its a bit inconvenient for you. And be one of those weirdos that gives the first part of every paycheck to God.
Because you know what? I am 100% confident that if we all followed the instruction the Bible gives us of giving the first 10% of our income to our church, there would not be one need unmet here at NoLimits.
We would be able to take care of our NoLimits family when needs arise. And the impact we would have on our community, in Mexico, in the Philippines, would be unfathomable.
We can’t even imagine what God wants to do for our church! And the way we get there is to never forget what the more is for. And then all come together and do our part.
Now, some of you may be planning your exit strategy right now so you can leave before we take up another offering. But just relax. We are not taking up another offering.
I just want to encourage those of you who wrestle with giving God the first part of your income. It’s never too late to get started.
God has a next level for you, but He may just be waiting for you to transition your trust away from your paycheck and back to Him.
And one of the best ways to do this is to make your flesh a bit uncomfortable and give God the first 10% of your income.
And here’s something we can’t ever forget:
It’s what’s in your heart that matters most.
Isaiah 58:5 NLT – You humble yourselves by going through the motions of penance, bowing your heads like reeds bending in the wind. You dress in burlap and cover yourselves with ashes. Is this what you call fasting? Do you really think this will please the Lord?
What’s being described here is religion. And if we are not careful, we fall for the same trap.
We show up to church, we give, we lift our hands when the worship leader tells us, but our heart is not in it. We get upset if church didn’t satisfy me and meet my needs.
Sound familiar? Because this is pretty much the American church culture. And it even plagues the city of Owasso.
Let’s keep reading, because we are given the antidote.
Isaiah 58:6-7 NLT – No, this is the kind of fasting I want: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people. Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help.
This is exactly what Jesus told us to do, and He sums it up really nicely:
John 15:12 NLT – Love each other in the same way I have loved you.
In other words, we help others, we give of our time and finances, we help even the people who have hurt us. We do all of these things not as religious duty, but because we want to love like Jesus loves.
Your heart is crying out to be more than just a churchgoer! You want to make a difference, and you want your life to count. And it’s not what you do that satisfies this hunger.
It’s the heart behind what you do that brings fulfillment and joy.
It’s amazing, really. When you commit your life to loving like Jesus loves, giving just becomes a natural response. Loving those who have hurt you is no longer a struggle. All because you know what the more is for.
And look what happens when you live your life this way. This is a continuation of what we were just reading in Isaiah. This is God saying, if you love like Jesus, here is what I will do in response. And there are actually 12 promises listed.
Isaiah 58:8-12 NIV – Then your light will break forth like the dawn (1), and your healing will quickly appear (2); then your righteousness will go before you (3), and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard (4). Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I (5). If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday (6). The Lord will guide you always (7); he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land (8) and will strengthen your frame (9). You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail (10). Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations (11); you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings (12).
God is looking for people who understand what the more is for.
He’s looking for those who will say no to culture and selfishness and commit themselves to a life of generosity. He’s looking for those who will love like Jesus.
And this is something we are all capable of because the power of the Holy Spirit is in you. You just have to make a decision.
Are you going to keep doing what you’ve been doing, or are you going to do things God’s way?
God wants to accomplish amazing things through you. As a matter of fact, you don’t even have the ability to dream up what He has for you.
But the only way any of us will ever see this come to pass, the only way we can truly live limitless life in Jesus is to love like Jesus.