For by grace you have
been saved through faith,
and that not of yourselves;
it is the gift of God.
Ephesians 2:8 WEB

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New Life of Beauty and Grace

Two Passionate Purposes

The unbelieving world, plagued with emptiness, loneliness and boredom, ever seeks distraction through selfish pursuit of pleasure or ambition. What a difference a wholesome sense of real purpose brings into any life! Suddenly, one has reasons to live for, a passion to live by, and a destined purpose worthy of great and noble sacrifices. As believers in Jesus we have not one, but two magnificent purposes. Learn how to strap them on, my friend, and you need never be empty, bored, or lonely ever again.

And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets." Matthew 22:37-40 ESV
 

Your Number One Purpose

Winston Churchill led England through its darkest hour to victory over the Nazis during World War II. He was one of the greatest statesmen in history; moreover, he himself believed even as a Gazing Upwards at Heaven : Our Two Passionate Purposesyoung man that he was destined to lead England during a time of great nation peril. England desperately needed him—there was no one else of his stature to be found, no one else who saw the danger and could rally the nation. Did he find his true calling? Did he fulfill his ultimate purpose?

No one can say! No one can judge it. Your true calling and your ultimate purpose are not to be found out there in the world of people, things and events. It lies within the hidden, invisible dimension of your relationship with God, a dimension only the Lord can judge accurately. What can be said is that Churchill discovered and vigorously pursued his secondary calling and purpose which involves our relationship with others. You, too, have the potential of an incredible destiny "out there" in the world of people, but that is not your primary purpose either. You have two purposes, not one, and the primary one is by far the greater one.

Jesus says that the number one command on everyone’s life is to love God with our whole heart, soul, mind and strength. There is not a moment in anyone’s life when this command can be set aside. It is all encompassing, all demanding. Seeking to fulfill whatever it is that this command requires is, therefore, our most important assignment and our highest purpose.

But this isn’t the way we usually think about purpose is it? Of the hundreds of people who have talked with me about their purpose in life, I can think of few, if any, who mentioned this. Most are seeking to discover their gifts and calling so that they can be of service to others. If they know the Lord, it is to be of service to Him. Yet, nothing could be clearer in scripture than that our primary purpose is learning how to love God above all else. It is as if this were hidden in plain sight!

I think that our number one assignment seems so big and so daunting (How do you get a handle on it?) that we set it aside in favor of going after things that are easier to understand. That at least was my strategy as a young Christian. I primarily thought of love as a feeling, but it is extraordinarily difficult to try to sustain any feeling, let alone love. In addition, trying to focus on feeling love for God also got in the way of giving proper focus to all the other things that needing doing. So I switched over to something far easier to understand and measure: trusting and obeying Jesus.
 

The Big Discovery

Years later I made the Big Discovery: Trusting and obeying Jesus is loving God![1]  Not only that, but, boy oh boy, does it require all your heart, soul, mind and strength to keep that on track each moment of the day—just as Jesus said it would! Once I realized this, another, even greater understanding came to me: God is giving out a “Report Card” on how well we are doing fulfilling our primary purpose each and every moment of the day! It is the Peace of Christ.

The peace of Christ is always available to us, but you and I only get to experience it if we are trusting God sufficiently with all He allows and are actually following His lead in what we are doing.[2] There is a peace that comes to us when we trust; there is also a peace that comes to us as we obey. The quality of the peace that we receive is our “score”! By this highly intimate and subtle means of feedback, the Lord is able to lead us into “loving” Him through training us to guard the peace of Christ.[3]

The beautiful thing is how our number one purpose is also our number one passion. Nothing in the entire universe compares with what gets ignited inside of us whenever we have a close encounter with our God. Even so simple a thing as the peace of Christ, so readily available to those who put Him first, ushers us into the joy and freedom of His presence: His peace is a manifestation of His presence; His presence conveys His peace. Jesus lives and rules in our hearts by His peace!
 

Purpose Number Two

Our number two purpose—loving and serving others—grows out of and is sustained by the quality of our primary assignment. In learning to love God by growing in our ability to trust Him, we come into so much grace that we cannot help but want to see the blessing passed on to others. In putting Him first, Jesus satisfies our heart with deeper measures of healing, love and mercy. Inevitably, we want to “satisfy” His Heart by following His lead in serving those who are still lost, hurting, or in need. See mone about that secondary purpose at Ministry to Others.

You will positively love moving in your number two purpose, once you discover it, become equipped to pursue it, and the Lord positions you for maximum effectiveness. Much more could easily be said about all of this, but for now note the order: put trusting and obeying Jesus first. Then you will grow into loving others through serving them for His sake. In this way the passion you will have for your secondary purpose will be fired up and kept on track by your submission to God and your willingness to let the Lord lead you in all things.
 

Two More to Explore

Two Monumental Tasks  When it comes to our problems down here, God has His Hands full. Every individual person needs saving from sin and restoration to the life they were created to live in full fellowship with the Lord. Every world system needs saving from injustice and oppression and restoration to the Lord’s way of running things. Out of this emerges our twin tasks: the Great Commission which is aimed at the spiritual needs of individuals and the “Great Compassion” which is aimed at creating freer, nobler societies.

Two True Testaments  We have been given, not one, but two Testaments of scripture in the Bible. Obviously, we need them both and it would be a mistake to neglect either one. But it would also be a mistake to think that they can be read the same way. We who believe in Jesus have been brought into the new and “better” covenant which the New Testament contains. We read the Old Testament as believers in the New. Put you gospel glasses on, if you want to keep your understanding grounded with a proper perspective.
 

Great Commandment Scriptures

You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord. Leviticus 19:18 ESV

"Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. Deuteronomy 6:4-5 ESV

"And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord, which I am commanding you today for your good? Deuteronomy 10:12-13 ESV

And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets." Matthew 22:37-40 ESV

Jesus answered, "The most important is, 'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." Mark 12:29-31 ESV

And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" He said to him, "What is written in the Law? How do you read it?" And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself." And he said to him, "You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live." Luke 10:25-28 ESV


Scriptures and Foot Notes

[1]  "If you love me, you will keep my commandments…  Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him." John 14:15, 21 ESV
[2]  You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3 ESV
[3]  And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15 ESV