“But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.” - 2 Timothy 4:5
Paul, as he nears the end of his ministry and his life (see vs. 6), is writing to his young protégé, giving him final instructions. Listen to these simple, clear directions he gives on living a life that makes a difference—the life worth living— the God-honoring life. Notice the emphasis on ‘fully’, exhorting Timothy not to fall for the temptation of ‘average or normal’, but to find and connect to his purpose and spend his life fully engaged in that purpose.
The #1 reason most people never achieve their destiny, never live the rich and satisfying life Jesus died to give them, is they don’t know their purpose.
If we don’t know our purpose, we don’t know where to aim, and a life with no aim is aimless, wandering, frustrating and unfruitful. As Billy Graham said, “When you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time!”
Conversely, a life lived with purpose and on purpose is a satisfying life. Ever have a day where you felt you accomplished everything you set out to do, where you felt like you finished something, and the day was worthwhile? When you find God’s purpose and pursue it, your whole life can feel like that!
We can learn a lot about finding and connecting to our God-given purpose from the 4 simple points Paul gives young Timothy in verse 5.
1. Stay focused
“But you should keep a clear mind in every situation…”; (MSG) “…keep your eye on what you’re doing…”. Some versions use the words vigilant, sober, serious. Paul is telling us that connecting to our purpose requires focus, being intentional about connecting to God’s purpose for me every day. Why?
Ever start to work on something; set your mind to do something, and then before you know it you’re distracted, giving your attention to something else? How many times have you determined to set aside some time for reading the Word and prayer and when you sat down to do it, your mind filled up with all these other things that needed your attention? Men are famous for this. We will start on some little project, and before long it has turned into a never-ending black hole!
There’s lots of ‘good things’ clamoring for our time, energy and attention, but what’s the ‘God thing’ He has for you today, this week, this year?
In John 17:4, Jesus tells His Father, “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.” He is about to leave this earth. Slavery still exists, women are still treated like property, Roman soldiers still occupy and oppress Israel, and yet, He has finished the work His Father wanted Him to do. One version says, “I have completed what you set before me.” There were lots of ‘good things’ Jesus could have given his time, energy and attention to, but He had given His focus to the
‘God things’ His Father set before Him. What’s the ‘Kingdom Business’ He wants you to be about? We make this ‘finding my purpose’ stuff so hard, when it really is not hard at all—what is He doing? What is He putting His hands to right in front of you, all around you? Where are you and how can the Kingdom be advanced through you in that place?
It really is that simple—start with yourself and ask, “How can the Kingdom be established in me more firmly today?” Look around at those closest to you and ask, “How can I help the Kingdom come in their lives today?” All you have to do is set your mind on the things of God, open your eyes and ears to see those around you, look at your home, your school, your place of employment. Listen to those with whom you play golf or tennis, go out to eat with, live next door to. Start making eye contact with people as you walk through the grocery store or shop at the mall. Your purpose, your God-given purpose, is waiting right there.
Living with purpose starts with living on purpose—being intentional about being used by God whenever and wherever the opportunity arises!
Then staying focused on it—being like Nehemiah who said, “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down…” (Nehemiah 6:3). Andy Stanley tells the story of a young lady in his congregation who was a successful actress and left acting to have a child. She had a beautiful daughter and she and her husband had adjusted to living on one income so she could be a stay at home mom. Then one day, she got a call offering her a dream role in an upcoming production. It was a ton of money and the chance of a lifetime. She and her husband were unsure of what to do until she was doing her daily Bible reading and read Nehemiah’s statement. It was then that she knew what she was to do. Being there for her daughter was her God purpose and she determined that she was about a great work and could not come down!
Connecting to your God purpose starts today, and everyday, with you at the feet of God, seeking His face, hearing His voice, obeying His Word.
Simply doing what He sets before you today and refusing to be just another ‘average’ or ‘normal’ Christian. Don’t let average or normal distract you. Remember, Paul rebuked the Corinthians Christians for acting like ‘mere men’. (1 Corinthians 3:3). Keep your eye on what you are doing—finding and connecting to your God-given purpose—and you will never be average again!
We'll continue this discussion over the next few weeks.
Check in next Thursday at 1 PM (EST) for the next part of this series.