Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Value of Purpose

<-- Paul / Rembrandt

“My life is being given as an offering to God, and the time has come for me to leave this life. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Tim 4:6-7 (NCV)
Is it worth it? Visionary, purposeful living is not always easy. It not only requires a measure of personal discipline, it also includes real opposition and problems! Is it worth it? In the book of Second Timothy Paul writes knowing he will be executed in a few days - it doesn't seem as if the Lord will intervene this time. That makes a person think about what was really of value in life. As he looked back across the years Paul was able to state three elusive, exciting qualities that had marked his life because of his vision.
An Overcoming Spirit - “I have fought the good fight”
Life is a battle. God’s purpose enables you to overcome. The words Paul uses here have the sense of “I did it!” You can sense the finality and the victory in these words. Vision changes a defeated spirit into a overcoming spirit... a fearful spirit into an overcoming spirit... an angry spirit into an overcoming spirit... a compromising spirit into an overcoming spirit.
Staying Power - “I have finished the race”
Life is a marathon. More people's faith has been defeated by the details of everyday living than by the big battles of life. God’s purpose enables you endure. The key for Paul wasn't being first, it was finishing. For Paul life was not a matter of competition, but of completion! Now there's a simple truth to transform the way you live. We spend so much time trying to beat those around as we dash around everyday that we run out of energy for finishing the race.
Abundant Life - “I have kept the faith”
Life is a gift. It is a wonderful gift, but also a challenging gift. Remember as a child getting a puppy for Christmas or a birthday. Your parents sat you down and said, “Now you have to walk it, train it, feed it.” You might have thought, “This isn't a gift... it's a responsibility!” The word Paul uses for “kept” here relates to the responsibility of a servant left in charge of a household in the absence of his master. Some people are overwhelmed by life and others are overjoyed by life. Having an eye on God’s purpose enables us to enjoy the responsibility of life as a gift from God.
Family Discussion Question: What does life feel more like to you right now: a battle, a marathon or a gift?
Video: Fast Paul

"The purpose of Christianity is not to avoid difficulty, but to produce a character adequate to meet it when it comes. It does not make life easy; rather it tries to make us great enough for life."

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