Showing posts with label Productivity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Productivity. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

What is Purpose?

Purpose is a concept that has intrigued human beings for centuries. This reality is seen in the ancient question, “Why am I here?”

The fact that we exist isn’t enough. We want to know that there is meaning behind our existence. Many people will spend their entire lives searching for that meaning, trying to understand what their purpose in this world is.

If we are going to start this search we need to ask two clarifying questions: “What is purpose and where does purpose come from?”

At its core, purpose provides the meaning to our existence. It is the driving force that gives our lives direction and worth. It helps answer to the question, "Why am I here?"

Some people will tie their purpose their career, while for others, it will be related to their relationships, faith, charity work, or community involvement. Many people want to have a purpose that is greater than themselves.

From a Biblical perspective, purpose is discovered in the reason behind the creation of humankind. This is what we read in Genesis 1:26-28 (CSB),
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, the whole earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.”

So God created man in his own image; he created him in the image of God; he created them male and female.

God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the earth.”

This passage is key to understanding the Bible since it tells us the reason for humankind’s existence: to bear God’s image. The most important idea behind bearing God’s image is that we are to represent Him in the world. I like to say that we are created to demonstrate God’s character. We are to join God in ruling and caring for His good creation. Whatever our purpose is in life is tied to this reality.

If we are going to demonstrate God’s character, then we need to know who God is and what His will for creation is. The Apostle Paul wrote:
For this reason also, since the day we heard this, we haven’t stopped praying for you. We are asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, so that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God. (Colossians 1:9-10, CSB)

Paul’s pray for the Colossians was that God would grant them a knowledge of His will AND spiritual wisdom and understanding. We need to both. The knowledge of God’s will is ultimately a gift from Him. Only He can reveal what His will is for creation and for our lives.

Not only do we need to know God’s will, but we also need to know how to live that will out in our lives. That is what spiritual wisdom and understanding is all about. My definition for wisdom is “the knowledge for living life well in God’s good world.” Again, only God can give us this wisdom and understanding, it is not something that we can discern on our own.

Notice that Paul went on to say that we are to live in a way that is worthy of Jesus, in way that pleases God. In other words, our purpose is found in representing (this brings us back to Genesis 1:26-27) Jesus in how we live (bearing good works) and in spiritual formation (growing in the knowledge of God).

Our purpose isn’t found in our specific work or achievement, rather it is how bear God’s image in the various areas of life. On the one hand this means everyone has the same purpose, but on the other hand it means that our purpose is unique to our situations and experiences.

We can only answer the question, “Why am I here?”, by turning to God. He is our Creator and He created us to bear His image. As we demonstrate God’s character to the world around us we discover the purpose of our lives.

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Living a Quiet Life


1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 (NLT)
Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. Then people who are not believers will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others.

Sometimes, even as Christians, we wonder what practical wisdom the Bible has for our daily lives. Too often we don’t value the Bible enough because it seems outdated in our technologically driven world.

I believe the Bible has much wisdom to offer us in our hectic and busy lives. One example of this is found in an often neglected book, 1 Thessalonians.  The teaching the Apostle Paul wrote 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12, encouraged believers to live a quiet life, mind their own business, and work with their hands. This type of life, according to Paul,  will earn the respect of those who do not share their faith, and they will not have to depend on others.

How does this teaching apply to our lives?

Living a quiet life is not about being silent or isolated from other people. Rather, it is about living in a way that is not characterized by loud and boisterous, drama-causing, or attention-seeking behavior. A quiet life is about being content with what you have rather than constantly scheming to get more. This doesn’t mean that you should not have goals or aspirations, but it does mean that you should pursue them in a way that honors Jesus.

Minding your own business means you don’t stick your nose in other people’s affairs unnecessarily. This doesn’t mean that you should not care about others or help them when they need it. Rather, it means we are not going out of our way to tell people what to do or to judge them harshly for not living up to our standard. Remember, Jesus taught that you need to deal with the log in your eye before helping your neighbor with the speak in their eye. Instead, you should concentrate on becoming the person God created you to be.

Working with your hands is about being productive and contributing to society. It is about using your skills and talents to create something of value, whether it is a product, a service, or a piece of art. By working with your hands, you can take pride in what you do and provide for yourself and your family. The other benefit of being productive is that it allows you to be generous. The number one way you can join in the God is doing is through your giving.

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 also emphasizes the importance of earning the respect of those who are not believers. As Christians, we are called to be ambassadors for Christ, and our actions and attitudes should demonstrate his character of love, grace, and truth. By living a quiet life, minding our own business, and working with our hands, we are able to demonstrate the qualities of diligence, honesty, and integrity that are valued by people of all faiths and backgrounds. We can also show them, that in spite of our differences, God still loves them.

When we earn the respect of non-believers, we are able to create opportunities to share the gospel with them. When people see that our faith is not just a set of beliefs, but a way of life that makes life better, they may be more open to hearing about our relationship with Jesus. As the Apostle Peter wrote in 1 Peter 3:15, "Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it." (NLT)

Finally, 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 emphasizes the importance of self-sufficiency. By living a quiet life, minding our own business, and working with our hands, we can avoid becoming dependent on others for our basic needs. This does not mean that we should never ask for help or accept assistance when it is offered. What it does mean is that we want to be generous and compassionate to others rathe than being a burden others unnecessarily.

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 offers valuable wisdom for life in an hectic and busy world. This wisdom will help us live a life that is pleasing to God and beneficial to others. By living a quiet life, minding our own business, and working with our hands, we can live a life that is respected by all people, regardless of their faith background. We can also earn the respect of those who do not share our faith, and create opportunities to share the gospel with them. Finally, we can avoid becoming dependent on others for our basic needs, and strive to be people are generous and compassionate with the blessings God has given to us.

Prophetic Revelation and the Gospel

  1 Peter 1:10-12 (CSB) Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who prophesied about the grace that would come to you, searched and careful...