Sunday, 28 May 2017

God’s Purpose

The Lord reminds us so often in scripture and in life that He did not just come to take our sins away but also that we should give our lives to Him and walk in His purposes (not ours) and live according to the Spirit (not the flesh)

I used to work for a Regional Health Authority and in mid-career the Government decided that they needed to be radically restructured. Out of a Department of 75 staff, 69 lost their jobs, including me. This was a strange experience. I worked in Management Development helping people and organisations change the way that they worked however, all of the knowledge and skills that I had to help people in these situations did not really equip me for the feelings of uncertainty and stress I now experienced. We had a young family and a mortgage and so as in most cases, needed an income to carry on. I remember feeling both calm and fearful. Thinking about the future I was at peace knowing that the Lord would not abandon us and things would work out.

On a day to day basis I was wondering what practical steps I should take next. I started to make plans to start my own business and at about the same time an idea took root in me that perhaps the Lord wanted us to become ‘poor’ and face the challenges posed by this situation. The more that I thought about this the more convinced I was in my own heart that this must be in God’s mind. I started to resist this idea and I did not share it with my wife or anyone really and I did not want to seek the Lord about it in case He confirmed my fears. What I actually did was to work harder at trying to build up my business in preparation for when the redundancy took effect in nine months’ time. Things started to come together but I could not shake off this fear.

Source: YouTube
Everything came to a head one day when I went to a meeting in London. Having caught an unexpectedly early train I found myself with two hours to kill and because it was a nice day I went for a stroll in Regents Park. Suddenly as I walked along I became overwhelmed with what I was trying to do. I realised that I was trying to out-manoeuvre the Lord Himself! I was not taking any account of His purpose in my life - I was taking control for myself and as I thought about this I realised what a foolish path I was on. I realised that no matter what they were, God’s purposes were where I wanted/needed to be and a life outside of this was unthinkable. I found a place behind some shrubs that was fairly private, put my bag on the ground, sat on it and wept. As I confessed my foolishness to the Lord something in me broke and He restored my soul. I went on my way to the meeting with a spring in my step knowing that whatever the future held the best place to be was in God’s purpose.

As I was writing this article I thought about the time that Jesus was tempted by Satan at the end of His fast in Luke 4:9-12 ‘Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here. For it is written: He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you, and, In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.  And Jesus answered and said to him, It has been said, You shall not tempt the Lord your God’. In a way the temptations are all about ‘another way of doing things’ – outside of the Father’s purpose for Jesus’s life. It is interesting that Satan quotes that scripture above, but leaving out one point (To keep you in all your way); Psalm 91:9-12 ‘Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone’.

It is this ‘keeping us IN ALL OUR WAYS’ that it is easy to miss - to claim the promises but only when I/we want or need something. Particularly in Western culture we are seduced into thinking of God’s provision like a corner shop; go buy something when we need it. The whole of bible teaching is not like that though, it is the everyday walk that counts:

Joshua 22:5 ‘But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you: to love the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, to keep his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul’

Romans 8:5-6 ‘Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace’

The Lord reminds us so often in scripture and in life that He did not just come to take our sins away but also that we should give our lives to Him and walk in His purposes (not ours) and live according to the Spirit (not the flesh).

One little addition to the story; three years later when I was in fact working for myself and God had blessed us in unexpected ways for which I had never planned, I went back to one of the meeting rooms in the Regional Health Authority and I entered the room I felt anger and resentment build up inside me for what ‘these people’ had done to me three years ago. However this time I had learned my lesson. I struggled with the feelings for 30 minutes and then brought them before the Lord praying forgiveness for everyone involved and that the Lord would seal it up for me. His peace came and I don’t remember thinking about it again. Take a look at Psalm 91 and Romans 8 - go on do your heart good!!

Author: Chris Pearson

May God bless and enrich your life?

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  1. Thank you for this article which challenges us to ask ourselves if we always put God's purpose before our own. It is very easy to go ahead and do things our own way however, even in this chaotic, hectic world we should always make the time to seek God's purpose first. This article is a real blessing, thank you for sharing. God bless

  2. thank you for this honest article , which is full of wisdom and guidance to help us stay focused on that narrow road we are to travel? in the uncertainty of everything you found the best place to be was in Gods purpose and to serve him with all of your heart , you found the value of eternal things as opposed to a worldly mind set? . let us all focus on what really matters and seek to put our lord and saviour Jesus Christ at the centre of our lives . If we all seek his will for our lives his WILL shall surly find us AMEN .

  3. It is so important to keep in mind that we don't exist to do what we want but what God wants. If we truly want to be blessed and be a blessing to others then we have to surrender to His will and way of doing things. This blog is a real encouragement of what can happen when we stop fighting God and accept that He knows best. This article has really blessed me, thank you.

  4. Thank you Brother Chris for taking the time to share your testimony and ALL the Glory to God ALWAYS.
    God help us never to use your provision like a corner shop and to always walk in your purposes for our lives. May our lives ALWAYS bring Glory to you God in the name of Jesus of Nazareth and through the Holy Spirit I pray Amen.