Monday, April 18, 2011

SSMT Verse # 8 and My Determined Purpose

SSMT Verse # 8 - Philippians 3:10 (Amplified Version)

The other day I came across an essay that I had written for a fellowship application several years ago.  The essay prompt asked, "What is your life-purpose or life-task? What burning desire has God placed on your heart to do for Him in this life? How does this desire affect you now, and how will it affect you in the future?"  I could hardly believe what I had written in response.  You see, these very questions have plagued me regularly during this last season of my life.  They're what  I daydream about non-stop.  They're what keeps me awake at night.  They're what has caused me to pour my heart and soul out to God every day, begging him to shed some light on my path.  

Yet, somehow in the midst of my doubt and unbelief, I had forgotten that God had answered all of these questions very clearly three years ago.  I first began to wrestle with God over these questions right before I started law school, and I continued to wrestle over them throughout law school.  But, I anesthetized the sense of turmoil these questions created in me by forcing myself to concentrate on the task at hand -- i.e. finishing law school.  When I graduated, I dulled the sense of panic these questions created in me by again focusing on the task at hand -- i.e. passing the bar.  But, after I finished the bar, there was nothing left to distract me from the questions anymore.  Sure, God had blessed me with a wonderful job for the immediate future, but it was/is only a one-year gig.  The reality that my vocational future was only set for one more year created a big question mark over my life.  What am I going to do after that year is up?  That's a question I still don't have the answer to.  Hence the reason I keep pondering the questions that happened to be the subject of the essay I had written three years ago, "What is your life-purpose or life-task? What burning desire has God placed on your heart to do for Him in this life? How does this desire affect you now, and how will it affect you in the future?" 

When I read my essay last week, I couldn't believe that three years ago, God had given me such a clear answer to these questions, and I had forgotten.  Where did I lose my focus along the way?  Or, maybe I just didn't like the answer because it didn't answer my more practical question of Ok, so what am I supposed to do for my JOB?  In truth, I think that when I initially wrote my response to the essay question, it was based mostly on head knowledge.  God had shown me what my life's purpose should be, but it had yet to seep down from my head and take root in my heart.  When I read the words last week, it was as though God said to me, "See, my child, this isn't a new lesson.  I've been teaching it to you and reteaching it to you, but it just took this long for the lesson to take!"  Friends, that's the amazing part of receiving a true Word from God -- it will be true the first time He speaks it, and it will still be true three years later when you've all but forgotten that He said it in the first place.  

Well, I suppose the good news is that it only took me three years - haha!  (Hey - before you judge me, keep in mind that it took the Israelites 40 years to realize they actually did want to take God up on the whole Promised Land idea!  I mean, really, they decided forgo a land with grapes so big it took two grown men to carry them on a pole because they were afraid that their God who had parted the Red Sea and drowned the entire Egyptian army wouldn't be able to handle a bunch of brawny men?  Seriously?!  No judgment here, though, because I have spent the last 3 years of my life doing the exact same thing.)  Anyway, I thought I would share my original response to the essay questions for two reasons: 1) I very much do believe the answer that I wrote all those years ago, and it is finally starting to take root in my heart!; and 2) my own words are what inspired me to choose Philippians 3:10 (AMP) for my SSMT Verse # 8.  

For quite some time, I have wrestled with God over these very questions.  “What is my life-purpose?”  Over and over, I have begged God to reveal to me a clear-cut vision of my purpose.  I have repeatedly prayed Isaiah’s words, “‘Here I am. Send me!’” (Isaiah 6:8b).  Gradually, I have accepted the fact that God might not answer my prayer exactly as I had planned.  He answered me with both a “no” and a “yes.”  God’s “no” came by way of the realization that he would not give me a specific play-by-play of my life.  I realized that God’s immediate plan was to increase my faith.  If God had answered my insistent pleas in the way that I anticipated, if he had said, “Missy, my purpose for you is xyz,” I would have set out to accomplish it on my own, without his help.  Instead, God desires for me to lean on him.  Because I do not have a clear-cut vision of God’s exact purpose, I have been forced to rely on God to be my eyes.  He is leading me one step at a time! 

I also realized that my need to know my “purpose” was founded in selfish motivations.  I wanted to know that my life would be worth something – that I would do great things.  I was focused on my glory, rather than God’s.  God, being the wonderfully gracious God that he is, corrected me through a poignant “yes.”  While he did not reveal to me the future, he opened my eyes to the ultimate and eternal  purpose for my life.  Philippians 3:10 has become my life verse.  I love the Amplified Bible’s translation of it:

“[For my determined purpose] is that I know him, [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death.” 

This verse says it all.  My life’s purpose is that I may know Christ.  There is no other goal. There is no other end.

Nevertheless, God does have a specific purpose for me, and I know that he “will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6, NIV).  I also know that God has created me with unique passions and dreams, and I have not ceased to believe that these dreams have been stirred by the Holy Spirit.  For example, I enjoy studying the law.  My father is an attorney, and even as a child, I loved to hear every detail of his cases.  I love the idea that words and legal constructions can take on a life of their own in the courtroom. To an even higher degree, I love to study the Scriptures.  While man’s laws merely appear to have a living function in society, God’s Word is life.  I will never get over the first chapter of the Gospel of John.  Even if I read it a million times, I will always be dumbfounded by the concept of the Word made flesh.  Before the beginning of time, the words that spoke the universe in to being were and are Jesus!   More than anything, my life’s aspiration has been to study God’s law and man’s law.  My prayer is that God will somehow fuse the two.  Whether it be through making oral arguments, writing bible studies, or simply teaching my children to revere the Scriptures, I am content to wait on the Lord.  For, “I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day” (2 Timothy 1:12, NIV). 

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE this post!!!! YES!!!!! :)