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I have a question for you – Do you have a sense of purpose and destiny for your life. Many Christians lack purpose. They feel their life is meaningless.
They are on a boat without a rudder and they are being carried every direction and at the same time no where, all at the same time.
It is a serious problem in our society I recently read an article on Breitbart about a survey of young people in Britain aged 16 to 29. The survey found that 89% of young people do not believe their life has a sense of meaning or purpose.
Is this a problem? As we will see shortly, I believe the answer is yes.
Hi my name is Dean Smith and this is the first of two podcasts where I talk about purpose and vision because God has a purpose for your life.
So what happens when Christians or any person does not have a sense of purpose?
The answer is found in Proverbs:
Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, But happy is he who keeps the law.(Proverbs 29:18 NASV)
The Hebrew word for vision is “hazon” and it speaks of sight, both visually what you see and mentally, what you dream.
Variants of the word include the idea of a window, looking outside beyond your walls and seeing a different world. Other variants include the idea of light and illumination.
Basically, vision is revelation, peering beyond the walls of your home through a window and seeing God’s will for your life.
One writer describes vision as being a transition or connector between your present and God’s future for your life. God has a purpose and plan for you.
It could involve ministry. It could involve a career and often it involves both where God places you in a career to have an impact both in the natural and spiritual realm.
A vision describes a purpose that is bigger than you.
We know God has a plan and purpose for believers because of a prophetic word the prophet Jeremiah gave many centuries ago:
11 For I know the plans that I [a]have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.(Jeremiah 29:11 NASV)
God has plans for each of us. He has a future. There is hope.
But the background here is so important to fully understand this verse.
In 586 BC, the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar breached the walls of Jerusalem destroying both the city and the Jewish Temple. Over the next several years, Nebuchadnezzar rounded up as many Jews as he could and hauled them into captivity forcing them to live in a foreign land. It was believed they were less likely to rebel if they were living away from their homes.
The prophet Jeremiah gave this word about a plan, hope and a future to those people who were now living in Babylon. Though, the Jews had been taken into captivity because of their sin, God still had a plan and purpose for their life.
Though God gave this word to all the Jews living in captivity, how many people got off their couch grabbed their vision and went for it.
Well we know one did.
Nehemiah was probably just a boy when Jeremiah gave this prophecy, but God had a purpose and plan for him.
And several years later, after Persia conquered Babylon, Nehemiah ended up as a cup bearer for Artaxerxes, the king of Persia. This was a very special job because Nehemiah was the servant who ate the food before the King consumed it to make sure it wasn’t poisoned.
While serving the King, Nehemiah heard about how bad things were for those Jews who still living in Jerusalem. The walls had been destroyed and the once great city lay in ruins. The people in the city were in despair.
And God gave Nehemiah a vision to see that city restored and its walls rebuilt. Those walls didn’t just build themselves it started with a man with a vision.
Nehemiah had a dream of something that was bigger than he. And he began to plan, take risks as he prepared to fulfill that dream. It took hard work. It involved danger as he had real enemies threatening to kill him.
And here is the critical thing about vision. The verse in proverbs says that without a vision people will dwell carelessly, which is the Hebrew word para.
That word means many things. But primarily it means that people without vision choose the path of least resistance. They avoid challenge and risk.
They want the easy life.
Remember that poll of 16 to 29 year olds I spoke about earlier, that poll also revealed that 51% of those surveyed believed that they were put on earth to be happy. If you want a sure way to make yourself miserable, set your primary goal to be happy.
What makes us happy: it is having a life of purpose and meaning.
Happiness is attached to purpose. It is not the purpose of life.
Because a vision demands direction and sacrifice, fulfilling a dream is never easy. It is hard work and usually the bigger the dream the greater the risk and sacrifice.
And this same Hebrew word “para” translated living carelessly in Proverbs is used in to describe the Jews after Moses had climbed Mt Sinai to receive the ten commandments.
Back at the foot of the mountain, people were talking. They were thinking that Moses had died and finally someone came up with the great idea of building a golden calf and returning to the worship of pagan gods.
It says that night there was a big celebration and the people were ‘para’ unrestrained or living carelessly.
25 Now when Moses saw that the people were unrestrained (for Aaron had not restrained them, to their shame among their enemies)(Exodus 32:25 NASV)
We need to call it what it was — an orgy. This was a fertility cult celebration typical of that time when drinking and every type of sex was on the table.
This is what happens to people who have no personal vision for their lives. They have no self-control staying up all night partying along with everything that comes with that.
We need a sense of purpose to help give us self-control and know this God has a plan and purpose for your life.
So how do we figure out what God’s purpose is for our lives?
Let’s start with your natural gifting.
You probably have never heard of S Truett Cathy, he is a devout Christian and founder of Chick-fil-A, the third largest fast food chain in America. It has gotten a lot of press recently on its stand for traditional marriage.
Cathy had a vision for a restaurant and in 1946, he started the Dwarf House where he developed the idea of a chicken sandwich and a process that could cook chicken as fast as burger joint could fry up a hamburger.
In 1967, he changed the name to Chick-fil-A and the chain started.
In an interview with the Christian Post, former Chick-fil-A VP Steve Robinson recalled what Cathy said about his inauspicious start several decades earlier.
“When I was running the Dwarf House, I had no intention of creating a chicken sandwich. It was a simple idea. That’s why I was able to do it. I certainly had no idea it would spawn a business. And my primary concern is that we’re good stewards of the gifts that God has given me and us.”S Truett Cathy
Notice how he focused on his gifts and tied it with his vision. Cathy took those gifts God had given him and developed a multi-billion dollar business.
I am not saying this will happen to you, but let’s start with what are you good at? What gifts has God given you? What are your natural strengths and abilities?
Secondly God will birth a vision to take advantage of those giftings. Psalm 37:4 tells:
Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart.(Psalm 37:4 NASV)
This verse says that God wants to give us the desires of our heart. God will help you accomplish those desires deep inside you. But I think there is more to this verse than that, because I believe it also implies that God will give us or deposit those desires in our heart. God will plant a vision inside you.
Is there something, a desire, deep inside you that has been there for years but that you haven’t been able to do? Though you haven’t done it, you haven’t been able to shake it either.
You may even be too embarrassed to tell anyone about it.
But for some reason, you have never made it happen. Maybe you were held back by fear.
Remember that survey, I talked about earlier. Well according to the British Newspaper, The Sun, the same survey revealed that 34% of the people surveyed listed anxiety or worry — which are code words for fear — as the single biggest reason why they haven’t stepped out and accomplished their dream.
But maybe there is another problem. In the next video on vision, I will share one of the biggest hindrances to moving out in your vision. It happens when we confuse the tool with the vision.
- Poll: 9 in 10 Young Britons Believe Their Lives Have No Purpose: Breitbart
- Nine in ten young Brits believe their life lacks purpose, according to shocking new study: The Sun
- Lead Image: Credit: Jan Vašek/www.pixabay.com/Used by permission