What matters most begins with deciding whether Christ will be your Master, your Lord. Then second, learning what mission, what purpose, Christ has for your life. Then, who you choose as your mate or who you choose to fellowship with should line up with the first two.
In the apostle Paul’s second letter to Timothy, he charged Timothy to fulfill God’s purpose for him in Christ Jesus. We can fulfill God’s purpose for us in Christ Jesus.
Below is an automated transcript of this messageAnd a “Good Morning!” to those of you that are watching us from home or from wherever you are. We’re happy to be here this morning with you and to see your faces in person. Congratulations, graduates! We appreciate our youth director, Stephen Winslow, for trying to figure out how to do social distancing while interviewing people. How do you give them a gift at the end and still keep them six feet apart? I mean, my goodness, normally we would just put everybody on stage and walk along the line and talk to them. But, we’re trying to do new things. Everything we attempt to do takes more creativity than it’s ever taken before. But, you know, what we said was, we want to make sure our graduates get honored. 2020; what a great year. I graduated in 1976 and that was called the Bicentennial, and we had a little liberty bell on our hats. That year was really year was really special to us.
I can only imagine how 2020 must feel to you that are graduating. A lot of us may think that we will be glad when 2020 is over, but this year, you will never forget, and so we honor you graduates. Thanks for being here.
Today we are in a series called, “What Really Matters?” I think it’s a really appropriate question to be asking of our graduates right now and for you to ask yourselves. What really matters in life? What makes a difference and to really lay a foundation for what really matters? We have started asking this question because everything has gotten stripped away.
If you didn’t get to finish your last semester at school, you did it online. It was not the way you expected to finish. Maybe you didn’t get to play the sport that you normally play. If you’re working, maybe you ended up staying at home. Maybe you lost your job . Maybe you were a private business owner and you were unable to reopen your business. All of us have been through a season where a lot of stuff has been stripped away. And so, as we reopen America, who could have believed we ever would have closed it? As we reopen it, how can we thoughtfully put that which really matters back in our lives? Do we just put everything back or do we carefully, thoughtfully, put each thing back? You know, this is giving us an opportunity to think and to focus on what really matters.
Last week, we began this series and we said, “You know, what really matters is our faith in Christ. That is what matters most. Faith matters.” We started there. So, where do we proceed? We’ve entitled today’s message, “Purpose Matters.” What’s your life purpose?
In the Book of Philippians, we find our theme verse. It says, Philippians 1:10 (NLT) “For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return.” Paul said to the church at Philippi that he was praying that you would live a life with an awareness and understanding of what really matters.
And now, when I have given a talk like this before, especially to young people who have just graduated from high school, I often give them “ The Three M” talk. Some of you older people have heard me for years; I’ve been at this for 28 years. You know that here comes “The Three M” talk. What’s “The Three M” talk? It’s only going to take me about three seconds.
Here’s the first “M”; who is your master? Who will be your master? That’s the first foundational decision. Are you going to be the master of your own ship, the captain of your own ship, or are you going to make Jesus, your Master?
Here’s the second “M”; what shall be your mission ? If He’s your Master, He’ll give you the mission.
Here’s the third “M”; who are you going to spend your life doing the mission by which you have been called? Who’s going to be your mate? Who is going to be your spouse if the Lord calls you to have a spouse? Some of the singles are thinking right now, “I really hope He does.” Who are you going to run with; who are your “mates?”
I’m convinced that if you get the master right, He gives you the mission and the people you’re supposed to spend your life with. You will be in alignment; master, mission and mate. So, that’s my “Three M’s” talk; everyone can now go home. It was a good service, wasn’t it? Mission and purpose are kind of intertwined.
When I was picking this particular sermon in this series, I thought, I want to talk about purpose on the day that we honor graduates, because I remember being you and I remember what I did. I’m so proud of you that when you stood up with a microphone in your face, you said amazing things such as “I’m going to double major in Psychology and Political Science. I can’t remember which one of you said what.
Nobody stuck a microphone in front of me on my graduation. I just had uncles, aunts and friends of the family asking me, “What are you majoring in in college?” I would tell them, “undecided.” I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do and what I wanted to be. I was afraid to be “undecided,” plus, I had people in my life telling me stuff like, “Well, that’s not practical. You need a fallback.” When I went to school, “undecided,” I didn’t even know why I was in school. May I say to you that might be okay as long as you’re pursuing Jesus. He’ll tell you what your mission is, so relax . Relax, if you’re following Him.
Here’s what Paul is saying to Timothy as it comes across the centuries to us; we can hear it, too. Paul is saying to Timothy, your purpose matters; what God’s called you to matters. What we can hear today is the same thing.
We’re gonna be looking at the Book of 2 Timothy. This is the last writing of Paul before he was called home. He writes this letter to his spiritual son in the Lord, Timothy, and he says this; he charged Timothy to fulfill God’s purpose for him in Christ Jesus. I believe today that you and I can feel God’s purpose for us in Christ Jesus. Isn’t that great to know, young person, that God has a purpose for your life and that knowing that He will enable you and help you to fulfill it?
As we look at the text today, we’ll see three reasons why this is possible in Christ. Let’s look at it. It’s a short reading today. Just two verses of first chapter of second Timothy. 2 Timothy 1:8-9 (ESV) 8 “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, 9 who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began.” This is God’s Word. Amen.
Three reasons why we can fulfill God’s purpose for us in Jesus Christ:
1.Because God saved us for it.
Notice these three action verbs that are directed towards God’s purpose. He saved us,He called us and He gave us. That’s where we’re going to find our three reasons. Do you see it in verse nine? All of them are right there in verse nine. Let’s “unpack” it.
First of all, we can fulfill God’s purpose because God saved us for it. God saved us for His purpose. You see, down in the text, He saved us and then it says because of his own purpose. Where does it say his own purpose and grace? For His own purpose. Let’s think about that for a second.
First, the word “saved,” that word “saved.” Saved from what? Saved from the wages of sin, which the Bible says, is His death so we might be saved, rescued. Yeah, it means that, but knowing that it means to be saved from yourself. To be saved from that which you would choose on your own, like a rudderless ship, not knowing what your purpose is, that you would be saved.
It’s an interesting Greek word. Can I give you a quick Greek verb lesson? I won’t get too detailed, but just let me say this. The Greek language is so much more precise than the English language. I’m glad the New Testament was written originally in Greek and that they have a Greek verb that we don’t have an equivalent of. And so it’s rightly translated, “saved.” But if they really wanted to make it precise , it’s a Greek participle. If you don’t remember what participle means, it means in English, usually as ongoing. So, the word would really be past tense, ongoing. We don’t have a verb like that. So the word, saved, would be saving. That’s how you’d have to write it to make it accurate. Saved, saving. In fact, all three of these are just like that save/saving, called/calling and gave/giving.
Why does that matter here; why am I even bringing that up? In the English, it is saved us. That’s true. At a point in time, if you believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, He will save you. As you look at that in the past, you will say He saved us. He saved me in the past tense.
But, here’s the part you’ll miss if you don’t get the whole package, and that is, he’s keeping you. He is still actively rescuing you from you. He doesn’t leave you. He doesn’t just like “one and done .” No, he hangs on to you. He is saving us.
He’s talking to Timothy. Timothy is Paul’s spiritual son in the Lord, not his biological son. He picked him up on his first missionary journey, and they’ve been together ever since. Paul loves him. In fact, when he opens up in this letter, he addresses it like this, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, in keeping with the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus, To Timothy, my dear son.” This is his last letter to Timothy. This is his last letter to anyone. Paul is in a Roman prison, in a dungeon. Remember this, Timothy, God saved you for a purpose, and it’s His purpose.
If God made you and saved you for His purpose, don’t you want to know what it is? Shouldn’t that be the thing? You want to do what God made you to do? God has made you; see, this is what we’re convinced of. This is what the Bible teaches us. You are not an accident of blind chance; the philosophy of materialism that says there is no supernatural and only those things that are natural are real. There is nothing beyond what we can attest to with our five senses. The materialist says that you came into existence through a series of favorable chances, favorable circumstances. Look at you. Let’s just look around at all the accidents. You know, you just all happened by accident.
And if you really believe that, then there is no purpose of life and you could go along with the philosophy of “eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die.” Some people are living by that. But if God really made you and God has a purpose for you, you’re not an accident, you matter. He loves you enough to send Jesus to save you and to keep you . He saved you for His purpose.
It says this in verse nine, “ who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began.” So it wasn’t because of something we did to earn it, but because of His own purpose in grace. His own purpose in grace. It’s His goal. It’s that which we were meant to do and be.
And then, the word, “grace.” Well, we know it means, “unmerited favor.” It’s free. It’s not something you can earn that God favors you. I have to admit to you, I’ve been working on that word for my whole life. What does that really mean, God, that You have grace towards me? Remember, I’m the oldest of four children. This is true for a lot of first borns; we kind of feel like we’re the favorite. I feel like I’m the favorite, you know? But then the baby comes along . You know that third or fourth child, depending on how many kids. Of course, in our church, it could be the tenth child. I mean, we have a lot of big families. But you were thinking, “I’m the favorite.”
What is it about us that we want to be the favorite? I want to be the favorite. I want to be the favored one. Here’s what the word, grace, kind of means. It means that God favors you; that He has favor towards you. He created you and made you for His purpose and favor. He made you because He wants you.
Look what it says in Revelation 4:11 (KJV) “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” Why did God make you? Because He wanted you. It was for his pleasure. What? What? God wants me. God wants you. It pleased Him to make you and to send His Son to die for you that He could save you and keep on rescuing you from you. He loves you; it was for His pleasure.
Christ Jesus is the son of God; we recognize that He came and He lived a perfect life and died on the cross for our sins. He’s the God man. But we often forget that even though He entered history and we are aware of His existence because of the Gospels recording of what He did, we often forget that there never was a time when Christ was not because He’s God. He was present before creation. He’s always been present.
He was present and active in creation. If you look at the book of Genesis and if you look at it through the lens of the New Testament, you’ll see the Trinity. In the first few verses, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth,” there’s the Father. “….and the world was without form and void and the spirit…” (there is the second person) hovered over the deep, “and God said…” there’s the other person; there is Jesus. What do you mean? “God said…” How’s that? Read John 1:1-3 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” In other words, he was present at creation and, not just passively present, but actively present. He created you. He is the one who paid to save you.
Read Paul’s writing to the Church of Colossae, chapter one, verse, “Christ made everything in the heavens and on the earth. He made everything that is seen and things that are not seen. He made all the powers of heaven. Everything was made by Him and for Him.”
Why were you made? Why were you saved for Him? He wants you. You are wanted. You are highly desired. You are His beloved . He loves you. He made You for himself.
I used to ask my wife, sometimes, when the three kids were in the back seat and they were all yelling at each other, “Why did we make these kids? What were we thinking?” I would sometimes reach around and try to pinch one of them and they would pull their legs up so I couldn’t reach that. Don’t look at me like that’s child abuse. That’s not child abuse.They’re about to drive me crazy; all three of them. There’s nothing more intimidating than to look in the rear view mirror and see three kids sitting in car seats. That’s intimidating. I would turn to my wife, whom I love, and I would say, “Why did we make these kids? What were we thinking?” But that thought would be just momentary because we would have died for them and still would, for our progeny and our grandchildren, whom we love much more than our children, by the way.
But God, in his perfect love, put something of Himself in us. He made us in His own image and He said, I made you for Myself. Wow. In other words, as it says in The Message translation of that same verse, Colossians 1:16 (MSG) “…everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him.” If you want to find your purpose, find Christ. Your purpose is in Him because He made you for Himself and you’ll never be what He meant for you to be until you find Him.
If you have attended this church very long and have heard me over the years telling stories, I’m always telling stories about my family. I talk about those three “crumb snatchers” in the back seat; well, they started growing up. They start growing up, don’t they, brother Tim? They start growing up, and I would tell stories about them as I was learning as a parent myself. I remember Stephen; he’s the firstborn. When he first came to that place where I handed him the car keys to the family car and he wanted to take a little girl out on a date, or he went to go out with his friends, as he was going to leave the house out from under my care and protection, I thought to myself very quickly. I gotta put one more thing in him before he heads out of the door; it popped in my head to just say, “Son.” “Yes, Dad?” “ Remember who you are and Whose you are.” “Who are you?” “I’m a Christ follower.” That’s right. “And Who’s are you?” “I belong to Jesus.” And so then, that became a mantra that they always had to say because I was making sure they knew, when they left the house, they were no longer under my care. I’m not going to be there, but there’s One that will never leave you nor forsake you. If you remember “who you are,” you’re a Christ follower, and “Who you belong to,” you belong to Jesus. Then, I can go back in the house and relax or try to, at least, as a parent.
If you’re a parent, you know what I’m talking about. As the time went on with each child, they heard me say it to the first, so the second child knew the drill. I think it was somewhere along that they started saying it with a German accent. I don’t know why that was important.
So, you can imagine my excitement when I saw, on Facebook, one of our very own little graduates here this morning. One of those little Jenkins girls. Do you see this? If you notice her hat when she came upon stage, what does that say ? “I know who I am and Whose I am.” You couldn’t have given me a greater gift than that. My sweet daughter in the Lord. This little family right here, the Jenkins family, have been a part of this church for 20 years. That she would do that, just thrills me.
That’s my desire, for every one of you, that you would not only write it on your hat but your heart, the claim of who you are in Him. If you get nothing more from the old guy up front here, is that you would know that I’m a Christ follower. We could go home now. That’s enough. If you know “who you are and Whose you are,” that changes everything, because He saved you for His own purpose.
You know, I was thinking about the way people find their identities today. We talk a lot about identity. People talk, especially among the millennials, and, by the way , I don’t think these are millennials. I think these young people are called “Generation Z” or something. I don’t know what they will be called after they have kids. They will have to start over with a new alphabet or something. But anyway, the millennials in the “Generation Z,” and so forth, in our culture today look inward and they say, “I’m going to be me.” “I’m going to look inward and be me.” Or, they look in the mirror, which is the same thing, and they say, “Let’s see what I see in the mirror,” and they try to find their identity there in an autonomous way. Traditionally, prior to these generations, I guess this kind of started with the sixties, which is my generation and some of yours, as we begin to tear down traditions and we begin to question authority. Traditionally, prior to these generations, people used to find their identity outwardly, and their parents told them who they were, their churches and their schools and the people around them, and they didn’t look in the mirror to find out who they were. They looked in the faces of others, and they told them who they were. Some of our last names came from families who were identified with their work. Apparently, my family came from barbers or something. Combs, where does that come from? We’re really good at combing our hair? Maybe, some of you are Bakers or Millers. If your father’s profession was this, then it was handed down to you. And so that was the tradition of outward identity.
Who am I? That’s what the philosophers called the number one existential question. Why do I exist; who am I? We have young people here, and they might not be able to get it yet, but you’re going to get it soon. When you were 20, you thought about life, and looking back at when you were 15, you probably said to yourself, I was an idiot. And then, when you got to be 25, you said my 20 year old self was alright. And then when you got to be somewhere around 35 you said to yourself, what a dummy I was at 25. Can I tell you what’s going on here? As you look in, what do you realize? I don’t know what I thought I knew. So the inward approach doesn’t work. The autonomous approach doesn’t work in finding your identity.
Here’s the other thing; the outward approach doesn’t really work either, because it often causes you to be “stuffed into a box.” That’s not you, either. What then? Where do I look to find out who I am?
The Bible says you don’t look inward. You don’t look out. You look upward . Your identity is in Christ. He made you and He saved you for His own purpose. You’ll find your real identity when you find Him.
Reason two why we can fulfill God’s purpose for us in Jesus Christ: 2. Because God called us to it.
We really dug in on that first point: Because God saved us for it. He saved us for it and reason two, he called us to it. He saved us for His purpose and He called us to His purpose. The second reason Paul gave to Timothy was that he called Timothy to a purpose.
The word, called, could be also translated, calling. It means, “to be allowed so you can hear it.” So, He saves you and then, He calls you. Paul’s more specific here; he says, He called us to a holy calling.
Do you ever sit around and think, I have a holy calling; I’m called to holiness. Do you ever think like that? You don’t? Okay. You’re shaking your head, yes, and I was fired up. I wanted to talk to you about that. Because I don’t very often think like that, except right after I read something like this. I most often misunderstand the word, “holy.” I think of it as perfection and sinlessness. But here it has a different sense.
He says to Timothy, you’ve been set apart for a special purpose. That’s primarily what holiness means. You’re not meant for common use; you are meant for a higher purpose, a special purpose, set apart, consecrated and counted holy. You were made for God’s purpose and not your own, not the world’s; not someone else’s. Your purpose is found in Christ you’ve been called to a holy calling. You are favored. He loves you. You’re special; You have a purpose and He’s calling you to it.
Some of you here today and you feel like you’ve messed up. Young person, there’s no way you’ve messed up yet, so you’ve got a blank slate. But older person you may have felt this; you’ve messed up. He’s still calling; He’s still calling, and He’s going to use even your mess. That’s the great thing about God. If you give Him your life, He’ll take your mess and work it according to His purpose. He is calling you, young person, and you’re feeling the pressure. Ok, I’ve got to get all of this right, because if I mess up… Put the pressure on Him, he can handle it; you can’t. Your purpose is in Christ; your calling is in Christ.
What then? Should you pursue Christ and everything else falls into alignment? Yeah. I don’t know who I should marry. I don’t know what kind of work I should do? Where should I live? Should I buy this ? Should I spend… Do I live in what neighborhood? What then… Christ, is it really that simple? Yes, it is. If you will follow Him and pursue Him, He will show you all the things He’s calling you to. He is calling and He’s called you to a higher purpose now.
Was Paul spending time with Timothy talking about this? It’s Paul’s last writing.. Why is he telling Timothy this stuff; Timothy, who’s followed him for years? Where’s Timothy at right now when he gets this letter? Perhaps Paul was reminding Timothy of God’s purpose and calling because isolation and suffering can often cause us to question. Paul was isolated from Timothy in a Roman prison cell. While Timothy pastored the church at Ephesus that Paul had planted.The church at Ephesus was the largest church in early Christendom. It was a huge city of 250,000 people. The pastor is Timothy; Paul planted the church. Timothy was with him when he planted it.
But now Paul’s in a Roman dungeon. This is his second imprisonment. The first imprisonment wasn’t that harsh. He got an all expense paid trip to Rome from Jerusalem and he was in a rented house. He was under house arrest and he had great freedom during that time. The Scripture talks about how he shared the gospel with Roman soldiers and members of the household of Caesar. He had great influence. Apparently, he was released. Some suggest that there was a missionary journey that we don’t see in the book of Acts where he actually carried the gospel to Spain. We don’t have that record. The early church fathers talk about it.
But now, he’s imprisoned under the Roman Caesar Nero, the greatest, most evil persecutor of Christianity. He was killing Christians by the thousands. He was putting them in the games and having animals tear them apart. And now, he’s imprisoned Paul. And within days or weeks or months, depending on the timing of this letter, Paul will be beheaded in Rome by Nero. Paul’s writing this letter to Timothy, who’s preaching and pastoring the church that Paul planted. He says, “God has not given you a spirit of fear, Timothy , but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” And remember how he saved you and how he called you. He’s still calling you. Why was he talking like this to Timothy?
There’s a couple of reasons, maybe. One might have been that Paul got a letter from Timothy. Maybe, Timothy was discouraged, his father in the Lord is in prison, and Timothy is overwhelmed. They’ve got this big old church. Timothy’s not like Paul. He was brought up by us by his mother and his grandmother in the faith. Timothy was kind of like me. That’s how I was. Instead of Lois and Eunice, it was Wilda and Ettie Elizabeth. It was my mother and grandmother who taught me the Bible. I wasn’t raised in the faith by the men of my family, but by the women of my family. I’m the product of a single mother family. My father died when I was a little boy. I kind of relate to Timothy. Timothy’s like, Where’s my dad? Where is Paul? He was getting down. Maybe that was happening.
Or maybe the other thing was happening; Paul knew Timothy well and knew if he couldn’t check on him that possiblyTimothy was struggling. Whatever his reason, he’s telling Timothy not to quit. God called you to be the pastor of that church. Don’t you quit. He saved you for a purpose. He called you to a purpose. Don’t quit. Don’t let fear overrun you. Do you remember that, 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” And then Paul says, 2 Timothy 1:8 “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God,” Paul planted this church; now, he’s in prison. He didn’t give Paul a lot of credibility . Timothy, don’t you be ashamed of me. They weren’t really popular in Rome during that time. Don’t be ashamed but share in the suffering for the gospel by the power of God. Get in the club. Join the fellowship of suffering with me. Don’t quit.
How do we answer this calling? Well, it’s by Christ’s power and grace. 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 (NLT) “11 So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do. 12 Then the name of our Lord Jesus will be honored because of the way you live, and you will be honored along with him. This is all made possible because of the grace of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ.”
So how do you answer God’s call? And here’s the thing I want to tell you; it’s always bigger than you can do, and it’s always scary. It’s always just beyond your reach. I don’t think I can do God’s call. Well, you’re right; you can’t, but you can do it by God’s grace, it’s always out of your comfort zone. He’s always going to call you to the end of the shaky limbs on the tree, but you can do it. Don’t worry about the results and don’t worry about your past. Remember what Romans 8 28 says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who were called according to his purpose.”
God saved us and is saving us. God called us and is still calling us. It doesn’t matter how young or how old you are.
Reason three why we can fulfill God’s purpose for us in Jesus Christ:
3. Because God gave us the grace to do it.
We are at that last verb he gave. He gave us, “give, giving .” He is still giving us grace, His unmerited favor, to keep on doing this. How do you get it? How do you get your purpose? You get Jesus. How do you know your part in the purposes of God, you get Jesus. You pursue Jesus. He’ll tell you, He still lives and He will live in you. He will speak to you through His word and through His spirit. It’s a vibrant relationship. You can pursue Him because He’s already pursued you. And then, finally, He gives you the grace to accomplish His purpose. He gives you that which you need.
Now, I’ll be 62 years old next month. I have been around for a little while, kids. I used to love and I still love to work outside. And I grew up spending summers on my grandfather’s farm, I loved doing outdoor activities. I used to think that would be the kind of work I would do for the rest of my life. I love to work outside. But, in the last decade, I have started getting sick if I worked too long outside. I feel like I am going to have a heat stroke. When I was younger, I didn’t need to take breaks. And so my wife, who knows more than me usually, right? She says, “Are you drinking water?” Look at this body. Look at this guy; why would I need to do that? I replied, “Well, maybe so.” We have this old refrigerator in the garage, and she keeps it full of bottled water and Gatorade for the old man. So, I started a few years back, doing a little bit and then going in the garage and downing bottled water. My strength came back. It’s amazing what being hydrated will do for you as you’re getting into those later decades. Now, when you’re young, you just go, go, go. You don’t notice a difference. As you get older, you drink water and get some fluids in. I had to come to a place of weakness in order to be strengthened and to be able to accomplish that which I wanted to do.
So, I ask you, when’s the last time you drank deeply from the well with Christ? Jesus told the woman at the well,John 4: 14, “but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” Stop trying to live your life by your own strength. Drink deeply and often. Don’t wait for the fatigue to hit. Go ahead and hydrate with the Holy Spirit and fill yourself up with the spirit of Christ. Say, Lord, fill me. Don’t wait for your cup to get empty. Lord, fill me with Your grace. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
Paul says, How is that possible? Remember when he was praying; he had a problem. He called it a “thorn in the flesh.” There’s all kinds of theories of what it could have been. It doesn’t matter. Here’s this answer. He prayed three times, and the Lord said this, 2 Corinthians 12:9 (ESV) But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Paul heard what the Lord was saying to him; if you want My grace to be perfected in you, admit your weaknesses. Admit your need for me. Drink, drink, drink from my fountain of grace.
How do you start? How do you drink this water that cannot be seen? Psalm 57:2 (ESV) “I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.” That’s how you do it. You cry out, Lord, fill me. Fill me with the Water that never runs dry. I cannot take another lap in my own strength, Lord. It’s right when you’re at the end of the rope.
Job 42:1-2 (ESV) “Then Job answered the Lord and said: “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” God’s going to complete this purpose in you. Why not cooperate? Trust him. Drink from the well that never runs dry.
Chambers writes in his devotional, “The grace you had yesterday will not be sufficient for today. Grace is the overflowing favor of God, and you can always count on it being available to draw upon as needed.” Friend , stop trying to run on yesterday’s grace. He has given, and is still giving, in Christ, our purpose and grace necessary to accomplish that purpose.
Here’s the thing; you have to make it important to yourself. You have to make it matter. You have to decide. I’m going to make a decision about who I am and Whose I am. I have to decide if I am going to do like the world is doing right now. Nobody’s gonna tell me who I am. I’m gonna be who I want to be. Choosing your own way; that’s what Adam and Eve did. That’s what humanity has always done. That’s what has led us down the path of suffering and death; choosing your own way. Your will is the enemy of God’s will. Every time you say, I want my way, you have rebelled against God’s way, but the minute you choose God’s way, you can delight in it because you were made for it and He created you for it. He saved you for it. He called you for it. And He gives you the grace, in Jesus Christ, to accomplish and attempt great things.
Let’s pray. Father, we come to you, humbly admitting that we need Jesus. He truly is the only one that matters. He is of surpassing worth compared to all other things. He is of surpassing worth. And so, Lord, we asked Him to give us our purpose. Some of us begin the journey today by asking Him to save us. Is that you, my friend? Would you do that right where you are? Dear Lord Jesus, I’m a sinner. I’ve been living life my own way, but I want to come to you and give you my life. You can do it right now. I give you my life. I believe you died on the cross for my sins to save me, that you were raised from the grave to give me power to live and that you live today. Come and live in me. Make me a child of God. I want You as my Lord and Savior. If you’re praying that prayer, by faith believing, He will save you. He will call you and He will give you all that you need to fulfill His own purpose for you. Others are here today and you’ve messed up. You got off track. You tried to do it your way. You’re a believer; you knew better, but you tried it your way. Now, you just don’t know how to get back on track. It’s never too late. He’s still calling. He can cause all things to work together for the good of those who are called according to Him. Give your life back to Him afresh. Say, Not my will, but yours be done. We pray this now in Jesus’ name. Amen.