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The man without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder—a waif, a nothing, a no man.
Another new month has arrived, and therefore another opportunity for me to share what I hope will be an inspirational post.
As those of you who are long-standing and regular readers of this blog will know, the site exists because of my desire to pursue a purpose-driven life and because of my desire to encourage both myself and others to examine what this means for those of us who have chosen to follow Christ and committed our lives to serving him.
Today, I wanted to remind myself and my readers that our ultimate aim should be to live a purpose-driven life. In his ground-breaking manifesto, The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren states:
Without God, life has no purpose, and without purpose, life has no meaning. Without meaning, life has no significance or hope… The greatest tragedy is not death, but life without purpose.
Take a moment to digest that last sentence.
A life without purpose is a great tragedy! When I think of a tragedy, I think of a tragic event that need not and should not have occurred. And I think of Shakespeare’s dramatic play, Othello, where the protagonist murders his wife in the mistaken belief that she has been unfaithful.
But why, and how did he come to entertain such a belief?
As the play unfolds, we see that it was all because of the manipulative lies of Iago, who right from the outset of the play, reveals bitter animosity towards his fellow comrade-in-arms and his superior. Through psychological mind games, Iago sought to undermine Othello’s purpose and standing as a successful military leader, and succeeded.
As purpose-driven achievers, we will come across our own Iago-type personalities, who oppose us. However, we must not allow their words, their motives, to detract us from our purpose. And we must always bear in mind that there is a diabolical entity behind that person, driving their words, actions and attitudes.
And now, let me encourage you to re-read the opening quote to this post, by Thomas Carlyle.
The first time I read these words, they made a deep impression upon my soul. No way did I want to be considered a waif, a nothing, a no person!
Of course there are people out there who want to send me that message and do so with their words, their actions and their attitudes. But thankfully, I have a choice about whether or not I allow their words and their conduct, to influence how I see myself, who I am and who I desire, or am aiming to be.
You see those people may well be driven by hatred, or malice, or jealousy, or racial prejudice, or strife, or competition, or whatever! But, in the final analysis, those people do not count. Whether family, foe, colleague, or so-called friend, they did not pay the ultimate price for my salvation!
They did not die for me. They did not ordain my destiny. And they certainly do not have at heart, my personal welfare as a primary concern. They do not possess the power to cause all things that take place in my life (whether good, bad, or ugly!), to work together for my good. They cannot possibly do so, because they are not God! They are not Jesus Christ!
Whilst listening to a YouTube video yesterday, I heard the man of God say that Jesus did not hide himself away from those who plucked out his beard. That really spoke to me. And made me want to love him more.
To think that the King of kings and Lord of Lords, willingly allowed his haters to maliciously pull out his beard. That had to hurt! And besides the physical pain, there’s the sense of emotional hurt and humiliation caused by the knowledge that people would want to, let alone go out of their way, to ill-treat him like that.
What had Jesus done? Only loved them! Only healed and delivered them. Only preached good news to them. Only reprimanded them where the occasion warranted it. He had come to save them. He was their long-awaited Messiah, but they rejected him. They despised and mocked him. They crucified him.
As a purpose-driven achiever, Jesus willingly drank from his cup of suffering so that I could be redeemed from the Enemy who held me captive to sin and eternal damnation. Jesus willingly drank from this cup, because the thought of my freedom, my liberty, my inclusion within the family of God, my elevation in life as someone seated with him in the heavenly places, gave him immense joy.
Just meditating on these facts, just remembering afresh what Jesus suffered for me, inspires and motivates me to be better, rather than bitter! Better, in terms of my thoughts and my attitudes and my conduct. Particularly towards the “Iagos” in my life!
And, negotiating my way along the path of suffering, motivates me afresh to emulate another purpose-driven achiever, the Apostle, Paul. He chose to forget the past, forget those things that were behind him, forget his negative history.
Do you aspire to be a purpose-driven achiever?
Then forget your past! Forget the words and deeds of both your past and present detractors. Forget those who despise you. Recognise that you are on a different path. Otherwise, like Othello, the Enemy will cause you to think and act contrary to your purpose, contrary to whom Christ called you to be.
When we focus on the past, we grant the Enemy an opportunity to swoop in and highlight negative thoughts and memories which only serve to make us both ugly and bitter. Be prepared to forget what happened 2, 5, or even 10 years ago. And determine in your heart to forget what happened last week, or just yesterday, even 2 hours, or 2 mins ago.
I know it’s a hard ask, and it’s easier said than done. But as purpose-driven achievers, we are called to emulate Christ. We are called to conform to his image. We are called to take up our cross and follow him. And the Bible tells us in no uncertain terms that we can do all things through Christ, who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13).
For the joy that was set before him, Jesus despised the cross and endured the shame. If Jesus did this for me, I want to at least be willing to do it for him.
But what is the joy that is set before me?
It is the knowledge that I am daily becoming more Christ-like. The knowledge that I am pleasing my Father in Heaven. The anticipation of Jesus one day saying to me: Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of the Lord.
Because then, all the growing pains, all the dying to self, all the mortifying of my fleshly inclinations to hit out and hurt back, to defend self, to try and salvage a vestige of “self”-esteem, to enter the devil’s arena and play mind-games myself, yeah, every decision to climb back upon God’s altar and offer myself as a living, bleeding sacrifice, will be worth it—just to be able to look into the beautiful face of the one who loved me so much, so utterly, so beyond my comprehension that he laid aside his majesty, willingly gave up his deity and dignity, all in order to come to my rescue, all in order to suffer the insufferable, in my stead.
Lord Jesus, you are the epitome of a knight in shining armour! In fact, you are my knight in shining armour, and you ride before me, victorious and resplendent in the glorious, brilliant, armour of agapē love.
I love you. I thank you. I worship you.
Dear reader, Jesus is our ultimate example of a purpose-driven achiever. And if we wish to emulate him, if we want to pursue our own path, as purpose-driven achievers, we need to wake up to the fact that this path is not a particularly pretty one!
Wishing you a victorious and productive week ahead.
With love and best wishes,
Carol (aka Lady Cee)
A Purpose-driven Achiever
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