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What is your purpose? Why are you alive and what are you to do? Most of us ask such questions. Maybe you are asking now. A believer in Jesus Christ are the Called-Out ones. They are chosen with a purpose. As believers we are saved by faith in Jesus Christ. The old has passed away and we become a new creature. We are adopted by the King of the universe, transformed by the renewing of our minds, and filled with the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. So, given all that, what are we called out to do?
Each of us have a picture of what life in Christ should look like. We have expectations even if we do not realize it. We are called to follow Jesus. Thus, with Jesus, life should be easier. Pain and troubles should be minimal. Victories are to be frequent. Supposedly, if God calls us, the results of our following Him, to where He leads, will be success and abundance. Is this Biblical?
Consider the facts. First, we live in a broken world, filled with sinful people, prodded by an evil prince of the air. We are ambassadors in a hostile and foreign country. Our adoption does not remove us from this environment. We are not given a free “hall pass” to avoid all troubles. When you walk in the mud it is impossible to not get muddy.
Second, the Bible is full of God’s servants who experience mostly trouble. Jeremiah and Isaiah are two examples. Some of His called-out ones saw only failure. Hebrews 10 lists many more suffering servants. Jesus told His disciples that since He was hated they would be hated and that they would experience trials.
We, in this country, generally reject the idea of suffering. The Christian life is supposed to be abundant and rich. We shy away from any form of self-denial. Fasting and extended prayer or Bible study gets in the way of entertainment, vacations, and business. We want what we want when we want it. Surely Jesus wants such a life for us, right?
Isaiah 53:10 contends differently. “But the Lord was pleased, to crush Him (Jesus) and put Him to grief…” Really, God was pleased? How do we explain this? Can we get away with saying, “oh He was pleased because it meant that His children could be redeemed and thus not have to suffer any more? Maybe, to an extent. Hebrews 12:2 relates that for the joy set before Him, Jesus endured the cross. He wanted to set the captives free. But does that mean all Christians will live lives of success?
Success in this life is not a Christian benefit nor a right. The persecution of believers around the world bears this out. We are called, yes. But we are not called to success but obedience. Peter writes that we were called for the purpose of being faithful regardless of the situations. (1Peter 1:15, 2:9, 2:21) At the end of time, Jesus will not tell us, “Well done good and successful servant”. He will say, “Well done good and faithful servant”. We are to live lives of obedience and faithfulness. Do not be discouraged if life is tough and trials assail you. It is not the circumstances but our response to them that matters.
Believers are to glorify the Father and give witness to Him. Faithful obedience is not altered by troubles. Without troubles who really needs faith anyway. Liken it to sailing a boat. Most anyone can become proficient at sailing a boat on calm water with no reefs or snags in the water. It takes something more to sail a ship in stormy seas through a rocky passage. What good is it to know how to sail if you do not really need to use your skills. Faith is best displayed in difficult times. God is pleased to allow His children opportunities to practice and display their faith.
I am not belittling the trial, pains, trouble, challenges, defeats, or losses that you are experiencing. Betrayals, failures, illness, criticism, and fear are constant realities. I am not suggesting we should desire bad times. I am saying that whatever you are facing, see it not as a flaw in God’s power but as what God has given you to give Him glory. He will not tempt you beyond your ability to bear. Show up to stand firm in Christ. He has called you. His purpose is for you to show yourself faithful. Obey Him. Speak the truth. Be generous and gracious. Forgive, reconcile, and restore. Persevere in the face of resistance. The results are His responsibility. Uncertain times are ahead. Your purpose? You are called to obey. Do it with joy. (Phil 4:4-8)