Saturday, 24 March 2012

Why am I here?

Is life just a cycle of occurrences? We get up, we have breakfast, we go to work or school, we have lunch, we come home, we have tea, we clear up, we go to bed. There are many things about life that are just mundane. We can get trapped in them. We have to do them, but there is more: there is more than we could hope for. Imagine if we really understand what our purpose is on this earth. You know, this world is temporary, it is a breath in eternity, but it matters. It matters how we choose to spend our time. It matters that we understand our purpose.

You may feel that you are not sure where you fit, that you don’t know what your gifts are. There are some things you need to understand. When we become part of the family of God we get our purpose. You might say, “Well I’ve been a Christian for a long time and I still don’t know what mine is, so that’s not exactly true”. You have missed some vital Biblical truths and the sooner you can grasp these, the sooner you will step into the promises of God and find your place in this world. I believe there are three simple points that, if we can grasp them fully, will help us understand why we are here.

The first thing is that we are the salt of this earth, the light of the world. This may be a familiar verse to you, so familiar in fact, that you may have become immune to it’s power. In Matthew 5 verses 13-16, Jesus says:

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt looses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot. You are the light of the world. A town on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand and it give light to everyone in the house. In the same way let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven.”

This is what Jesus is saying to you today. The Message puts it like this:

“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt seasoning that brings out the God-flavours of this earth. If you loose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage. Here’s another way to put it: You’ve here to be light, bringing out the God-colours in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a lamp stand. Now that I have put you there on a hill top, on a lamp stand-shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open to up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”

This is why we are here. This world needs people who will bring out the ‘God flavours’ of this earth: people who will bring out the ‘God-colours’. Our world sees limited colour. We think we can see God-colours, but we haven’t seen anything yet. When something goes from black and white to colour we see more detail. The picture comes alive, but it can also expose more flaws. In a way our job is to expose the God colours by going to the areas of black and white and bringing life to them. This is true in our own lives too. The devil does not want us to see full colour so he is working to get rid of colour, to keep things dark. The Bible brings colour. Jesus brings colour. We bring colour, but the way our eyes see these colours in an earthly realm is nothing compared to the colour of heaven. Those colours are indescribable but we can see glimpses here if we work hard enough to find them. We can expose them in places where the devil believes we will never go. So turn your light on and let it shine, let it bring out colours that we have never seen before. We were not born to live in black and white, we were born to understand colour and to expose the beauty of it in our every day lives. Be people who make generosity something that cannot be contained. Be open with your lives and your homes.

The second thing we need to understand is that we are here to take ground. You have heard the saying, “You are here to leave a footprint”? Well imagine that everywhere you tread you have the potential to take that piece of ground for the Kingdom of heaven. Where we put our feet matters. We are in a war and our purpose is to take ground. The enemy is a thief. He has stolen ground and we need to take it back. Ephesians 6:12 says this: “ For our struggle is not against the enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

We need to recognise that in this world the devil is working. He is into degeneration and he works against regeneration which of course is what God is about. God wants to regenerate our lives, our cities and towns and the people around us. When we decide that where we put our feet matters, we will take back a bit of the power of degeneration and put back some regeneration, resurrection power. Sometimes we just go. We feed the hungry, we stand up for justice, we bring colour wherever we go, but sometimes we have to be willing to pick up our swords and fight for that piece of ground. That is why, if you read the following few verses in Ephesians, we are told to put on the full armour of God. The victory is won. We don’t need to be afraid but this stuff is real and we have to be prepared.

Sometimes we need to acknowledge as the Bible says that our battle is not with flesh and blood but with the ‘cosmic powers of darkness.’ That means that we need to fight to keep relationships good within the body of Christ. If you fall out with someone, put it right straight away because otherwise you leave an open door for the devil to get in and disturb the peace. Someone may have done something to you but the bigger issue is what the devil will do with that situation if you don’t sort it out straight away. None of us can fight this fight alone. We need the armour of God and we need each other. Today you can mend a broken relationship. ‘Sorry’ should be an easy word for us. When we say sorry, whether we are right or wrong, we take back a bit of ground. If the enemy has taken something from you, get your armour on, call on the army of God (E.g. the family of God), go together and take it back for the glory of God. Our purpose is to build the Kingdom until Jesus returns.

The third thing that we are here for is to make Jesus famous. Why do we find it so hard to tell people who He is and what He can do? It is not hard to tell someone your story because we can assume that God is already working on their story. People cannot argue with our stories. No one can say “that didn’t happen to you” because it did! Psalm 45: 17 in The Message says, “I’ll make you famous for generations; you’ll be the talk of the town for a long, long time.” What if it was Jesus who everyone was talking about? What if our stories made Him famous? What if the love we show reveals His love for all? I want to make this Psalm my mantra “I will make you famous”.

We can make Jesus famous by telling stories of His goodness but we also need to remember that we can make Jesus famous by the way we live our lives. This works both ways. If we are here to show Jesus to others it really matters how we live. We might be someone’s first introduction to Jesus and I don’t want them to look at me and say “if that is what Christianity is like then I don’t need it.” It matters. Don’t be known for being someone who is always complaining, someone who is selfish or tight, someone who does not look after our world but rather as someone who sees beauty and goodness and life at every opportunity. That doesn’t mean we won’t make mistakes; we will, but we have got to try not to. We can see miracles if we do what Jesus did and they will make him famous. Be careful that you are not trying to make yourself famous. We are nothing without the grace of God.

So how are you interpreting your faith? The way you interpret the Bible is what others see. If you are not reading your Bible you can guarantee you are not interpreting it as well as you could, because you don’t know what it says! How we interpret our faith is how others see Jesus. We don’t need to go shouting on every street corner or pressurising people into thinking how we do, we just need to lift His name higher in our lives and our households and make it our mission to make Him famous in a credible way. People know if what we say and what we do don’t match up. Work hard on your character; it matters. Colossians 3:1 in The Message says, ““So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ-that’s where the action is. See things from His perspective.” If you are serious about trying to be more like Jesus: act like it! It matters.

So why are we here? We are here for purpose.

We are here to:
1.    Bring out the God-flavours and God-colours of this world.
2.    Take ground and expose the work of the enemy.
3.    Make Jesus famous.

If you don’t know your purpose, there it is. Do these things first and the rest will follow. Don’t miss these truths because you may have heard these verses before. God has a plan for you beyond what you could ever dream or imagine. You are not a mistake or an accident. You are a child of God and you do not need to fear. Keep going; keep loving, and don’t give up.

Do our lives really matter? More than we will ever know.

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