By Michael Risley
I remember thinking in high school, “If Christianity is true, then I’m all in. But if it is not true, then I’m leaving it completely, because I don’t want to be a fool.”
In search of answers, I went on a journey of reading and listening to different speakers to determine the validity of the Bible, the resurrection of Jesus, and other great pillars of the Christian faith. What I found made me realize that it would take more faith to be an unbeliever, than it would be to be a believer! The evidence was overwhelming for Christianity.
I decided at that point that my purpose in life was to follow Jesus Christ with my whole heart!
Today my purpose can be expressed this way: “For to me, to live is Christ” (Philippians 1:21a). In other words, “living” means simply Christ – to be all and only for Jesus Christ: to know Him, love Him and obey Him, and to help others live the same.
For many of us believers, we understand that our purpose in life is found in knowing Jesus and making Him known. However, it is easy to get distracted and discouraged in the midst of our battle against the world, the flesh and the devil.
Life is hard and we feel “beat up” at times.
It can be especially challenging as we get older and our bodies and minds are not as efficient as they once were. Yet, even when we are young, it can be hard to stay on track because of difficult circumstances.
This was the case for Jaelene Hinkle, one of the best women soccer players in our country and more importantly, a follower of Jesus Christ. This past year she was dropped from the World Cup national team for reportedly “athletic reasons.”
However, many believe it was because of her stance a year earlier when she was not willing to wear a soccer jersey that advertised support for a sexual lifestyle contrary to the Word of God.
Jaelene said it this way,
“I just felt so convinced in my spirit that it wasn’t my job to wear the jersey. I knew . . . I was doing the right thing. I knew I was being obedient. If I never get another national team call-up again then that’s just a part of His plan, and that’s okay. Maybe this is why I was meant to play soccer, to show other believers to be obedient.”
Just like God had a purpose for Jaelene despite frustrating circumstances, God wants you to live out your purpose for His glory – even in the midst of challenges and weaknesses.
The Apostle Paul is a great example of this in II Corinthians 12: 8-10. Here Paul, seeking to live out his purpose for Christ, was given a “thorn in the flesh.” We don’t know what this “thorn” was, but it was a chronic and debilitating problem, which was a hindrance to his ministry and purpose.
“Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weakness, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weakness, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Here is the point: When we are strong in our own abilities, we are tempted to do God’s purpose in our own strength, and that can lead to pride.
When we are weak, allowing God to strengthen us with His power, then we are much stronger than we could be on our own.
Thus, when the obstacles and setbacks come – and they will come – we must depend upon God. Only through His strength will we be effective and do work that has lasting value.
“However, I consider my life nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” Apostle Paul, Acts 20:24
To dig deeper into God’s purpose, check out my NEW 30-day devotional book, 30 Days to Purposeful Living. If you enjoyed the Hope devotional, you will love this devotional on the topic of “God’s purpose in your life.”