As you know, I work with college students and daily I’m involved in talks, or I overhear talks about finding purpose, having a meaningful life or achieving dreams. One of the most rewarding things I get to be a part of is guiding a student through those deep questions and help them discover ‘their’ purpose.
Purpose is so crucial to everything that we do in life. It is the why behind all our actions. Without the ‘why’ everything is meaningless. How we spend money, time, where we live, etc. When we understand the why behind what we are doing, things start making more sense. We have a better understanding of how to respond to the world and circumstances around us.
The ‘Why’ is the most important part! Check out this TED talk by Simon Sinek for an awesome explanation why.
So where does following Jesus fit into all of this?
Last week we talked about how knowing Jesus should be the primary reason for following Jesus. There are many other benefits, but the primary reason is that we get to be WITH God. This WITH God mentality is amazing – because when followed we are WITH God in everything that we do.
Pumping Gas WITH God. Buying groceries WITH God. Dropping kids off at school WITH God. Going to school WITH God. Punching the clock at work WITH God.
Get the idea?
God not only wants but can be with you in everything that you do. This has huge implications for our quest in finding purpose.
Jesus repeatedly talks about how knowing him is the ultimate goal or purpose in life. Seeking to be with him is the treasure. Nothing is better than that.
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it. – (Matthew 13:44-46)
So that’s cool and all but what does this have to do with my job choices or life goals?
It amazes me and saddens me when I see so many people who are following Jesus stress so much about making sure they pick the right job or do the right thing FOR God. I’ll admit I’ve been there so I guess it shouldn’t shock me, but God has given us such freedom and we’ve turned it around to be a negative.
We don’t have to worry about picking the right job to find fulfillment. We don’t have to worry about if having a family will fulfill us. We don’t have to worry about finding the right cause to be passionate about.
Jesus fulfills all of that. – Cliché I know and I hate Christian clichés.
But it’s true. AND IT’S EXCITING!!!!!!
Now I know Jesus also isn’t a job. He doesn’t pay your bills. Take your kids to school or many of the other practical things we worry about.
So the practical part of being WITH God is that we have the ultimate freedom to seek jobs, careers, hobbies, fun, education, etc. that excite us! We no longer have to ask ‘does this fulfill my need for fulfilling my purpose in life?’ So if we want to do something and it isn’t a sin (and is wise) then we have the freedom to do it!
Since God is with us, He can add this deeper purpose we look for into anything that we do. Since He is with us, He can guide and direct us when needed. Since He is with us, He can work with the passions that He gave us.
We don’t have to worry so much about ‘is this what God wants from me’ (not saying you shouldn’t seek him). We are so worried about doing exactly what God wants that we end up not doing anything. OR we are so stressed that we made the wrong decision that we play the ‘what if’ game.
Remember Proverbs 3:5-6? “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
He wants you to be free to follow the passions He has born within you. God will make the path you pick straight. He will work it out. He will direct when necessary. Because He is WITH you when we seek Him first.
I think we miss this because we have the mentality that we have to do things FOR God. We think there is only one path out there for us and if we miss it God will be disappointed in us. We think God needs us to do His work in the world.
Sometimes God does call us to do one specific thing. Most of the time, He wants to be WITH us as we live our lives and He can do His work as we go along. This brings such peace when we are seeking God first because we can do pick the things we want to do. We have freedom to make our own choices as long as we are WITH God.
When we are living WITH God, He will make it work.
***PS If this topic interest you there is a book you HAVE to read. There are four postures most people take towards our relationship with God. Mine just happens to mostly be the life FOR God posture. With by Skye Jethani explores these postures and how to live life WITH God instead of one of the 4 negative postures.
One of my biggest regrets in life is not reading this book earlier. So…. READ IT =)