Sunday, July 6, 2014

You Were Born For Such A Time As This

There are times I have often wondered, "What is my purpose?" There may be a time in life where it feels like nothing is happening, where it feels like you aren't making a difference, where you honestly wonder if you should be here in the first place... It's so easy in times of trouble to just give up and not even try anymore. Or, there is one of the most common lies that we believe: "I'm too much of a sinner for God to use me." Wrong! Where is the buzzer when you need it? Let me be the first to tell you that I have recently been feeling like nothing is happening in my life, I have felt like I haven't been making a difference, and depression has made me wonder why I am here in the first place. That is never a good place to be for anyone! I can, however, tell you that you do indeed have a purpose, and your purpose is 100% absolutely vital!

Each one of us are members of the body of Christ... we all together make up the body. Now for example, the human body has ten toes... Did you know that if a person loses their big toe, the ability to balance well goes up by 40%? So naturally, all other toes and several other muscles have to compensate for a missing toe, but even then, a person's body will no longer function at 100%. 1 Corinthians 12:21-25 says this: And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." No, much rather, those member of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. And those member of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable part have greater modesty, but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. Therefore, you, as a member of the body of Christ, have a purpose that no one else can replace! Esther was a wonderful woman of God. She was once known as Hadassah, and she lived with her cousin because she no longer had a mother and father. She, of all the young women taken to the palace, found favor in the eyes of the king. It was Esther, one single young woman of Jewish origins that helped save the Jewish nation. In times when she could have been found out, God protected her. In times when she could have died, God saved her. God's hand was on Esther because she was fulfilling the purpose that God had given her.

God reassures us many times in His word just how valued we are to him. Many of us sometimes need to just understand our value because when we do, we feel we can fulfill our purpose. Ephesians 2:10 says, For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. We are masterpieces! God does not make junk! Even Psalm 139:14 says that we are "fearfully and wonderfully made." God made you to be something special, and before you were even born, he had a purpose for you! No matter how we view ourselves or our purpose, it is all a part of God's plan. Jeremiah 29:11 says this: "For I know the plans I have for you," declared the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." If you trust God with your life, then trust also that he has a purpose for you and that it is blessed!

Now, we all know that if something is not of God, then it must be of Satan. Satan, or Lucifer, was an angel of God, however, he became a fallen angel when pride overtook him. The problem that people have is that they give him more power than what he actually has. People don't see that he is just a created being. God created him beautifully and he knew it... Just before he fell from Heaven, he wanted to be looked at and admired. Well not much as changed. He wanted to be looked at then, and he wants to be looked at now. So, the whole world has given him a spotlight, and he uses it to distract us from our purpose. Some are aware of what he is and some are not. It is easy for him to distract because he can come in any form. 1 Corinthians 11:14 says, "And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light." Satan will do anything to distract people from their purpose because he knows that we have one. Jeremiah 1:5 says, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." Well, for Satan, that just won't work. The bible has a good example of distraction. Nehemiah 6:1-4 says this: When word came to Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab and the rest of our enemies that I had rebuilt the wall and not a gap was left in it—though up to that time I had not set the doors in the gates—  Sanballat and Geshem sent me this message: “Come, let us meet together in one of the villages on the plain of Ono.” But they were scheming to harm me; so I sent messengers to them with this reply: “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?” Four times they sent me the same message, and each time I gave them the same answer. God does want to be seen, and he wants people to focus on him and his purpose for them, but he will not force people to focus on him or follow a purpose. Satan however will do just about anything to get you to look his way. So keep your eyes on God, and Satan will no longer have an audience!

Satan is commonly referred to in the bible as the Father of Lies. There is indeed a very good reason! John 8:44 talks much about this. There is no truth in him. That being said, if there is no truth in him, he will feed you any lie necessary so that he can use it to his advantage. It is important to recognize the lies from the Father of lies. When it comes to your purpose, it is very important! Lies are Satan's most important distraction. Here are some common lies of Satan:

1. Satan can distract you from your purpose by simply trying to make you believe you don't have one. We have already learned though that each one of us does have a purpose, so don't fall into that trap!

2. Satan can distract you from your purpose by making you believe that you are beyond forgiveness, and that if you are beyond forgiveness, then God can't use you. If you honestly believe that you are too much of a sinner and beyond forgiveness, take a look at Paul. He was once known as Saul of Tarsus. Now, "Saul' was a persecutor of Christians. He was a violent man, and had any Christians he came across killed. However, God came to "Saul" on the road to Damascus and blinded him, but his vision was later restored by Ananias of Damascus. Upon regaining his vision, he proclaimed Jesus to be the Son of God and shared the word of God wherever he went. In fact, he wrote several books of the Bible which you now read today!

3. Satan can distract you by pointing out your "so-called flaws" so that you focus more about what is supposedly wrong with you than focusing on Jesus and your purpose. This is a difficult one for me, and I struggle with it a lot. This, for many people, could be a number of different things. It could be a struggle with physical appearances, it could be a physical or mental disability, or many other things. For me, right now, Satan is trying to tell me that I am not smart enough to write devotionals, and that what I have written down is stupid. That no one will read these. Wrong! Let's take a look at it this way though: Moses had a stutter and his brother Aaron had to speak for him. Abraham was very old in age... Zacheus was a short little man, David was just a boy but he defeated a giant. The thing about these "so-called flaws" are that they are no more than lies. While we are flawed because of sin, God does not make junk, and He calls anyone that he wants to to do his work despite what the "world" thinks about it. What we need to realize is that lies are just that: lies. Lies are always changing to suit the situation, but Truth is from God and it is absolute! Nothing can change the truth!

If you can recognize the lies, it is easy to not let them distract you or keep you from your purpose. The first thing you should do is ask yourself: "Is that of God?" "Is that how God feels about me?" "Is this really true?" The Holy Spirit will always guide you and give you answers to these question, but if you need reassurance that you can see, go to the Word. If you find that any of the answers are not of God, here what you can do: James 4:7 says,  "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." Martin Luther King Jr., a wise man, once said “If a man is called to be a street sweeper... He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, 'Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.” Whatever your purpose is, whether it be a street sweeper or a CEO of a major company, do it well and as unto the Lord. Throw yourself so much into your purpose and focus so much on God that, in this, you will resist the devil and he must flee!

Remember brothers and sisters in Christ, you are called according to his purpose, and he does have a purpose for you! If you are unsure of or are confused on what your purpose is, then pray to God and ask! God is not an author of confusion, so he will always bring clarity!

"...Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" -Esther 4:14 (NKJV)