Thursday, February 3, 2011

Thumbprints of God

Lots of college students refuse to declare a major during their freshman or even sophomore years.  They’re in school studying, taking all of the general coursework common to most majors.  And yet they really aren’t sure why yet.  If you asked them what their goals are, they might say “to graduate.” Most of them will find their purpose eventually.  It just hasn’t happened yet.  Many of us are in that same boat with respect to life in general.  Are you asking yourself why you’re here?  “What is my purpose?”  In his popular book “The Purpose Driven Life”, Rick Warren points out that the Bible says our purpose, identity, and significance are found in God.  
You exist only because God wills that you exist. You were made by God and for God—and until you understand that, life will never make sense. It is only in God that we discover our origin, our identity, our meaning, our purpose, our significance, and our destiny. Every other path leads to a dead end.  Many people try to use God for their own self-actualization. They want God to be a personal “genie” who serves their self-centered desires. But that is a reversal of nature and is doomed to failure. You were made for God, not vice versa, and life is about letting God use
you for his purposes, not your using him for your own purposes.  (The Purpose Driven Life, chapter 1)

Isn’t it reasonable to think that God would have a plan specifically for your life?  He is our creator, after all. He certainly had a plan for John the Baptist.  

Before John was born, he was already set apart from God’s perspective.  Isaiah even wrote about him hundreds of years before he was born (Isaiah 40:3), which was later referenced by all four Gospel writers (ex. Matthew 3:1-3 below).  

“In those days John the Baptist came to the Judean wilderness and began preaching. His message was, 'Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.*" The prophet Isaiah was speaking about John when he said, "He is a voice shouting in the wilderness,'Prepare the way for the LORD's coming!  Clear the road for him!"'” (Matthew 3:1-3) NLT

John had a purpose given by God--to go ahead of Jesus and announce the coming of the Messiah.  Luke wrote that John was filled with the Holy Spirit even before he was born!  He was created for this mission.

“God sent a man, John the Baptist, to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony.  John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light.  The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world...  John testified about him when he shouted to the crowds, ‘This is the one I was talking about when I said, 'Someone is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.’" (John 1:6-9, 15) NLT

Even for us, God has a plan.  He knew us before we were born as well, and he calls us to follow Him and be his hands and feet.  We have a mission too, chosen for us by God.  We have a specific purpose that we were designed to fufill.  Our talents, our abilities, our personalities, were carefully crafted to live out that purpose.  All we need to do is discover it--to uncover the mystery of that purpose.  Jeff Henderson recently said that everything about us (our personalities, talents, abilities, interests, strengths, weaknesses) are the thumbprints of God--clues about what we were made to be and to do in this life. As you look at the thumbprints of God on your life, what clues do you see?  

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