THE PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE
Sermon delivered by Senior Apostle Dr. Timothy Alapo
The topic of my sermon is, “The Purpose Driven Life”. At the end of this message, you will be able to discover the answer to life’s most important question: What on earth am I here for? You will be able to know God’s purpose for your life and will understand the big picture – how all the pieces of your life fit together. Having this perspective will reduce your stress, simplify your decisions, increase your satisfaction, and, most important, it will prepare you for eternity.
My dear brethrens in Christ, I want to tell you that, for everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, everything got started in God and finds its purpose in Him. Unless you assume a God, the question of life’s purpose is meaningless.
I want you to know that, the purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, it is far greater than your peace of mind, or even your happiness. It is far greater than your family, your career, or even your wildest dreams and ambitions. If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by his purpose and for his purpose.
You will probably be aware that the search for the purpose of life has puzzled people for thousands of years. That is because we typically begin at the wrong starting point – which is, ourselves. We ask self-centered questions like, what do I want to be? What should I do with my life? What are my goals, my ambitions, my dreams for my future? But focusing on ourselves will never reveal our life’s purpose. You must begin with God, your Creator. 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, 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 you using Him for your own purpose.
I have read many books that suggest ways to discover the purpose of our lives. All of them could be classified as “self-help” books because they approach the subject from a self-centered viewpoint. Self-help books, even Christian ones, usually offer the same predictable steps to finding your life’s purpose: i.e, suggesting that you consider your dreams; clarify your values; set some goals; Figure out what you are good at; Aim high; Go for it! Be disciplined; Believe you can achieve your goals; Involve others; Never give up.
Of course, all these recommendations often lead to great success. You can usually be successful in reaching your goal if you put your mind to it. But being successful and fulfilling your life’s purpose are not at all the same issue! You could reach all your personal goals, becoming a raving success by the world’s standard, and still miss the purposes for which God created you. I am telling you now that, you need more than self-help advice. The Bible says, “Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, God’s way, to finding your true self.”
Without God, life makes no sense. But there is a God who made you for a reason, and your life has profound meaning! We discover that meaning and purpose only when we make God the reference point of our lives.
Brothers and sister in Christ, I want you to know that everyone’s life is driven by something. The man without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder – a nothing, a no man. So, brothers and sisters in the Lord, What is the driving force in your life?
Right now, you may be driven by a problem, a pressure, or a deadline. You may be driven by a painful memory, fear, or an unconscious belief. There are hundreds of circumstances, values, and emotions that can drive your life. However, here are 5 examples of the most common ones.
1. Many people are driven by guilt. They spend their entire lives running from regrets and hiding their shame. Guilt-driven people are manipulated by memories. They allow their past to control their future. They often unconsciously punish themselves by sabotaging their own success. You may remember in the Bible, when Cain sinned, his guilt disconnected him from God’s presence, and God said to him, “You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.” That describes most people today – wandering through life without a purpose. We are the products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it. God’s purpose is not limited by your past. God turned a murderer named Moses into a leader and a coward named Gideon into a courageous hero, and God can do amazing things with the rest of your life, too, today, if you have faith and believe. God specializes in giving people a fresh start.
2. Many people are driven by resentment and anger. When someone offends this group of people, they hold on to hurts and never get over them. Instead of releasing their pain through forgiveness, they rehearse it over and over in their minds. Some resentment-driven people “clam up” and internalize their anger, while others “blow up” and explode it onto others. Both responses are unhealthy and unhelpful. My dear brethrens, Resentment always hurts you more than it does the person you resent. While your offender has probably forgotten the offence and gone on with life, you continue to stew in your pain, perpetuating the past. Listen: Those who have hurt you in the past cannot continue to hurt you now unless you hold on to the pain through resentment. Your past is past! Nothing will change it. You are only hurting yourself with your bitterness. As children of God, and for your own sake, learn from it, and then let it go. To you husbands and wives, parents and children, friends to friends, you must learn how to forgive one another. There are some elders, and even husbands and wives, that are at logger heads due to little misunderstanding hat should be settled amicably. As Christians, you must try to forgive one another and move on with you lives.
Phillipians 3:13-14 - says: Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended, but this one thing I do. “Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth unto those things which are before”. You must press forward toward the goal of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
3. Many people are driven by fear: Their fears may be a result of a traumatic experience, unrealistic expectations, growing up in a high-control home, or even genetic predisposition. Regardless of the cause, fear-driven people often miss great opportunities because they are afraid to venture out. Instead they play it safe, avoiding risks and trying to maintain the status quo. Fear is a self-imposed prison that will keep you from becoming what God intends for you to be. You must move against it with the weapons of faith and love.
4. Many people are driven by materialism: Their desire to acquire becomes the whole goal of their lives. Possessions only provide temporary happiness. Self-worth and net worth are not the same. Your value is not determined by your valuables, and God says the most valuable things in life are not thing! Wealth can be lost instantly through a variety of uncontrollable factors. However, real security can only be found in that which can never be taken from you – i.e. your relationship with God.
5. Many people are driven by the need for approval. They allow the expectations of parents or spouses or children or teachers or friends to control their lives. Others are driven by peer pressure, always worried by what others might think. Unfortunately, as you may know, those who follow the crowd usually get lost in it. Nothing matters more than knowing God’s purposes for your life, and nothing can compensate for not knowing them. I don’t know all the keys to success, but one key to failure is to try to please everyone. Being controlled by the opinions of others is a guaranteed way to miss God’s purposes for your life. Without a purpose, life is trivial, petty, and pointless.
The Benefits of Purpose-Driven Living
There are 5 great benefits of living a purpose driven-life:
1. Knowing your purpose gives meaning to your life.: When life has meaning, you can bear almost anything; without it, nothing is bearable. Without God, life has no purpose, and without purpose, life has no meaning. Without meaning, life has no significance or hope. In the Bible, many different people expressed this hopelessness. Isaiah complained, “I have labored to no purpose; I have spent my strength in vain and for nothing.” Also, Job said, “My life drags by – day after hopeless day”, and I give up; I am tired of living. Leave me alone. My life makes no sense. Therefore, my dear brethrens, the greatest tragedy is not death, but life without purpose.If you have felt hopeless, hold on! God is telling you today that wonderful changes are going to happen to you as you begin to live your life on God’s purpose.
2. Knowing your purpose simplifies your life. Purpose-driven living leads to a simpler lifestyle and a saner schedule. It also leads to peace of mind. People who don’t know their purpose tend to do too much, and that causes stress, fatigue, and conflict.
3. Knowing your purpose focuses your life. When you focus your life, it concentrates your effort and energy on what is important. You become effective by being selective. It is human nature to get distracted by minor issues. Without a clear purpose, you will keep changing directions, jobs, relationships, churches, or other externals, hoping each change will settle the confusion or fill the emptiness in your heart, but it doesn’t solve your real problem, - which is, lack of focus and purpose.4. Knowing your purpose motivates your life: Purpose always produces passion. Nothing energizes like a clear purpose. On the other hand, passion dissipates when you lack a purpose. It is usually meaningless work, not overwork that wears us down, saps our strength, and robs our joy.
5. Knowing your purpose prepares you for eternity.
Many people spend their lives trying to create a lasting legacy on earth. We want to be remembered when we are gone. Yet, what ultimately matters most will not be what others say about you but what God says. We were not put on earth to be remembered. You were put here to prepare for eternity. Living to create an earthly legacy is a short-sighted goal. A wiser use of time is to build an eternal legacy. Remember, one day, you will stand before God, and He will do an audit of your life, which is the final exam, before you enter eternity. The Bible says, each of us will stand personally before the judgment throne of God to give a personal account to God. Fortunately, God wants us to pass this test, so He has given us the questions in advance. From the Bible we can surmise that God will ask two crucial questions.
First, What did you do with my son, Jesus Christ? God won’t ask about your religious background or doctrinal views. The only thing that will matter is, Did you accept what Jesus did for you, and did you learn to love and trust him? Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Second question God will ask is, what did you do with what I gave you? What did you do with your life – all the gifts, talents, opportunities, energy, relationships, and resources God gave you? Did you spend them on yourself, or did you use them for the purposes God made you for? Preparing you for these two questions is the goal of this sermon.
The first question will determine where you spend eternity. The second question will determine what you do in eternity. Remember that living on purpose is the path to peace.
While life on earth offers many choices, eternity offers only two: heaven or hell. Your relationship with God on earth will determine your relationship to him in eternity. If you learn to love and trust God’s son, Jesus Christ, you will be invited to spend the rest of eternity with Him. On the other hand, if you reject his love, forgiveness, and salvation, you will spend eternity apart from God for ever. This life is preparation for the next, and Life on earth is a temporary assignment.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, God is not promising you that there will not be tribulations along the way, but He has promised that when this such a time occurs, He will be with you all the days of your life, He will not leave you alone, and He said He will grant you the grace and the strength to be able to bear whatever problems that come your way. Today, being the last Sunday of the year 2008, God is giving you the assurance that He is going to prepare you, for His purpose and that you will see a spiritual transformation in your life from now till the end of your life.