It seems we all search for meaning. We have this desire to live meaningful lives. We want to understand the meaning of suffering in our lives. Victor Frankl, who endured the harsh reality of a Nazi concentration camp observed, “We can endure any ‘How’ of life if we have a ‘Why'”. (Man’s Search for Meaning) But so often, it seems the ‘Why’ eludes us, so we keep searching.
The Holy Spirit doesn’t convict us of our eternal condition and prompt us to turn to Jesus to be ‘saved’ only to live our lives much the same as before. Such a decision involves making a swap, the old self for a new one, the old desires and ambitions for new ones. We aren’t offered an eternal insurance policy so we can go on living dangerously as before. We were called to change and become “new creations.” We see that in the disciples who dropped everything in order to follow Jesus. They were called to a new and higher purpose.
Jesus tells us there is a cost to following him that involves denying ourselves, picking up our cross, and following him wherever he goes…even to the cross. Following him requires swapping our self-seeking purpose in life for his purpose. And it’s a good purpose for living life well, in peace and harmony. But it requires a change in our plans, our lifestyles, and our habits.
Following Jesus also challenges us to change our beliefs and purpose in life, even our purpose for this very day. Society tells us to check off our organized to-do list, get ahead, grab what we can, build ourselves up, accumulate possessions, enjoy pursue happiness at all costs, live in comfort, even luxury. Scripture teaches that God’s plan and purpose for us is to be humble and generous, putting other’s interests before our own, living sacrificially, God-centered not self-centered.
Seeking first the kingdom of God requires that we seek his purpose for our lives. God’s purpose for us isn’t fame or fortune. And I don’t know anyone who willingly chooses cancer, chronic pain, rejection, or loneliness as their purpose in life. But God has a purpose for us to live as fully his even in those conditions.
Abraham was ‘fully persuaded’ that God was able to do what he had promised, and lived according to God’s purpose. Following Jesus requires a purpose in living that also is fully persuaded that God’s plan is better than our own.
Being fully persuaded means that even our small choices demonstrate whether we are following him or going our own way. Choices like becoming frustrated at small things or practicing patience; criticizing others or encouraging them. When God reveals his truth in our lives it illuminates his purpose for us. And this always requires making adjustments to how we think and act and how we see our purpose. Seek a great purpose in living today, one filled with meaning and eternal reward.
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.”