PASTORS' DAILY DEVOTIONAL
A Purposeful LifeJohn Tilton
Philippians 2:12-16 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,for it is God who works in youto will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.Do everything without grumblingor arguing,so that you may become blamelessand pure, “children of Godwithout fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the skyas you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christthat I did not runor labor in vain.
I love the fact that according to the scriptures, obedience includes an understanding of God's purpose. We often read about the importance of obedience to God. In understanding that obedience includes understanding God's purpose, one is able to be focused, strategic, intentional and perseverant. Knowing God's purpose gives one clarity in one's assignment and calling. Paul and Timothy go on to teach that obedience according to God's purpose should be done even when one is not noticed for their works, or will probably not get recognition, but rather doing what God calls one to do knowing that one is fulfilling God's purpose. Knowing that one is being obedient to God's purpose can then prevent a spirit of grumbling or conflict, as grumbling and conflict usually arises out of self and pride rather then knowing that one is fulfilling God's purpose. It's knowing the right assignment ... God's assignment rather then one's consignments. Accolades, if and when they do come will be a blessing of affirmation, but not one's motivation, goal or purpose.
I wonder how often I allow my selfish desires, needs and pride to cause me to forget God's purpose in my life, family and ministry. The concerning fact is how often do I not even see that what I think is my purpose or assignment has been grayed and redirected by my own desires and needs, over God's call and assignment. Perhaps even my lack of obedience can be found in my taking focus off of God's purposes. I think back of when I've had to deal with a grumbling spirit as a result of an assignment or responsibility, only to realize that what sparked that spirit was my purposes and pride before God's. In fact, it seems that it is often a natural propensity to think of me before God, as in, "what will I realize or get" or "how will I be affected rather then how I will be effective for God." These scripures are a great reminder for me to address assignments, responsibilities and my daily activities in terms of what is God's purpose in the matter. I think that a natural outflow of putting God first will be success, whether it be what He has assigned me to do coming to fruition, or how He is growing me.
Dear Lord, please guide me to keep your purposes alive and aflame in my life, my thoughts, my decisions and my actions, so that I can be clear, focused, strategic, intentional, perseverant and obedient in serving you.