Finding God’s Purpose In The Things We Hate Most

God’s purpose is often found in places we don’t want to look for it. We want to find God’s purpose in the pages of Scripture, in our comfortable pew at church or in the lessons of being generous to others. But God’s purposes are usually not revealed that way.

So often, God’s purpose is found in the uncomfortable things we experience in life. God’s purpose will always need faith and faith must always be tested.

I. God’s Purpose Is Found In Suffering

We see throughout Scripture that God used suffering to draw people closer to Him. He used suffering to reveal Himself and His power. Through suffering God has changed both hearts and nations.

Because we live in a fallen word, suffering is something we will all experience. Through our suffering, we may find an opportunity to build a bridge for others to cross over. Our experience in suffering will become a part of our testimony. Our testimony gives us opportunity to encourage or strengthen others through their suffering. 

While God does concern Himself with our suffering, what He is most interested in is our response to suffering. Suffering is rarely our choice, but our response to suffering is! Our suffering will accomplish one of two things; it will draw us closer to, or drive us further from Him. 

Suffering is rarely our choice, but our response to suffering is! Click To Tweet

Can you think of someone whose relationship with God grew deeper through the pain of cancer, chronic illness or other types of suffering? Strangely, in the end, they seemed almost thankful for it.

II. God’s Purpose Is Found In Trials

Though it is similar to suffering, trials are more emotional than physical. A trial can be a financial crisis, loss of a loved one, divorce, employment struggles or you fill in the blank.

While many of the trials we struggle through are self-inflicted, at times God allows trials to enter our lives. See the book of Job for a worst-case scenario. 

As His children, God will never leave us where we, especially spiritually. He wants us to grow because it’s unacceptable for us to be stagnant in our walk with Him. One way He will move us to the next level spiritually is through trials.

King David spent time hiding in a cave. The disciples found themselves in a big storm in a small boat. Paul was shipwrecked not once but three times!

Trials will eventually put us in the place where we must depend on Him.

III. God’s Purpose Is Found In Waiting

Waiting is probably the most difficult way to find God’s purpose. The worst part of waiting is the silence from Heaven. The greatest suffering Jesus endured was God turning His back on Him while He was on the cross.

When we are waiting, the silence makes us feel like God has abandoned us. But we have God’s promise that He will NEVER abandon us or forsake us.

Hebrews 13:5 …I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

But…

We have been told that God’s purpose in having us wait is that He is preparing something better. God has a purpose, even in waiting.

Is it possible that God’s purpose is nothing more than to grow you closer to Him?

I wish there was a one size fits all answer to finding God’s purpose in these three events. But there is not. All three events require greater faith and greater trust. God desires no other response from us, because that is His purpose!

What has God taught you through suffering, trials or waiting? Use your testimony as a bridge for others and share a comment with us. If you know someone this blog might be helpful to, please share it with them.

How To Life A Life Free Of Selfishness

Selfishness is a ruthless taskmaster that sucks the joy from your life. Selfishness is being devoted to caring only for oneself, and being concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, or welfare, regardless of others.
 
Photo of people displaying selfishness
 
The words from the video clip stung, “I have been the most selfish person to ever live…” The next point in the pastor’s message was, “It’s Not About You.”
 
I suspected I may have an issue when half my family pointed at me and laughed. I know it’s not all about me, but what everyone fails to understand is – I want it to be!
 
Anyone there with me? The problem is, making it all about you requires us to exert a great deal of selfishness.
 
Selfishness is a dysfunctional family. It’s next of kin are greed, bitterness, anger, and depression. Living a life filled with selfishness is a fantastic way to be miserable.
 
So how do we beat the selfishness that dwells within us?

I. Selfishness Flees When You Are Thankful 

It is very difficult to be selfish and thankful at the same time. The next time you find yourself slipping into selfishness, try being thankful for something.
 
In addition, thankfulness is the Will of God.
 
I Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
 
You must develop the habit of being thankful. One blogger recommended that you journal three things you are thankful for each morning during your devotion time. If you don’t have a quiet time you need to start one because selfishness is best fought with truth!

II. Selfishness Fades When You Serve Others

There is a trap in serving others – it is possible to serve selfishly. Serving others never needs a press release!
 
We can find glory and pride in serving others, especially if you tend to love being in the spotlight. It’s hard to swallow, but remember serving others is not about you… please don’t hate me, this is hard for me as well.
 
You need to look for a way of serving that will not benefit you in any way, other than the reward of serving others. Go scoop soup at the local homeless shelter, slip the homeless guy on the corner a cheeseburger, stay and help cleanup the church after everyone has gone home.
 
Mark 9:41 For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.
 
Is it possible the cure for your selfishness is as simple as humility?

III. Selfishness Fails When You Kill The Monster

“Be careful or the green-eyed monster will get you!” Wise words spoken by my Mother-In-Law many years ago. When you set your eyes on something that someone else has whether it be success, possessions or status, that desire will quickly begin to work through your selfish nature and the monster begins to grow.
All selfishness wants from you is a little more regardless of the cost. Selfishness is never satisfied or content.
 
The Bible calls this consuming desire for more, covetousness and God knew it would be a big deal in your life which is why He made it one of the Big 10!
 
Exodus 20:17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.
 
The best weapon to fight the green-eyed monster is contentment. When we recognize and are satisfied with all that God has blessed us with, selfishness will not survive. Contentment is a byproducts of the thankfulness we talked about earlier.
 
How do you recognize and deal with selfishness? Share a comment below or share this post with someone who might benefit from it.

Are We Presenting The Gospel As An Opportunity Or A Sales Goal?

We have probably all had the opportunity to sit through a high-pressure sales pitch. Someone was trying to sell us something and doing everything in their power to convince us we needed it!

Salesmen in line for opportunity to sell something.

I ask this with some hesitancy, but how many of us have ever felt that way about sharing the Gospel? Do we approach the opportunity to present the Gospel like we are guilting someone into buying insurance, and it’s our responsibility to close the deal? When did it become our job to do the Holy Spirit’s work?

What if we approached the Gospel from a different perspective? The difference between a sales pitch and an opportunity is the response. A sales pitch is resisted at all costs. An opportunity is something we to be a part of.

What if we stopped looking at the Gospel as something we are trying to sell, and presented it as a tremendous opportunity?

John 3:14-18 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

To understand these verses we have to look to the Old Testament.

See Numbers 21:5-9

We still see the lifted-up serpent on a cross to this day. It’s the universal symbol of emergency medical and rescue.

It’s a corny illustration, but the fiery serpent of sin has bitten each of us, and the bite is fatal!

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Salvation from the serpent’s bite cost the Israelites nothing. All they had to do was take the opportunity to look and believe.

For us, it’s a little more complicated, but not really, when we understand the opportunity.

This brings us back to our text and the opportunity it presents.

Because of God’s love for us, “God so loved the world.” He presented us all with the opportunity of forgiveness for sin that condemns us.

As sinners the deal’s done, we are condemned already, but that’s where the opportunity is found.

We must present:

The Opportunity To Be Forgiven

We are talking about every sin that has condemned you, every sin you have ever committed being washed away. God has promised to remember those sins no more!

The Opportunity To Be Changed

The Gospel is the opportunity to no longer be defined by our past. The Bible calls us a new creature in Christ.

The Gospel is the opportunity to no longer be defined by our past. Click To Tweet

The Opportunity To Be Loved

We do not need to have any fear of God doing us wrong. God’s love is a permanent deal!

We are talking about being a part of something bigger than our own lives. As we grow in faith and faithfulness, we will have the opportunity to impact the lives of others.

Because of what Jesus did on the cross, when we look to Him, when we accept the gift He offers, when we leave this world, Heaven will be our home eternally.

We have the opportunity to spend eternity in a place where there is no sorrow, no tears, no sickness, no poverty, no stress, no death, no sin what so ever.

Why would someone not take advantage of an opportunity like that and why would we not want to share it with them?