Purpose in the 167

February 11, 2020 | Jaci Miller

I used to think I knew what my purpose was. As a teen, be a good student. After graduation, it became “care for children.” Be a writer. Then, teach children about Jesus through writing. Love my nieces and nephews well. And in some phases … simply survive. To breathe in and out, frequently.

Purpose seemed to exist in a state of flux. Like debris in a swirling cyclone, the pieces often touched each other, but the ebb and flow of them left me wondering, “I thought X was my purpose. What happened?”

Because children grow up. Professional diaper duty gets old. Publishers reject manuscripts. Dreams change, maybe even die. 

Did that mean those things weren’t my purpose for those times? I had to wonder, is my earthly purpose supposed to be one task for all my days?

Maybe something sturdier than spinning debris is meant to underpin purpose.

John 14:21 says, “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

Beneath a procession of abilities, interests and career choices lies obedience. Obedience born of love for Jesus. Obedience, which lines us up with God’s plans and purposes.

When our dreams and career goals end, have our purposes ended as well? No, because purpose should never have been tied to them in the first place. God asks obedience of us, not success.

Since purpose is tied to lovingly obeying God, then we can let go when God says to let go. Almost as if He’s saying, “The time for obeying in this area has ended. I want you to obey in a new area now.” And when we do, Scripture says we’ll experience His love, a revelation of Himself. 

1 John 2:5 tells us, “But if anyone obeys His word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in Him: Whoever claims to live in Him must live as Jesus did.”

Perhaps the manifestations of my obedience have changed throughout the years. God no longer asks me to pass final exams. Sometimes inhaling and exhaling still prove challenging. I continue to wipe backsides and read Bible stories (though not simultaneously!)

In the 167 hours outside of church, my purpose is obedience to the One who loves me. I can’t control what happens outside my obedience. That’s God’s jurisdiction. But I can be faithful to what He has asked of me.

How is God asking you to obey today?