Psalm 17:3: You have tried my heart, you have visited me by night, you have tested me, and you will find nothing; I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress. (ESV)
A man of purpose is a man on a mission. Jesus said: I must work the work of him who calls me while it is day, the night comes when no man can work (John 9:1-5). That thought shows us the components of purpose.
There has to be timing (while it is day), there has to be a sense of calling (the work of him who calls me) and there must be a motivation (I must).
Jesus said that he needed to work while it is day. He does not have all the time in the world to do everything he needed to do, so he moved with urgency. He did not have all the time in the world, and he had a lot to do.
He told his parents: do you not know that I have to go about my father’s business (Luke 2:49)? He sent a message to Herod. God tell that fox, I cast out devil and perform cures today and tomorrow, but on the third day I will be perfected (Luke 13:32). He was conscious of divine timing.
At a specific time, he went to be baptised by John and afterwards baptised with the Holy Spirit. Soon after his miracles made him a household name, but he refused to be distracted because by fame, he understood that he was setting out on a journey to the cross. And he needed to get moving.
His understanding of the importance of timing in the execution of purpose was highlighted in the issue of the death of Lazarus (John 11). He was asked to come and heal him when he was sick, but he was aware that the purpose of God will be better served if he is raised for the dead than if he is healed, so he allowed him to die before going.
While Mary and Martha, Lazarus sisters, were sad that he did not come earlier, he was firmly focused on the will of God though he shared their grief. He was not moved by emotion, or the pressure of the moment but by divine timing. He raised him up from the dead after four days in the grave, with more glory going to God.
The bible says that there is a time for everything, and a season for every purpose under the heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1). The bible says that Jesus was born in the fullness of time (Galatians 4:4). And he came to fulfil a predefined purpose. It is the purpose of God to bring the children of Israel to the land of promise, there is the specific timeline that God gave Abraham that that will happen from the time when they get to Egypt (Genesis 15).
When Jesus’ brothers said that he should go the feast in Jerusalem (John 7:1-8), he told them that his time has not come. For them, anytime is alright, but he had to live differently, he had to live with precision.
When we realise that timing is a component of divine purpose, we would put in hard work at the right time with the right tactics to get the needed result. Goal-setting forces you to find more effective ways to get to your goals as the quickest time possible.
Timing gives you focus, and without tying you goals to time, you will get sloppy and be ineffective. Jesus woke up one day and went to pray. But the disciples said he should attend to the many people who wanted his attention. But he said that he needed to go to other villages also, and off he went, ignoring those who were looking for him (Mark 1:30-38).
He was not controlled by the demands of the people, but by the timing of his purpose, he was focused on specific objectives within the constraint of time.
Purpose is not just about timing, but also about calling. What have you been called to do? What is the assignment you have been given or are you a copycat?
There are several people in the bible with a strong sense of call. Abraham entered into the purpose of God when he acted on divine instruction to move from his father’s house to a place where he would be shown. It was not something he would choose in his own (Genesis 12:1-5). It was a calling.
Paul would not choose to be the preacher and teacher of the Gentile in truth (1Timothy 2:7). That was his calling and it determined the direction he went.
He had the confidence needed to execute his assignment because he knows it was chosen for him, and he recognised that he had a surplus supply of grace for that (1Timothy 1:12-14). The bible says: the Lord will choose our inheritance for us, the excellence of Jacob whom he loves (Psalm 47:4).
Jesus was called to be the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29). He did not make the journey to the cross just because it is a good idea, but because it is God’s commandment.
There is a work God has designed for you from the foundation of the world (Ephesians 2:10). God told Jeremiah: before you were in your mother’s womb I knew you and made you a prophet to the nations (Jeremiah 1:1-2). He was equipped for that purpose because he was divinely called into it. His calling came with divine equipment, with God saying that he has put his word in his mouth. Paul was called an apostle and he said that the signs of an apostle were done in the midst of the people through him (2Corinthians 12:12).
This is what moves you, in time, in the direction of the fulfilment of the call. It links together the first two components of purpose. Without the needed motivation, the time will lapse and the calling will not have been actualised. Paul challenged Archippus to ensure he fulfil the ministry he had from God (Colossians 4:17). He wanted him to stay motivated.
When God called the children of Israel to leave for the Promised Land (calling); that was to happen shortly (time) after leaving Israel. But they found themselves unmotivated to take the steps necessary to possess the land. They actually wanted to go back to Egypt.
They were demotivated, discouraged by the negative words from those who have been there as spies to bring word back to them (Numbers 14). The challenge is: whose report would you believe (Isaiah 53:1)? Some trust in chariots or horses, but who will you trust (Psalm 20:7)?
Do you believe the word of God, that your work will be rewarded (2Chroniccles 15:7)? We need to maintain the pure and right motivation, it will keep us on the narrow road to the kingdom of God (Matthew 17:11-14).
- Lord Jesus Crucified (franciscanflowers.wordpress.com)
- Call me an Extremist (histruthwillsetyoufree.wordpress.com)
- “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit”: Readings for the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord… (thesacredpage.com)