Everyone has a purpose in life – even the wicked:
“The Lord has made everything [to accommodate itself and contribute] to its own end and His own purpose—even the wicked [are fitted for their role] for the day of calamity and evil” (Proverbs 16:4 Amp).
Many people overlook their own purpose or destinies while being amazed by others, such as Tim Tebow, who has been voted the most popular football player in the NFL. Unless you’ve been on the planet Pluto for the past eight years, you’ll know Tim was an All-American quarterback at the University of Florida. But he’s probably better known for his bold stance for Jesus Christ and “Tebowing,” taking a knee in front of thousands in the stands and millions watching on TV in honor and praise of his Lord and Savior.
Love him or leave him, everyone probably realizes that Tim had a destiny after being considered for abortion (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/1937804/posts). The pro-life commercial during a Super Bowl a few years ago, featuring Tim and his mother, got major attention. The pro-death people got all cranked up about it, while the pro-life crowd said, “Hallelujah!”
It’s hard not to argue that Tebow has a destiny, but so do you:
“Even as [in His love] He chose us [actually picked us out for Himself as His own] in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy (consecrated and set apart for Him) and blameless in His sight, even above reproach, before Him in love. For He foreordained us (destined us, planned in love for us) to be adopted (revealed) as His own children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the purpose of His will [because it pleased Him and was His kind intent]— [So that we might be] to the praise and the commendation of His glorious grace (favor and mercy), which He so freely bestowed on us in the Beloved” (Eph. 1:4-6, Amp).
I’ll leave the predestinarians and free will advocates to argue these verses, but it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to understand that God picked us out before the foundation of the world to conform us to the image of His Son Jesus because it pleased the Father to do so!
This is called destiny, plain and simple. If you’re a Christian, and even if your time hasn’t come yet, God’s got your number. What you do with this predetermination is up to you, as God’s plan is revealed to you.
The main thing, before we go on, is growing in the agape love of God until we see Him face to face. We definitely should show love to all but stand for the Word of God. In this agape kind of love of God, we learn to love God increasingly, and others as well as ourselves. This is the GREAT commandment of God:
One of the Pharisees asked Jesus, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments”(Matt. 22:34-40 NIV).
Dealing with destiny
Several questions should arise regarding this. 1) If God has a destiny for me, what is it? 2) What can I do about it? 3) If I’m trying to do something about it, what’s my problem with entering into it?
Question #1: What’s God’s destiny for you?
If you’re reading this, and you’re not saved – you have not repented for your sins and are living outside God’s will and you know it, you must receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. You should receive a “tug” from the Holy Spirit about giving your life to Christ. Maybe you’re in church when this happens but maybe not. The main thing is repenting, believing in Christ and receiving His forgiveness:
“But as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:12, ASV).
Question #2: What can you do about it?
If you’re a believer, plenty! You’ve now been justified (made right in God’s sight) and are being sanctified (set apart) in your walk with God. Your desire should be to know all about Him, know Him as intimately as possible, and receive from Him everything He has purchased for you and promised you in His Word. The tools to do this are more available to you that ever before.
“Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen” (2 Pet. 3:17, NIV).
The Greek word used for knowledge in the above verse is gin?sko. It means to know, understand, comprehend, perceive and recognize. Growing in the knowledge of Jesus Christ is a full-time job! If you are a slacker in your pursuit of fully comprehending all God has for you and WHO Jesus is, you are not growing up as a Christian. Hebrews 5:12 says if you’ve been in the faith a while and you still have to have someone teach you the elementary things of the faith, you need to change your ways!
“By this time you ought to be teachers yourselves, yet here I find you need someone to sit down with you and go over the basics on God again, starting from square one – baby’s milk, when you should have been on solid food long ago!” (The Message)
Just going up or growing up?
In my life I’ve seen many “kinds” of Christians. There’s the “Saved and Satisfied.” These people have “fire insurance” but have no real desire to know the One who saved them from the fire. They attend church, read their Bible some and pray a little. Their true knowledge of God is elementary and will likely remain that way until they’re toes up.
The people in the second group, “Serious and Searching,” are growing in the Lord, albeit slowly, because they may lack real hunger for the kingdom. They witness some, read their Bible faithfully, rarely miss church but are missing out on the vast riches of His grace, preferring instead more worldly pursuits like making more money or gaining recognition in their community. Most often the people in this group have never been filled with the Holy Spirit, who opens wide the door to all kinds of amazing kingdom treasures. It’s also possible they have been baptized in the Holy Spirit but are still pursuing more earthly treasures that heavenly ones.
Last, we have the “Seen it and Still Starving.” These dear people remind me of the old Pillsbury “Hungry Jack” commercial in which the mama calls “Hongry Jack” (a giant) to the table and places biscuits as big as Texas in front of him. These people have “seen” the Lord Jesus and want all He’s got for them! They have an unquenchable thirst for more of the living water, understanding they’ve just scratched the surface of a room full of diamonds, pearls and precious gemstones. These folks will go through any kind of pain and difficulty to know just a little bit more of what the Word has to say or experiencing the amazing power of the Holy Spirit. Arnold Schwarzenegger starred in a movie many moons ago called “Stay Hungry.” That pretty much describes the people in this group.
Are all fulfilling their destinies?
I seriously doubt it since the Word commands us to “hunger and thirst for righteousness sake,” “seek first the kingdom of God,” and 47 other commands of Christ not to mention everything that’s written in the New Testament. One thing is certain: If you have little desire and no discipline, you will have little or no delight in the things of God. I will pass on who’s fulfilling their destinies and who’s not and leave that up to the Father, but I want to focus the last part of this article on those who really desire to know more of God and to fulfill their destinies but aren’t finding them.
Christians can take a lot detours on the road to their destinies and sometimes fail to get back on the main road. There is a myriad of detour makers. In the parable of the sewer, Jesus named several, such as the Word being choked out of us because we can care too much for the world:
“…but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful” (Mark 4:19 NIV).
Other things like becoming offended by the church or its members can also make us turn up the wrong road. It’s good to keep in mind we’re primarily serving Jesus and not the church. Jesus said “offenses will come,” but if we remember to focus on Him and not our offences it will help keep us headed in the right direction.
Question #3: If I’m trying to do something about it, what’s my problem with entering into my destiny?
This is a tough question since everyone is different and at different stages, but let’s consider a few things. Destiny to a lot of people means they feel they were “called to be” a fireman, a policeman, an actress, a teacher or a star in the NFL. All good, but these involve a career or vocational destiny and not necessarily the fulfillment of a spiritual destiny. They may be one and the same but maybe not. Actually, you could do all these things well but not fulfill the main destiny that God has for you. The Apostle Paul summed up that destiny this way:
“But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead” (Phil 3:7-11 NIV).
Paul called the world’s treasures “skubala”
There’s so much in this to try to bring out here, but understand that all Paul had experienced in his loss of worldly toys, acclaim and prestige, for knowing the “surpassing greatness of Jesus,” he called “skubala.” This Greek word here is often translated “garbage,” as in the NIV translation above, but it is actually the “S” word we use to describe human or animal excrement! He said, “I want to “know Him” (3:10.) It’s the Greek word “Ginosko,” which is a Jewish idiom for the word “intercourse.” The same way Adam knew Eve and Eve conceived; it implies intimacy. God wants us to know Him intimately!
The spiritual destiny, among other things, is a desire to lose our love of “things” to “know” the deeper love for and of Jesus. As we do, we will also call other things “skubala.” This is first base in the discovery of spiritual destiny. Entering into and attaining this destiny, you will find “many dangers, toils and snares.” Losing your self-life to find Christ in a deeper life experience ain’t for cowards!
Based on all we’ve talked about here, you’re feeling, “Ok, I’m there, but I keep feeling like I almost get there, and then the bottom falls out!” By definition, this type of malaise is a sickness of heart when you think you’ve missed God’s purpose for your life. Symptoms of destiny malaise include shoulder-slumping fatigue or overly dramatic emotionalism. Trying harder doesn’t get you there. However, identifying causes of the malaise can. Consider several things: 1) Rebellion against life, which usually starts at the beginning of life; 2) Too much of an independent spirit; 3) Unwillingness to sacrifice the “good” for the best; 4) Trauma that inhibits belief that should agree with spiritual desire; 5) Stubbornness; 6) Curses
- Rebellion against life – This is much more prevalent than you think. Some people are born “mad” at the world. Things go wrong in the womb, words of rejection are heard, or the baby in the womb experiences physical abuse or some other trauma. This is sometimes called inutero wounding. There’s plenty of scientific evidence for this. This kind of rejection, although sometimes “stuffed” by the seeker of Jesus, manages to thwart this one from moving forward to the full realization. He or she may stay “mad” all their lives not really knowing why!
- Solution: Rebellion against life must be repented of. As long as this remains part of your life, you will feel like an “alien” – like you don’t belong. Some people do all they know to “follow hard after the Lord,” but never come to a place of peace and confirmation that says, “Hey, I’m home.” Have someone who’s gifted in the Lord to pray for your release from this captivity.
- Too much of an independent spirit – Americans, in particular, worship at the altar of independence. This doesn’t work in the kingdom of God, which is interdependent. People who understand the function of the Body of Christ know they need others to become all they are meant to be in Christ. Let me say it more emphatically – God will not allow you to experience your full destiny without His church! Wounded people often tend toward an independent spirit, pushing away others who need them or vice versa.
- Solution: Some people think having an independent spirit is just their nature. “It’s just the way I am,” they might say. Well, in the natural sense, most everything we do goes against what the Bible and the Holy Spirit tell us! The Scripture is clear on this. Church is not regularly watching or listening to religious broadcasting at the expense of being in church! If you’re an invalid or you do this for some other valid reason, ok. This is not to imply legalism that gets you brownie points for going to church. However, the Body of Christ has members, and you are one. Being a part of this mystical body calls for submission and learning how to bind together with other believers. A Christian floating around by himself/herself is a diabolical disaster waiting to happen, especially today when the days are evil. The answer is to find a church that preaches and teaches the whole counsel of God and get under an authority structure in that church. Learn to serve others, share your gifts and find your place.
- Unwillingness to sacrifice the “good” for the best – A lot of people “go for the gusto” and focus their time and investment in life on pure enjoyment. They read good books but not the best ones. The best books will be those that help make you more like Jesus. Quite honestly, those may not be books by best-selling Christian authors. Face it: Writing Christian books that call people to a much higher calling and sacrificial living usually won’t sell to the masses. You may be thinking, “I’m not sure what the good is from the best.” My answer: Ask and God will show you.
- Solution: As you hunger and thirst for righteousness sake, you will find that what used to satisfy you as a Christian, be it a church, a certain teacher/s or a doctrinal point of view that doesn’t necessarily line up with the Bible you read, no longer satisfies you and will push you forward into more of Jesus, and consequently, more of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God. He was left on this earth to empower us and bring us into intimacy with Jesus and the Father. You cannot have the intimacy you desire without deepening your relationship with the Holy Spirit.
- Trauma that inhibits belief that should agree with spiritual desire –Trauma in life – at anytime – acts as a hindrance because the brain refuses to acknowledge the pain. It’s done its job of trying to protect us from the event, but in so doing, negativity is locked away in a part of the brain so that it can’t believe. Faith requires hearing the Word of God (Rom. 10:17), which is received by the heart and spirit and activated by the mouth (Rom. 10:9-10). But the brain plays a part in the agreement as well. If you’re brain can’t agree, most often faith can’t be fully activated. Therefore, a desire to move forward toward our destiny can be blocked by an event that we can’t totally recall.
- Solution: You need inner healing. This means realizing Jesus has healed your past, no matter what has happened to you. Jesus Christ died on the cross to heal you spirit, soul and body. He knows your every hurt and need, and if you call to Him, He will meet you where you are, but you have to reach out to Him. Trauma, in particular, can damage the mind in such a way that it leaves blocks that need to be removed. There are many ways of healing trauma. Besides powerful prayer for inner healing and applying the Word, various psychological means can make a difference, too. For example, Eye Movement Desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) can help “rewire” the brain to think more positively. I recommend my friend Susan Brunson to help you overcome trauma in the mind. You can find her on linkedin – http://www.linkedin.com/pub/susan-brunson/12/474/1b0
- Stubbornness – The Bible is clear that “stubbornness is like idolatry” (1 Sam. 15:22-23). Stubbornness is like idolatry in that you are putting YOUR way above God’s, refusing to submit to His authority in you life and seeking your own will. Idolatry is anything you put before God. When it comes to spiritual destiny, nothing can stand in your way like digging your heals in and “doing life” your own way. Your way may not be God’s way, and if not, how can He lead you to your destiny if He has predetermined what He wants you to be and do?
- Solution: If you cannot be led, have an unteachable spirit and find yourself “kicking against the goads,” as Paul did, you’re stubborn. Submission, which really means putting yourself under the protection of another, is the opposite of stubbornness. Flexibility is one way to overcome stubbornness; being flexible allows you to adapt yourself to circumstances that may intervene in your life. If you “must win” every time a choice is to be made, you’re stubborn. Often God will interrupt your previous choices and tell you to go a different route. Overcoming stubbornness could save your life.
- Curses – The Bible speaks of many kinds of curses: verbal, ancestral or generational curses, curses from sinful involvement, witchcraft curses and self-imposed curses through self-condemnation. It would take too long to address these, but consider whether there’s a possibility that you have not been able to break through to your destiny because of this. Curses are much more prevalent that most Christians believe.
- Solution: Jesus became a curse for us when He died on the cross:
“But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree” (Gal. 3:13 NIV).
Curses aren’t automatically removed when we become believers. Jesus legally purchased us power for freedom from curses, but in some situations it is necessary to break curses through repentance and renunciation.
I have listed just a few reasons why our destiny may elude us. Everyone has to determine where they are regarding their destiny. The truth of the matter is we all have a destiny given to us by the Lord. Ultimately, only God and you may know for sure whether your destiny is being fulfilled. It’s my prayer that you’ll reach yours!