Day 30 ~ The Purpose Driven Life ~ Shaped for Serving God
Knowing who you are as Christian is starting at the very beginning.
“for you have been born again, that is, re-born from above spiritually transformed, renewed, and set apart for his purpose not of seed which is perishable but from that which is imperishable and immortal, that is, through the living and everlasting word of God.” 1 Peter 1:23 (adapted from the Amplified Bible)
When we embark on a journey, it is a measure of resources that determines the extent of our capacity and ability to fulfil the individual sections of the journey that will get us to our destination.
The analogy is similar to travelling long distances by car, we need to know how much fuel we have, have some idea of the amount of time the journey will take by knowing the speed we will travel at, the characteristics of the car and the nature and obstacles offered by the road will all form part of how we approach and prepare for the journey. Having a better knowledge of our car, how far it will travel on a full tank of petrol, how much load it will carry, the better we will be able to plan. In this chapter, Day 30, Rick Warren is convincing you of the all-sufficiency of God to have planned who you are in the greatest detail. The problem I see here is do you know who you are?
“Our old life was a lie, foreign and incomplete of our design! The garments that we wore as a disguise are now thoroughly stripped off in our understanding of our union with Christ in his death and resurrection. We are no longer obliged to live under the identity and rule of the robes we wore before, neither are we now cheating anyone through false presentations. The garments we wore as actors in the world defined our part in the play but did not define us.
We now stand fully identified in a new creation, renewed in the knowledge according to the pattern of the exact image of our Creator.
The revelation of Christ in us gives identity to the individual beyond anything anyone could ever be as an American or African, foreign or famous, male or female, king or pawn. From now on everyone is defined by Christ; everyone is represented in Christ. In seeing Christ not just recorded in history but revealed through us we discover the face of our birth. (James 1:18)
You are the product of God’s love; he has restored you to his original thought. You belong to him exclusively. It is like changing garments. Now that you have gotten rid of the old, clothe yourselves with the inner compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, upholding one another in positive expectation.
If anyone finds fault with another, display the grace that you have been afforded, remembering how the Lord’s forgiveness has transformed our lives.
Wear love like a uniform; this is what completes the picture of our oneness.” Colossians 3:9–14 , Para – adapted from the Mirror Bible.
Having a vision of yourself looking in the mirror of Christ. Christianity in the true sense of the word is a continual reflection of who you are, measured against the true image of Christ.
Our journey is knowing the truth about ourselves.
When we have accepted Christ our first and foremost Spiritual gift is to display the fact that we have changed course and now stand as a pillar of Christ (for Christ) in the spaces that we normally occupy in our environment. By implication because we are now part of the order of Christ we have to take up our position as a living brick in the church of Christ.
Going to church ( or ecclesia ) is for you to enjoy fellowship with other Christians but also to be fellowship to others. You being at church or ecclesia of Christians reinforces their belief as well. You never know who is watching and will silently follow your lead. Never underestimate your status as an ambassador of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20) and the symbolism you portray to those around you.
Paul in Romans 1:11-12 when he writes “I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong – that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” is highlighting Spiritual presence will be mutually exchanged in an ecclesia of resonant Christian faith.
Your passion will drive you to perfection, this is true in finding your core giftings and in the way you will serve God as part of his church.
“Physically, each of us has a unique heartbeat. Just as we each have unique thumbprints, eye prints, and voice prints, our hearts beat in slightly different patterns. It’s amazing that out of all the billions of people who have ever lived, no one has had a heartbeat exactly like yours.
In the same way, God has given each of us a unique emotional “heartbeat” that races when we think about the subjects, activities, or circumstances that interest us. We instinctively care about some things and not about others. These are clues to where you should be serving.
Another word for heart is passion. There are certain subjects you feel passionate about and others you couldn’t care less about. Some experiences turn you on and capture your attention while others turn you off or bore you to tears. These reveal the nature of your heart.
When you were growing up, you may have discovered that you were intensely interested in some subjects that no one else in your family cared about. Where did those interests come from? They came from God. God had a purpose in giving you these inborn interests. Your emotional heartbeat is the second key to understanding your shape for service. Don’t ignore your interests. Consider how they might be used for God’s glory. There is a reason that you love to do these things.
Repeatedly the Bible says to “serve the Lord with all your heart.” ( Deuteronomy 11:13 ; 1 Samuel 12:20 ; Romans 1:9 ; Ephesians 6:6 ) God wants you to serve him passionately, not dutifully. People rarely excel at tasks they don’t enjoy doing or feel passionate about. God wants you to use your natural interests to serve him and others. Listening for inner promptings can point to the ministry God intends for you to have.
How do you know when you are serving God from your heart? The first telltale sign is enthusiasm. When you are doing what you love to do, no one has to motivate you or challenge you or check up on you. You do it for the sheer enjoyment. You don’t need rewards or applause or payment, because you love serving in this way. The opposite is also true: When you don’t have a heart for what you’re doing, you are easily discouraged.
The second characteristic of serving God from your heart is effectiveness. Whenever you do what God wired you to love to do, you get good at it. Passion drives perfection. If you don’t care about a task, it is unlikely that you will excel at it. In contrast, the highest achievers in any field are those who do it because of passion, not duty or profit.” Rick Warren writes under the heading SHAPE: Listening to Your Heart. (Adapted from “The Purpose Driven Life” Rick Warren )(PDL – Rick ©)
Exploring your Spiritual Gifts and natural talents is a worthwhile journey and more often than not will surprise you. At Restore Community church we have an excellent course based purely on this journey which I would recomend highly. It is the Living Free Course ; http://restorecc.org.uk/whats-on/livingfree/
One of the resources which are a good study is “Discovering Your Spiritual Gifts” by C. Peter Wagner.
You can find more than 50 quotations on how the Bible defines who you are in Christ. Joyce Meyer has a great collection of these;
Know who you are in Christ ; From Joyce Meyer’s Ministries ; http://www.joycemeyer.org/articles/ea.aspx?article=knowing_who_i_am_in_christ