Living our spiritual purpose is a simple matter of surrender and obedience. Knowing that God has purpose in everything brings peace, no matter where we are.
For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14)
We can only imagine what Esther must have thought or felt. As a Jewess, it’s unlikely that desired to be married to a gentile, yet she had no choice. Add to this the fact that her husband was the most powerful man in the known world, who reputedly ruled with an iron hand, her married life must have brought all kinds of stress she would much rather have done without. Yet this young Jewish girl learned a critically important spiritual truth – power and privilege come with spiritual purpose.
We are always part of a bigger picture – God’s spiritual purpose.
While life and the world may push the ‘it’s all about me’ philosophy, the real truth is that we are simply pieces in a much bigger picture. We cannot and do not live in a vacuum, isolated in our own little bubble. Everything we do or say affects others, and they in turn affect us. Our lives are a chain of situations and circumstances that often are not of our making. No matter what or who we are, we play a part in God’s spiritual purpose in the world.
This becomes especially true when we encounter things we simply do not understand. They defy logic and reason. They may even seem to contradict God’s Word, both Logos and Rhema. They bring us to our knees, confuse us, and challenge us, and faith that He will work all things to our good is sometimes the only thing that keeps us hanging on. I have no doubt that Esther endured many crises of faith when she was thrust unwillingly into a place of privilege and power that she did not seek. Fortunately, she had a Mordecai who was able to remind her of her place in God’s bigger spiritual purpose.
God’s spiritual purpose makes our position no accident.
If we’re living in surrender and obedience to the Word and the leading of the Spirit, we can take this truth to the bank: our current position, whatever it is, is right where God wants and needs us. At face value, Esther might seem to have had ‘it all’ – pampered, waited on, showered with material possessions, etc. Yet her position was a tenuous one, so tenuous that even approaching her husband could have meant death. The novelty of all that ‘stuff’ must have worn off pretty quickly. As a devout, obedient, gentle Jewish girl, she must have questioned her position, yet remained obedient until at last her spiritual purpose was revealed.
While we may not be instantly promoted to royalty or privilege and power, we may find ourselves in positions we never imagined. Whether it’s an important or mundane position is irrelevant. It really doesn’t matter whether we love it or hate it. Whatever it is or however we feel, we should never lose sight of the truth that it’s no accident. Right here, right now, we’re exactly where God’s spiritual purpose is being worked out in us and in our lives. I doubt that I will ever play a part in a national crisis like Esther was called to do, but I can testify that I was once placed in a job I hated with tremendous spiritual resistance on a daily basis, simply to help one single person back to God. When that was done, He moved me out, but I have the joy of knowing that the special person brought as much blessing into my life as I did to hers. God’s spiritual purpose was at work.
Understanding the reality of spiritual purpose.
It all sounds super-spiritual, and has a kind of vague glow about it. Yet God’s spiritual purpose is as practical as it is supernatural. It contains a power that impacts our lives, our natures, and our world. Like Gehazi, Elisha’s servant, we can be blind to the ‘behind the scenes’ action. But whether or not we see it, God is working – and He’s using us to do it. Often, we may not even be aware that something we have said or done has had an impact in another life. We may even go our whole lives believing that ‘nothing happened.’
God’s spiritual purpose is a real today as it was in the creation of the world. We can be absolutely certain that He is constantly working and will continue to do so. I vividly recall asking Him many times what He intended by placing me in that job, all with seemingly no response. These are times when obedience is so important. Unless He says otherwise, that’s where we stay. By His grace, He eventually revealed His spiritual purpose in a wonderful, awe-inspiring way. But even if we never see the purpose or understand it, the Bible tells us that He has created good works for us to walk in. (Ephesians 2:20). If we are content to be led by Word and Spirit, we’ll do them, whether we’re aware of them or not.
Spiritual purpose brings peace.
Peace can seem elusive, especially in situations we don’t understand or in trying circumstances. But when we know that we know that we know that God has a spiritual purpose in everything, peace is a wonderful blessing. It doesn’t mean we aren’t ‘human’ and subject to emotional or mental distress. We’re weak, sinful creatures and anxiety is a common human complaint. But what we have is a divine assurance to hang onto. It’s our anchor in the storm, a sheltered harbour, and a place of refuge. That experience was, for me, a life-changing encounter with the reality of my place in this life.
The world will happily tell us that this kind of faith is foolish, illogical, and nonsensical. That’s why God’s peace is that which surpasses all understanding. It’s an inner conviction and certainty that defies definition or explanation. I rejoice that I had the opportunity to learn that no matter where I am or how things seem to be falling apart and contradicting everything I believe in, in my heart and my spirit I have no doubt at all that God is working out His spiritual purpose. I give thanks for the grace that I no longer even feel the need to know what it is. This peace places me firmly in the palm of His hand.
How to live God’s spiritual purpose.
The answer to this is very simple – obedience and surrender. And absolute honesty, too. It’s totally okay to acknowledge that we have no clue what’s going on, that we understand nothing, and that we’re way out of our depth in a place with no logic or explanation. Obedience doesn’t require us to understand, only to obey. To be able to obey, we must first surrender and acknowledge that no matter what we think right now, we are in God’s purposes and must remain there until He says otherwise.
It’s difficult to accept that we really don’t need to know. Everything in us rails against that kind of submission. I’m learning to accept it as a blessing – the less I know, the less I have to worry about. I’m frighteningly human. I can’t stand the idea of messing up or letting God down, and so I inevitably try harder, which just as inevitably puts me in the way. It’s a joy to discover that His spiritual purpose doesn’t require me to ‘do’ anything except be obedient. It’s a relief to accept that it’s His purpose, His problem. He wants to use us, not have us do His work for Him. We are tools or instruments, that’s all.
Rejoice in our spiritual purpose.
There’s a lot to rejoice about. The almighty, omnipotent God of the universe has chosen to use us for His spiritual purpose. Simply by being there, we have access to the Abba heart of God, to His glorious presence, to His gifts and blessings, and to intimacy that is beyond description. If we’re honest, God has the short stick in this exchange, given our true condition. But as we live in ongoing thanksgiving, praise and worship, acknowledging His sovereignty in all things, He weaves us into the master plan for His spiritual purpose and makes us part of His unimaginable glory.
Father God, Your will is sovereign and Your purpose perfect. Help us to surrender, sure in the knowledge that You are continually working, no matter who or where we are. Grant us the grace to live in thanksgiving, praise, and worship, and to walk in obedience and the assurance that You are working alongside and for us.