Formations lesson for March 27: Living with Purpose : Friday, March 11, 2005
March 11 2005 by Jeffrey Wisdom

Formations lesson for March 27: Living with Purpose : Friday, March 11, 2005
Friday, March 11, 2005

Formations lesson for March 27: Living with Purpose

By Jeffrey Wisdom
Focal Passage: Matthew 28:1-10

For many, purpose is deeply personal. Without it, persons are adrift. Thomas Carlyle said, "The man without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder - a waif, a nothing, a no man." Robert Byrne echoes the need for a sense of purpose when he wrote: "The purpose of life is a life of purpose." In addition, Rick Warren in his book, Purpose Driven Life, agrees that "Everyone's life is driven by something."

For the Christian, however, purpose is more than personal; it is eternal. For believers, purpose is a mark of one's relationship with God; it emits from that relationship, and it is defined by it - purpose is a spiritual matter. Again Rick Warren: "Nothing matters more than knowing God's purpose for your life, and nothing can compensate for not knowing it."

As a spiritual matter, purpose is an apokalypsis, a private revelation of the post-resurrection Jesus that compels the believer to see, do and believe differently than they did before.

In Matthew's gospel, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary walk to the sepulcher where Jesus is buried (Matt. 28:1). The purpose of their coming was simply personal, almost pedestrian. "After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb." Their faith, in some ways, had died on the cross at Calvary with Jesus; and the two Marys, like the disciples (Mark 16:9-14), struggled with disillusionment, discouragement, dejection and disheartenment. Both had lost their sense of spiritual purpose.

At the tomb, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary's faltering sense of purpose was met by an unveiling of a new purpose that was both personal and eternal. "There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, 'Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified'" (Matt. 28:2-5).

For both women, renewing their spiritual purpose led them to see things differently. Though the tomb was empty, the angel asked them to see beyond that and to imagine the possibilities. The angel said to each of them: "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay" (vv. 5-6).

Arriving at some sense of spiritual purpose is an invitation to see beyond what is evident and to see the possibilities that lay ahead. It asks that in some way each of us keep the faith even when it falls apart, and we, too, feel disillusionment, discouragement, dejection and disheartenment. Spiritual purpose asks us to look at something empty and believe that it can be full. Poet Ezra Pound wrote, "What matters is not the idea a man holds, but the depth at which he holds it."

For Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, spiritual purpose asked them to do something new. "Then go quickly and tell His disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see Him'" (Matt. 28:7a). Spiritual purpose is never offered or received without action being implied. The renewal of your spiritual purpose will always ask you to do something personally. Living with spiritual purpose does not allow for apathy, attrition or excuse. It always pushes you beyond yourself and toward the thoughts and wishes of heaven.

For each of the women, the renewal of their sense of purpose was aided by a strong sense of empowerment, which gave each the direction they needed to go. "Then go quickly and tell His disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see Him.' Now I have told you." So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell His disciples" (vv 7-8).

Without spiritual empowerment, direction is a distant dream that cannot be fulfilled. For believers accomplishing the things that they are sent to do requires empowerment, an endowment of the Holy Spirit who alone guides our lives and purpose.

"I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you" (John 16:12-15).

3/11/2005 12:00:00 AM by Jeffrey Wisdom | with 0 comments




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