Advent Devotional 12/21: Made on Purpose
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10, NIV)
The secular world would have us believe we are here by chance, that we are random collections of matter and molecules which happen to have formed into the shape we are, with the personalities we have, purely as a function of indeterminate accident. And so people live their lives with little purpose. Or they live for their own purposes, never wondering if perhaps there is a reason behind who they are and how they are.
The Bible says differently. It says that we were made on purpose. We are not accidents. There is a reason why we are the way we are, why we have the strengths we have, why we have the interests we have, why we are unique and wonderfully different from others, while fitting together with others in meaningful ways.
Every once in a while, you feel the truth of this. You try an activity and you just know, it fits. You like it. It feels like you. You try something else and it does not excite or interest you in the least. Sometimes, you try something and you feel like you were made to do it. These are precious experiences and ones we would do well to pay close attention to.
In the movie, Chariots of Fire, the Olympic sprinter, Eric Liddell, says, “I believe God made me for a purpose, but He also made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.”
Liddell felt God’s pleasure and approval and blessing on his running, but I imagine he also felt the pleasure of doing something he was designed to do.
I’ve always been a fixer. I can’t stand to see a broken thing, especially when it comes to electronics. For some reason, I have a compulsion to fix broken electronics. Even if the thing is old and obsolete, I will still try to fix it, to make it work. Or if a product comes with a feature, I will compulsively try to use that feature. I cannot abide by a product with a feature that goes unused. Sometimes it’s a feature that isn’t very good or useful. I will still try to find a way to use it.
How much more does God desire his handiwork to do the work he designed us to do? People are not like electronics or products designed by fallible makers. We are masterpieces designed by The Maker, the master creator. Of course in the course of life in a fallen world, we get broken, or things don’t work right in us sometimes. But the intent of God from the beginning of creation was to make us who we are, to do the good work he had in mind for us to do.
What a waste, what a travesty, when people designed to do good works do not do them. How much poorer and drearier our world is because people do not give the gifts they were given to give?
When we submit to Jesus Christ, to God our creator, we have a chance to find our purpose. And if we, through self-compassion and courage, are willing to pay attention to those moments when we feel God’s pleasure, when we feel like we are doing what we were created to do, we can be a blessing to the world, to ourselves, and to the God who designed us. I believe the church is the best place to discover that purpose along with brothers and sisters who are also discovering that purpose. Together, we can do the good works Jesus had in mind for us to do, and we can be a great blessing to the world.
My Creator God, you made me on purpose, and you made me for a purpose. I am not an accident. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I thank you I am the way I am when I am myself. Help me to love myself, and to have compassion on who I am. Remove from me any tendency to compare myself to others, or to look down on myself because I am not like others. Instead, help me to be excited about who you created me to be.
Give me opportunities to express my design in activities that bless other people and bring pleasure to you and to me. Give me the courage to try new things, not for self indulgence, but to know myself better and to be of better service to the world. And give me wisdom to recognize those moments when I have learned something about myself. In those moments, speak to me, “This is the way, walk in it.” And then give me faith to walk in that way, knowing that where my purpose lies, there is happiness and success and provision, both for myself and for those who will benefit from my work.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.