Philippians 3:13 I am focusing all my energies on this one thing, forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. The Apostle Paul knew where he was headed in life, what about you?
Everyone’s life is driven by something!
A dictionary definition of driven includes guided, controlled by, or directed by.
Think of your car when it is driven by you, hopefully you are guiding it and controlling it every moment you are driving!
Today a problem, or a pressure or even a deadline might drive you.
You could also be driven by a painful memory, an overwhelming fear (phobia e.g. fear of failure) or even an unrecognized belief or mindset.
What would your closest family and friends say drove your life?
There are literally hundreds of circumstances, values and emotions that can drive our lives. Here are 5 examples of common ones.
Many people are driven by Guilt.
They spend most of their lives running away from regrets and trying to hide their shame. Guilt-driven people are manipulated and controlled by their memories. They allow their past to control their future! They often unconsciously punish themselves and even may try to sabotage their own success. After Cain murdered his brother, his guilt caused him to become a restless wanderer. This is perhaps a good description perhaps of many people who wander through their lives without a purpose.
We may be products of our past, but we do not need to be prisoners to it. God’s purpose in your life is not limited by your past. God turned Moses from a murderer into a national leader and the timid Gideon into a valiant warrior. I wonder what he is going to do with you and me?
God specializes in giving people a fresh start.
Oh the joy of whose sins have been forgiven (that is us).
Many people are driven by resentment and anger.
They hold onto their hurts and wounds and never get over them, instead of dealing with the hurt by forgiveness they replay the offence in their minds. Instead of dealing with the hurt by giving forgiveness they replay the offence over and over and keep it a fresh source of negative emotions. Some people repress their anger and pain whilst others explode with rage.
Both responses are unhealthy and unhelpful.
Resentment gnaws away at us (like a rat in your soul) and has more effect on the ‘offended’ than the offender. The offended person just stews in their own juice. We must learn to let go of all bitterness and resentment with God’s help and forgive people with His forgiveness. Easier said than done, you might say, but doing the right thing surely leads to health and peace of mind.
Many people are driven by fear.
Fears come upon people in many ways. Some traumatic experience, unrealistic expectations, superstitions, growing up under dominating people or perhaps some people may be more fearful than others by nature. Many fear-driven people miss out on great opportunities because they are afraid to go out or step out into the unknown. Instead they play it safe every time, avoid every risk and always vote for the status quo. Fear is a self-imposed prison which holds you captive from finding God’s purpose for your life. Perfect love casts out all fear and we have the full armour of God to help us deals with its attacks.
Many people are driven by materialism.
The acquisition of material wealth becomes the overriding purpose of their lives. Remember the parable of the wealthy man who built bigger barns and planned the good life not realizing his time was up. There is the underlying misconception that more material wealth will bring more happiness, more security, and more importance. It would not take to you too long to find examples of many people who could tell you otherwise. Possessions only bring a temporary happiness, then we get bored with them and want newer, better (or even younger) replacements. Your value to God does not lie in your possessions but in your very life, you are his treasure. What is your treasure?
Wealth does not make you secure; you can have a billion in the bank but a need for 1.1 billion arises. Wealth can be lost in a moment e.g. the Wall Street crash. We find our security in our relationship with the living God (we have a written covenant with him that is fireproof, waterproof and event proof).
Many people are driven by the need for approval.
Some people allow the expectations of their parents, spouses, or teachers or even their friends to control their lives. Many adults are still trying to win the approval of their unpleasable parents (can even happen when the parent is dead). Others are driven by peer pressure to conform to the group or gang. We will never succeed in life by trying to please everyone! Jesus said no man can serve two masters, either we will please God or man. Being driven by the opinions of the others will result in us displeasing God. I am sure you will agree that it too high a price to pay.
We must be on our guard for anything driving our lives that would lead to our unfulfilled potential or destiny.
We need to live our lives guided and controlled and directed by God’s (and only) God’s purposes for our lives. Nothing matters more than to be in his will and purpose in your life and nothing this world has to offer us can really compensate us for missing his purpose for our lives.
Without a purpose, life is motion without meaning.
Without a purpose, life is activity without direction.
Without a purpose, life has no reason.
Without a purpose, life is trivial, petty, and pointless.
Benefits of living a Purpose Driven Life
Here are 5 great reasons of living a purpose driven life.
Knowing your purpose gives meaning to your Life.
Life without God and hence without purpose is meaningless.
Where there is no meaning there is no significance or hope.
Live without purpose is a terrible burden.
What hope do the godless have? Nothing really matters. Why should anyone care about anything? Each day would drag on and on!
Cancer patients with a strong life purpose and desire to live do better generally than those who do not. God has plans for your life, plans to bless you, and prosper you. Is anything too difficult for him?
Knowing your purpose simplifies your Life
We can simplify our lives into doing either things that…
Please God or do not
Glorify God or do not
Things that are in obedience to God’s word or not.
Any new project, plan or proposal can be measured up against your life purpose by asking will it help or hinder my God given purpose.
Without a clear purpose we base our decisions to allocate out time and resources on momentary things such as mood, pressures etc.
You Lord give perfect peace to those who keep their purpose firm and put their trust in you.
Knowing your purpose focuses your Life
We can become effective by being selective.
It is all too easy to become distracted by minor issues.
We usually major on the minors.
Thoreau said many people live lives of quiet desperation, but Rick Warren has suggested it might be more apposite to say they live lives of aimless distraction like gyroscopes spinning fast but going nowhere.
Without a clear purpose we will change relationships, jobs, houses, churches etc. hoping that the next change will make everything all right, but it usually does not.
What will help you, will be focusing clearly in on God’s purpose for your life then making any changes based on that. Being focused is more important than being busy.
White light is diffuse and not focused and needs a magnifier to get focused, but a laser is highly focused and can cut through steel!
God wants you to live your life focused like a laser.
Look at Paul, Philippians 3:13, I am focusing all my energies on this one thing, forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.
Knowing your purpose motivates your Life
Purpose produces passion.
Nothing energizes like a clear purpose.
Passion dissipates when there is no purpose.
Meaningless work wears us out quicker than overwork.
G.B. Shaw wrote “This is the true joy of life; being used up for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one, being a force of nature instead of a feverish little clot of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.” Which one of these is most like you?
Knowing your purpose prepares you for eternity
Most people want to be remembered when they are dead.
Yet, at the end of the day it is now that what our fellow men think and say of us really matters.
All our records, trophies and achievements will eventually be surpassed.
Living to create an earthly legacy is a shortsighted goal.
We need to build an eternal legacy.
We were put on earth to prepare for heaven.
Each one of us will give a personal account to God for us our stewardship of our lives [Romans 14:10].
He will ask you ‘What did you do with my son Jesus Christ’? Did you accept him and what he did for you? Your answer will determine where you will spend eternity.
‘What did you do with your life (health, strength, gifts, talents, resources etc.)?’ Your answer will determine where you will be for eternity. Knowing your purpose will give you the right answers to these questions.
Living with purpose is the path to peace and faithfulness.
Let us forget what lies behind and focus in like lasers on God’s purposes for our lives.
This teaching is adapted from The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren