This is the concluding post in the series, You Say I Am. To start reading from the beginning, click on the link, Who You Say I Am – My Person in Christ.
From his innermost being will flow continually rivers of living water. ~John 7:38 (AMP)
A friend of mine once shared a whimsical, yet true personal story that teaches a valuable life lesson. One day, when he and another friend were cooking in the kitchen, they discovered one of the steps in the recipe they were following was to “briskly stir, or whisk” the ingredients together. To add a little excitement to the experience (as all good cooks like to do from time to time), they decided to experiment with a rather unlikely stirring instrument – a cordless drill fitted with the mixer’s whisk attachment – as if their recipe book had been written by Tim the Toolman Taylor!
I must admit, when in the “heat of a cooking moment,” experimenting often sounds like a fun idea. However, adding an implement designed for speed to a scenario that demands finesse, suggests that this idea may have been a star-crossed recipe for a minor kitchen disaster. You can probably imagine the outcome, so I probably don’t have to paint the whole messy picture – but yes, the walls were painted…with dinner! As well, so were the two cooks…one holding a dripping drill, the other gripping an empty bowl, and both laughing nervously at each other as the walls marinated in the main course.
The application of an original design, whether a person or thing, is most glorifying to its creator when employed according to its intended construct. When a high-speed device meets a bowl full of static matter, the laws of physics will prove the faultiness of the idea. However, when a man or woman of God ceases to live outwardly as a mixer when they are really a drill, and as they stop putting on cloaks of self-righteousness and put on the robe of emptiness, and when the church stops appearing “filled up,” and starts living “poured out,” then they can be used mightily by God, like a flowing river of life in the dry desert of our lost and dying world.
In this precept, we will read about God’s thoughts, plans, and purpose for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11). Our purpose is not to glorify how we live our life, our purpose is to bring glory to the One who gave us HIS new life! Let’s take a look at why we were created to live and move and have our being in Jesus (Acts 17:28) – living out His purpose in us and through us, from our design to our destination!
In Christ, we have purpose in our…Design – to Personify the Goodness of God, Death – to Prove the Glory of God, Deliverance – to Proclaim the Grace of God, Destiny – to Propagate the Gospel of God, Destination – to Praise the Greatness of God.
Our Design – to Personify the Goodness of God “He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.” ~Psalm 33:5
When Moses asked God to show His glory to him in Exodus 33, then God, filled with compassion, consented and told Moses, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you.” (Exodus 33:18-20). God – passing His goodness before mankind and proclaiming His name – is the same event! The glory of God, His character and nature, is His goodness. The goodness of God is Who God is. We see that God is Goodness in the 23rd Psalm, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life…” (Psalm 23:6).
Goodness and mercy are not just “feel good” encouraging words we lean on when life, beats us up. they are the character and nature of God and Who God is. When we consider the truth that God promises to be with us all the days of our life (Matthew 28:19-20), and that His name even means “God with us,” (Matthew 1:23), we can declare with confidence that the Goodness of God, is Who God is, and He will be with us always – even to the end of the age.
The Bible tells us that there is only One Who is good – that is God. In the book of Mark, we read about a rich, young ruler who approached Jesus on the road during His travels to ask Him about eternal things (Mark 10:17-18). When the juvenile lad addressed Jesus as, “Good Teacher,” Jesus quickly responded with a question directed back to him, but also in the presence of many witnesses, “Why do you call me good? No is good but One, that is, God.” Here Jesus acknowledges that, even though He was fully God, He was also fully pre-glorified man; thus, He could not count Himself equal with God the Father as a thing to be grasped (Philippians 2:6). Only God is good, and only He does good things (Psalm 119:68).
My friend, because you and I were designed in the very image of God (Genesis 1:26), we were, therefore, conceived, purposed, and created to personify [embody, incarnate, exemplify, and mirror] the Goodness of God. Take note, the word “personify” is a verb – it requires action from you and from me. In Psalm 27, King David expressed his lament over the persecution coming from his enemies when he wrote, “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (Psalm 27:13). It is true that when God hears the cries of His people, His desire is to bring heaven down and minister to them according to their needs. But get this…sometimes He uses people like us. Sometimes the goodness of God comes to those who are hurting through people. Often through you and me. We are living stones in the priesthood of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:5) that He selects to personify the goodness of God in the land of the living!
Our Death – to Prove the Glory of God – Death is not a final outcome in the hands of Almighty God, it is a launching pad! Death is the soil where seeds die so they can bring forth mighty fruit-bearing trees! Death is the cocoon where caterpillars go to die, so they can emerge into beautiful butterflies (Not simply better caterpillars!). And death is the cross where a suffering Servant went to die, in order to be raised again to prove the glory of the Father as conquering King! Death is transformation, and it is all for the glory of God! Therefore, our death – though it was intended by the devil to steal, kill, and destroy us for eternity – God turned it completely around to raise His people to new life (John 10:10)…thereby proving His glory!
Let’s go a little deeper and look at the life, death, and deliverance of a man named Lazarus, in the book of John chapter 11. We join the story as Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha was on his deathbed. Fearful of losing their brother to death, the sisters sent word via courier to Jesus, Who was in another part of the region, that Lazarus was sick. Jesus turned to the messenger, and to his witnessing disciples, telling them that Lazarus’ sickness wasn’t unto [spiritual] death, but for the glory of God (John 11:4). Jesus delayed for three more days before going to visit His friends. Meanwhile, we learn in the story that Lazarus did in fact die.
Moments later, Jesus poses a most pertinent question to the multitude now surrounding the grave of the deceased Lazarus, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe, you would see the glory of God?” (John 11:40) Following His thought-provoking, yet rhetorical query, Jesus proceeds to prove the glory of God over death. First, He prays to the Father seeking His blessing, then by raising the deceased Lazarus…to new life:
He spoke, “Lazarus, come forth!” (John 11:43. And see what happens next…
Our Deliverance – to Proclaim the Grace of God “And out walked the man who had been dead, his hands and feet wrapped in burial cloths (linen strips), and with a [burial] napkin bound around his face. Jesus said to them, Free him of the burial wrappings and let him go” (John 11:44).
My friend, two things occurred in this verse that gives us a vivid picture of what happened when you and I were raised with Jesus from the grave and into our new life.
First: “…out walked the man who had been dead…” The dead man walked out of the grave. Dead men and women do not walk outside of their grave. Most don’t walk at all, but if they could, they would pace about in their own tomb of wickedness (Proverbs 11:5). They would stagger about in the miry bog – in their pit of despair. And so, there they wallow in the deepest darkness of their own tomb and don’t even know what it is that they stumble over (Psalm 40:2, Proverbs 4:19). Even when they, who are dead, believe they “have it all together,” and “everything’s under control,” they are really just groping the wall of their false hope and faltering tiresomely in the shadows as though they were dead men (Isaiah 40:30, Ephesians 2:1).
My friend, that is who we once were (1 Corinthians 6:11). Look very closely at this verse…that is who we were! Check out the whole verse in its full context…this is important as a believer in Christ! At the cross of Jesus Christ, we were washed clean from our sin, guilt and shame! Jesus completely reconciled [absolved, paid our debt, and propitiated] us back to our Father in heaven! AND we were set apart from our sin nature, for the glory of God and in accord with the plans and purpose He established for us since before the beginning of the world (Jeremiah 29:11)! AND we have received the righteousness of Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit and brought to the Father as holy and blameless as Jesus Himself!
Second: “Jesus said to them, Free him of the burial wrappings and let him go” After we walked out of the grave, look what happens next. Jesus commands the burial wrappings to be removed from us setting us completely free from all the remnants of our death! It is the command of Jesus that we be set free (John 8:36)! Jesus’ command that tells us to, “Come forth!” is the same voice that tells us we are no longer wrapped and bound to our death! In Christ, we, who were dead, walked out of that grave! And when we walked out, Jesus sent forth another command, a command that we are unwrapped and “let go” from the fetters that held us in our death!
Get this! We are unwrapped from the law of sin and death! Unwrapped from our deepest darkness where we used to stumble and fall day in and day out. Unwrapped from the tether of shame, guilt and condemnation. Unwrapped from the chains of bondage that held us captive to gratifying the lusts of our flesh. Unwrapped from the shackles of fear, hopelessness, sadness, and worrying about the “what ifs?” of life until two in the morning. Unwrapped from pretending to be a mixer when you’re really a drill! Do you see? You and I, who were once dead to sin, were made alive to Christ, for His glory – when HE called us out of our grave (Romans 6:13)!
Our Destiny – to Propagate the Gospel of God “He who believes in Me [who adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Me], as the Scripture has said, ‘From his innermost being will flow continually rivers of living water.” ~John 7:38
In the first line on my “About the River of Life” page, you find what destiny is all about for the believer – it’s not about us anymore. It’s not about all the “Doing for God.” All our best works in and of ourselves, that is, all our self-righteousness, is nothing more than filthy rags in the holy light of God (Isaiah 64:6).
We know that when we were born from the dust of the ground, our spirit died because of sin. Ever since then, we spent our life trying to fill our dusty souls with clean water. But because we were devoid of a spiritual connection with God, our best efforts still found us separated from Him and wallowing in nothing short of toilet water from a broken down well (Jeremiah 2:13). We attempted to find our peace, joy, and fulfillment – and even our purpose in life – but instead discovered tiredness, hopelessness and despair. Can you relate?
But at the cross, Jesus overcame the hold of bondage to sin by the power of His blood. As His precious, life-giving blood poured out over us and cleansed us from our dirty cistern water, he then began to fill us up with His transforming living water! And now, like a dry desert in a monsoon storm where the surging waters overflow the banks, we swell up with His righteousness, His goodness, His very heart, mind, and soul. And He imparts to us His Spirit of life that turns us from being filled up with ourselves, to being poured out – and sold out – for His purpose and glory!
So, the destiny for a believer is to live poured-out for Jesus as he poured Himself out for us. He flushed out the muddy waste water, and filled us with His living water – but that’s just the beginning.
We now live as vessels…conduits…mere riverbeds that Jesus fills up to overflowing so that He can use us to reach the world with His Holy Spirit, Who is the River of Life! Let me reiterate, you are not the river, you are the riverbed. You don’t go looking for your destiny; He is your destiny. You don’t go where you think you should go; you flow as He sends you. You don’t lean on what you see or understand; you walk by faith so that He can work through you preaching the gospel of salvation to the world (Philippians 2:17). Welcome to your destiny and your purpose, my friend!
Our Destination – to Praise the Greatness of God – “On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate. They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds, and I will declare your greatness. They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.” ~Psalm 145:5-7
The culmination of one’s life, the sum of all we are, will one day face the destination we have in that which Jesus died for – for you and for me. My friend, when we enter into the destination of our Lord, in His fullness of joy, and we see Jesus face-to-face, all who we are will drop to our knees in worship. Our purpose summed up – now and always – is to worship Christ the King and forever praise His greatness! He is not just an awesome God; He is the fullness of awesomeness! He is the moment we wait for with all our hopeful anticipation. He is the One Who gets all the praise and glory! This is, and will be, our eternal life – praising the greatness of our God in the land of the living. But wait…there’s more…
Eternal life for the believer will never end, but it does have a beginning. Eternal life does not begin at our physical death, it began at our spiritual birth! You see, eternal life for us as followers of Christ began at the cross when He flooded our dry desert of a soul with His water of life and set us on course to fulfill our purpose for eternal worship! Personifying God’s goodness in our design…is worship, proving God’s glory in our death…is worship, proclaiming God’s grace in our deliverance…is worship, propagating God’s Gospel in our destiny…is worship, and praising God’s greatness in our final destination…is worship. This is our purpose. Bottom line!
My friend, today is the day of salvation. The world has fed you enough dirty latrine water. You were purposed for so much more! Out of His immense, unfathomable love, Jesus died for you and broke the hold of “trying harder, working it out on your own, and striving to be better.” Jesus died so you can simply find Him, know Him, love Him, be filled up with Him. Then, in Him, you will discover your personal life of worship for Him.
You don’t have to look for your destiny any longer, simply pour out all that hinders you from seeking Him first, and He will add all things that matters into you and your life. Pour out the hopelessness, pour out the, “It’s impossible,” pour out the rejections and offenses, pour out the despair, pour out the failures of the past. Choose today to reject the lies of “worthlessness,” and be filled with His worthiness, and together you will become purposefully purposed to fulfill many great and mighty things – for the glory of God!