What are you living for?

Last week I had a conversation with one of my work colleagues.   We were talking about what we would do with our free time if we didn’t have to work for a living.  My friend is quite athletic and told me that he would love to spend more time coaching kids. 

All of us need a sense of purpose  to give meaning to our lives.  You don’t have to be a person of faith to recognize this – it’s a commonly accepted principle of psychology.   People who have a clear sense of vision and purpose are happier and more productive than those who have no vision.   Having a vision helps us to stay on track.  As the well-known proverb puts it, where there is no vision the people perish – perhaps more accurately rendered where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained.  Effective youth leaders and wise parents understand that a positive vision is far more effective than rules in helping young people stay out of trouble. 

For people who do not see themselves as accountable to God, it would seem that any vision will do.  One vision is as good as the next – it’s really up to you.   Whatever floats your boat, as the saying goes.   But my life doesn’t belong to me, since I have surrendered control of it to Jesus Christ.  Actually it never belonged to me in the first place – the whole idea of freedom outside of God is an illusion.   We can only be free when we have yielded control of our lives to Him, and that’s the only context in which we can discover the true purpose of our lives.

My friend has a vision for his life.  It’s a good vision as far as it goes.  Working with kids is very important.  But kids need mentors who can not only have fun with them and teach them practical skills, but also lead them to God and help them discover their eternal value and purpose in a relationship with Jesus.   Playing on sports teams, as valuable as it can be for developing physical fitness, teamwork and perseverance, can never replace this.

We all need a vision for our lives, but a vision that doesn’t take account of God’s call on our lives is inadequate.   My friend might indeed be designed by God to coach and mentor kids.  Quite likely his desire to do this is an expression of gifts and abilities that are part of his God-given makeup.  Even so, unless this purpose is surrendered to God and seen in light of God’s overarching purpose for all of creation, my friend will ultimately be missing the boat.   He may do many good things – excellent things, even – and still miss the ultimate point of his life, which is first and foremost to be a lover and worshipper of the Most High God who made him.  Every other purpose in our lives must be surrendered to this one and take second place to it, otherwise the whole house will eventually come tumbling down.   In the timeless words of King Solomon of Israel, unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labour in vain.    Jesus’ own words were even stronger : What good is it to gain the whole world and forfeit your soul? 

Some good questions to ask ourselves :

  • What’s my vision? 
  • Have I surrendered it to God?  ( Is it his vision or mine?  )
  • Is it consistent with the way God has made me and the gifts He has given me?
  • How does it fit into His overall Kingdom purposes? 
  • How am I walking it out? 

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NOTE to City Church small group leaders – I’ve included this post in the Small Groups category because it could function as a useful discussion topic in small groups.


2 thoughts on “What are you living for?”

  1. Funny…
    I just wrote an email to an old High school friend who aches for “something” and does not know God, somewhat along the same lines.

  2. Oh so true.
    And visions dont have to have all the i’s dotted or t’s crossed. They can start small and grow – but you need vision for direction in the first place. Have you ever stood in the bathroom and thought why did I come in here – not likely because we have the thought that causes the action. You really cant live life with no vision , no idea of what to do next, no Big Picture, each of our actions has to start somewhere. Know in God in your life accepting Jesus as Lord of your life giving it up to Him is a certain way to find direction. He is the Light unto your path. Knowing Jesus is like being given a flashlight in a dark place. Before you floundered around banging into things – with a flashlight not everything is illiminated but your pathway is and the more you move in God the more you see further down the path !!

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