|Graphic by Little Birdie Blessings|
First of all, I picked this word because I want to live my life on purpose, and I want to be daily living out God's purposes for my life.
2 Timothy 1:9 teaches us that God has "saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began." Amazing!
A few years ago, I spent a number of hours in thought and prayer as to just what God's purposes for me might be. I'm sure I shared it here on the blog at the time, but will share it again. Of course as believers we all realize that God's purpose for our lives is that we bring honor and glory to Him. But we can break that down into a more personalized statement that defines what this looks like in our daily individual lives. And that's what I did on May 27, 2010, when I wrote the following:
GOD'S PURPOSES FOR MY LIFE
Overarching purpose: To bring honor and glory to God with my life (using the spiritual gifts and the talents He has equipped me with) as I seek to:
1) Be a godly wife [includes being a good homemaker], mother, grandmother, and daughter.
2) Use my teaching gifts (and other spiritual gifts -- giving , helps, hospitality, serving) for God's glory -- to encourage fellow believers and help them grow, and to reach out to those who don't yet know Him.
3) Use my writing talents (and other talents -- crafts, cooking, home decorating, etc.) for God's glory -- again, to encourage the family of God and to be a testimony and an outreach to those who don't yet know Him.
So these were some of the things going through my mind as I thought about the word purpose. And I was also thinking of how God wants us to purpose in our hearts to do what pleases Him, as Daniel did in Daniel 1:8.
But there was another word that kept niggling at the edge of my thinking. It was a very challenging word indeed -- the word Christlikeness. In our ladies' Sunday school class we are studying the fruit of the Spirit, using Elizabeth George's wonderful, older study called God's Garden of Grace. After every few words (love, joy, peace, and the rest) that we look at in depth, each of which takes several lessons , the author has put in a short chapter showing how these particular qualities were lived out by Jesus. Invariably, I find these chapters rebuking and challenging as I see just how un-Christlike I really am. So I found this word a bit intimidating.
I'd read a brief article by author Debbie Macomber on how to choose your word for the year. One thing she said was, "Don't shy away from words that you perceive as asking for trouble. If God is calling you to explore a weighty word like 'loss', for instance, don't let fear stop you. Blessings will come from trusting Him and letting Him take you on a journey of discovery."
I still felt, though, that purpose would be my word. And as I settled on it, God brought these verses straight to my mind:
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.
"For whom He did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son..." (Romans 8:28-29a)
Did you catch it? We are called according to God's purpose -- and that purpose is to be conformed to the image of His Son. In other words, His purpose for us is Christlikeness. So in choosing the word purpose, I am also choosing Christlikeness. This is a goal for life, not just 2013!