“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” –1 Peter 2:9-10.
I love Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life. I read it the for the first time about five years ago and it changed my life. It got my life back on track and I’ve read it twice since then as refreshers. If there is anything good in me now, I owe a lot of the transformation to this book. The 40 Days of Purpose study we did with it were equally as effective. Don’t get me wrong, the Holy Spirit and the Holy Bible are at the core of my life now and they provide me with my spiritual direction. However, The Purpose Driven Life, was the kick in the pants I needed in order to point my life in the right spiritual direction. If there is anyone who needs spiritual clarification that God knows what he is doing with us down here on Earth, they should read this book.
Unfortunately for me, though, I haven’t always used this new direction properly. Through the book I got clarification of why I need Jesus Christ to get into Heaven. I learned that life is a test and we simply live on Earth in preparation for an eternal life in Heaven. I learned that God can use everything for good if we allow him. Through all that revelation, though, I couldn’t really identify my specific purpose. I even told my 40 Days of Purpose study group my dilemma. Maybe I was looking for something under a microscope when, in fact, my purpose was in plain sight and identified throughout the Bible. It wasn’t until Frances Chan turned my spiritual life upside-down in his books Crazy Love and Forgotten God during 2011 that I finally figured out my purpose, our purpose.
My purpose as a Christian is to serve as disciples.
It’s plain and simple but we’ve covered that already. If “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28) then so should I. I can’t serve without love, but I’ve covered that already too. I have to love enough to care about people’s souls, but I covered that as well. I am not to simply save my own soul. That was covered. I have to train disciples to save more souls.
I have to give my life to the discipleship process because it’s the most effective way to save souls and populate Heaven. Now, while Jesus did say I have to carry my cross daily, I don’t believe that he will require all of us to give our lives as a ransom for many the way he did even though some may. But, if Rick Warren was right in his book, I have to give my Earthly life to take as many souls to Heaven as possible. In reality, I have such a very short time here on Earth and there are billions of people out there using their precious time on the fast track to Hell.
We have to sell out our lives daily because we are the priesthood of all believers. Jesus is the high priest of the church. As the highest priest, he ordained all of his followers as priests. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a priest is “a mediatory agent between humans and God.” Our priesthood, our purpose, is to be God’s agent to the world. Merriam-Webster defines agent as “one who is authorized to act for or in the place of another.” The great thing about this is that Jesus gave us the ultimate authority to be his agent, the Holy Spirit. Through the Holy Spirit, we have the power to evangelize the world and that is every Christian’s role here on Earth.
Peter declares our calling. We’re chosen directly by God. We are royalty in his eyes. We are deemed holy by the Holy of Holies! We’re honored by God in order to do one thing and that is to sing God’s praises! John speaks in the book of Revelation of four beings fixed around the throne of God in Heaven who never stop saying, “‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.'” (Revelation 4:8). Again, if Rick Warren was right and life on Earth is simply preparation for our lives in eternity, then we need to start real practicing. The only difference is that our “practice” praising here on Earth will be seen by non-believers and can lead them to the same eternal life we aspire.
Now, obviously, we can’t carry on our other necessary roles here on Earth and continually praise God verbally. We have to eat. We have to sleep. We have to work. Some of our Earthly duties will probably make us long more for the day when we have nothing else to do but praise God because it will be the only necessity of Heaven. Anyway, Peter later gave us a simple outline of how to continually praise God while we toil away here on Earth.
“Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” –1 Peter 2:12
It’s kind of obvious Matthew and Peter were both original disciples of Jesus. They both emphasize this particular Godly lifestyle. In essence Peter writes that we can, in fact, continually praise God while going about our daily Earthly duties. The most effective way to disciple people is through our lives. We have to walk our talk. More people will be taught by the way we actually live than by the way we say to live. More people will also unknowingly find themselves in Hell by following our lead if we are not praising God with our lives. Jesus was the most charismatic person to ever walk the Earth. If we have the Holy Spirit guiding our every move, we can be similarly (but to a much lesser degree) as charismatic as Jesus.
So, about my purpose. Mine, as I see it boiled down to the core, is not to populate Hell. I have to live my life so that others want what I’ve got in my should and that is the promise of eternal life in Heaven. I have to be able to get out of my comfort zone and serve God and people in my workplace and wherever I play. I can’t turn away from opportunities God gives me to glorify him. I have to disciple new Christians. I have to do my part to strengthen, counsel and hold accountable my fellow Christians. I also have to be humble enough to accept the same teaching and correction from other Christians in my life. I have to accept being challenged by both non-Christians and Christians alike.
I shall not populate Hell!