2015-02-20 - Finding Our Purpose
Author's note: This devotional is based on a message delivered to my church's youth group on February 11, 2015. It is a bit of an introduction on seeking out the purpose and identity of our group, as I began serving at this church at the end of last year.
What should we as Christians be? What should we do? Take a few minutes to make a list. Go ahead; I'll wait. Look at it one more time, and see if there's anything missing.
Ok, so now I'm going to flip the question on its side somewhat, and ask us to consider it from a slightly different perspective. For what did God create us? It begins to look like God created us to do a lot of things and to obey a lot of rules. Certainly that's what it seems like. I don't know about you, but the list I wound up with – the list our youth group came up with – seemed pretty daunting. There were a lot of things we were to be, and way more that we needed to do. I see a list like that and get overwhelmed, and often just give up.
So now I want to just blow your mind, and flip this upside down with one more question. Did he really create us for any of these things?
I want to propose to you that we have really just one purpose – one ultimate reason for being: relationship.
Micah 6:8 is an often-quoted verse, but we need to do more than quote it; we need to understand it.
Micah 6:8 (NKJV)
You know what good is, and so did the Israelites back in these days. God had given them the law. Since the garden, in fact, man had the knowledge of good and evil. More importantly, Jews knew that God was good. And they had the five books of law – the Torah. They knew all the law required. The law shows wrong, so that good is obvious – the law gives a measuring device for being good.
Earlier prophets had also made similar summaries, but none so short. See Isaiah 1:16-20 and Amos 5:14-15. God repeatedly told them what was expected of them as a covenant nation, and Israel just didn't listen, so he gave them this simple and to-the-point statement – Do justly, love mercy, walk humbly with God.
So God says what he truly requires, is to be just. According to Psalm 25:1, God is just. But Israel only wanted justice in the kind that benefited them alone. That's not true justice. Justice is blind.
And you are to be merciful. God is also merciful, according to passages like Deuteronomy 4:3. Israel only wanted God's mercy when they were in a pickle. Only when it served them. Much like Jonah and the prodigal's older brother, they didn't like mercy, though, when it applied to others.
To be continued next week.
All scripture references from NIV (New International Version) unless otherwise noted