Our Personal Purpose Statement

He was on his way to Jerusalem. How come? He was compelled by the Spirit. That’s a good thing, yes? Hmm . . . depends how you wanna define good.

While he knew that he was bound by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem, he didn’t know what he would encounter there. Okay, so at least that’s a benign thing . . . a 50/50, could be good or bad thing . . . an it-might-work-out-okay thing? Hmm . . . probably not.

Because what the Spirit had also made clear to Paul was that “in every town . . . chains and afflictions are waiting for me” (Acts 20:22-23). Okay . . . now that’s definitely NOT a good thing, right? Hmm . . . not necessarily. Depends, apparently, on your purpose.

“But I consider my life of no value to myself; my purpose is to finish my course and the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of God’s grace.”

(Acts 20:24 CSB)

This morning, I’m chewing on Paul’s personal “purpose statement.” Wanna know how Paul viewed his life’s mission? Want insight as to how Paul defined success? Want a bit of inspiration through some divine illumination? Want a bit of conviction on the sort of scales one should be using to measure what’s ultimately good or bad in life? Acts 20:24 probably isn’t a bad spot over which to hover and meditate.

In an age where our culture says our goal in life should be to find ourselves and express ourselves in order to fully realize ourselves, Paul — whose been known to be counter-cultural at times — would indicate that our life’s mission might best be found in losing ourselves in being faithful stewards of what the Lord Jesus has given us to do. Even if it means going to Jerusalem knowing that what awaits us are chains and afflictions.

Could it be that flourishing in life really is found by forsaking our lives? Yeah, could be . . . if you believe Jesus.

“Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity.” ~ Jesus

(John 12:25 NLT)

Paul valued his life, after all he was an image-bearer of God. But the value was not in how it was ultimately invested in himself, but in how it was stewarded in the context of the ministry Jesus had given him. His mission was not to fully cater to himself, but to faithfully consecrate himself to Jesus.

Sure, we don’t all have the same Damascus Road experience that Paul did, clearly defining the course (and consequences) Jesus had purposed for him (Acts 9:1-15), but we do all have a course. Each of us has a ministry from the Lord Jesus. It’s found as we give ourselves to the Scriptures instruction. It’s formed as we yield ourselves to the Spirit’s leading. It’s realized as, by faith and through His enabling, we too aspire to a personal purpose statement to finish the course we’ve received from the Lord Jesus.

Only by His grace. Only for His glory.

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