Your Life’s Mission…In a Sentence

MissionStatements_JesusMission statements, succinct and pithy sentences which sum up your life focus, give you anchor and direction, helping you keep track of yourself in this chaotic world.

Do you have a personal mission statement? It’s not easy to invent one if you’ve never written one before. If you have, would you care to share? If not, however, the apostle Paul’s life focus might help jog your creative genius. He wrote in Philippians 3.7-11:

But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Perhaps that’s way too long for your life’s mission statement, but can you see the main point? What was most important to Paul? What would he be willing to give up to attain his goal?

MissionStatements_TimothyMy family associates with Classical Conversations, a classical homeschooling group. Their mission statement is this:

To Know God and Make Him Known

Do you think that incorporates the spirit of Paul’s life focus?

CHALLENGE: Start thinking towards your own personal mission statement.

  1. It should be simple.
  2. It should be short.
  3. It should be the product of your life’s Bible study.
  4. It should be flexible; you should be able to adjust it over time as you learn more.

Don’t rush to put something down on paper this very minute, but do begin writing down ideas and thoughts which capture the Christian’s main purpose(s). You may find that you’d like a separate mission statement for your different roles in life (i.e., your mission as a mother or father, as a son or daughter, as a student, as a teacher, as a boss, as an employee, etc.). But FIRST try to write a mission statement which captures your focus as a child of God. Are you fulfilling your purpose? You will only know that if you have a clear concept of your purpose!

I hope you are blessed through thinking deeply about this. God bless you in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Is Jesus Your Personal Savior?

Jesus Crown of ThornsIn The Message, which is an interpretation of the Bible and not an actual translation (so read it with great caution!), the introduction to Galatians includes the following:

Through Jesus, Paul learned that God was not an impersonal force to be used to make people behave in certain prescribed ways, but a personal Savior who set us free to live a free life.

The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary includes under its entry for “Logos”:

In relation to humanity, Jesus the Logos was not the impersonal principle of Stoicism, but He was a personal Savior who took on human flesh in the incarnation (John 1:4–14).

Most of the evangelical world employs this phrase. Perhaps “Are you a born again Christian?” (isn’t that redundant?) is even more popular, but “Have you made Jesus your own personal Savior?”* definitely competes.

Can we claim Jesus as our own “personal Savior”?

In the BeginningI understand personal in the relational sense–that Jesus saves me personally; He and I share a personal relationship. The alternative to this personal relationship, I suppose, would be a relationship only between Jesus and His body, the church, which does not somehow translate into a relationship between Him and each individual.

What does the Bible teach on this?

Truly, you cannot find those exact words–“personal Savior”–in the Bible. But what about the concept? As I consider the question, my thoughts are immediately drawn to two of the most God-fearing and God-loving men in the Bible, one who lived under the Old Covenant and one under the New: David and Paul.

David

David wrote of his relationship with God, even as his Savior, in the Psalms.

I love you, O LORD, my strength.
The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. (Ps. 18.1-2)

I cried aloud to the LORD,
and he answered me from his holy hill. (Ps. 3.4)

Do not forsake me, O Lord!
O my God, be not far from me!
Make haste to help me,
O Lord, my salvation! (Ps. 38.21-22)

Jesus Holding MeCan you feel the sense of a personal relationship in David’s words? Yahweh was not just the God of Israel; He was David’s God! There is something comforting and empowering in this relationship, because the relationship does not depend upon the state of anyone else in the world–it’s directly between a man and his God.

Paul

Paul also helps us understand the nature of our relationship with Jesus the Savior.

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Gal. 2.20)

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. (Phil. 3.12)

I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. (1 Tim. 1.12-14)

You

Can you say Jesus is your personal Savior? Do you have a personal relationship with Him? I dearly hope you do! It is the single most important relationship any human being can have–and you either are His or you aren’t.

Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts and comments–I’d love to hear them.


* I DO have a problem with that statement, but it’s not with the “personal Savior” bit–it’s with the “have YOU made” bit. Nobody makes Jesus to be his or her Savior. More appropriately and biblically, they should ask, “Has Jesus saved you?” or “Have you been saved by Jesus?”

Trying to Grasp the Wind?

HurryIt seems like life is getting more and more hectic. Not mine, specifically, although I reckon could easily trim out a bit of excess, but this world is rushing madly about, busy with things and stuff.
On the one hand, it’s good to be busy. The devil plays around with our leisure time. But on the other hand, the devil also enjoys watching us waste our time as we hurry and scurry doing nothing particularly constructive or productive.
Praise the super-successful business mogul. Clap for the sports hero. Sigh for the girl singing on the X-Factor.
Shuttle the kids off to school to learn how to write, read, build, discover. Rush them to band practice, football practice, their first job in the hamburger joint. It’s not enough that they get by in life; we want them to thrive, excel, become truly great, leave their mark. So we push.
Do we ever stop to think WHY we push them? Why do we push ourselves? Why do we rush about attempting to achieve great things?
WindSolomon did exactly this. He holds the world record in the “super-successful” category because he had virtually unlimited resources and a drive to discover, build, and thrive. Solomon diligently searched for thrills, meaning, and happiness–but when he paused to reflect, he realized he had just been grasping at the wind. Frantically, he tried everything he could think of, but nothing truly satisfied. “Vanity,” he penned in his journal. “Emptiness. Striving after the wind.”
 
I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind. (Ecclesiastes 1.14)
 
And I set my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is grasping for the wind. (1.17)
 
I said in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with mirth; therefore enjoy pleasure”; but surely, this also was vanity. I said of laughter—“Madness!”; and of mirth, “What does it accomplish?” (2.1-2)
 
Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done
And on the labor in which I had toiled;
And indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind.
There was no profit under the sun. (2.11)
Therefore I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me, for all is vanity and grasping for the wind. (2.17)
City StreetSad man! Because he was wise, he reflected and meditated on his life journey. Many of us don’t pause in the hustle and bustle of our days and weeks–we just spin our wheels and never look back. But Solomon looked back, searching for the reason why he had spent his energies and time the way he had. When all was said and done, after he had philosophized for twelve tough chapters, Solomon found his conclusion. Perhaps some would have committed suicide by the time they had meditated on the realities of life the way Solomon did–but Solomon found an anchor, a reason for living:
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:
Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.
For God will bring every work into judgment,
Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil. (12.13-14)
Jerusalem MarketplaceThe answer to life is not in discovering your unique passion, becoming the best at your trade or talent, or hoarding boatloads of cash. No, the secret to life’s meaning lies in something quite outside this world! Man’s duty is to fear God and keep His commandments. If this is our aim, everything we do in life suddenly becomes pregnant with meaning, from the words we use with our families to the business decisions we make at the office. Suddenly every word, thought, and action holds eternal significance because we realize there actually is a judgment day coming in which God will reveal every secret thing! We ought to live in light of eternity, in light of judgment, in light of God! Since He exists and He watches and He commands, we should listen and obey and conform to His way. Imagine that–the creature obeying his Creator. What a concept.
Why rush about? Why achieve things? Why push ourselves? If it’s not for God, there really is no good reason to do any of it. It is vanity, a grasping after the wind, and it will all disappear in the twinkling of an eye. All this earth stuff will grow old, rust, rot, and perish. So will our bodies. But WITH God there is no such thing as vanity or emptiness! All has meaning. Praise Him!