God’s will for your life is singular. Want to know what it is?
For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit. But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more; that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing. (1 Thess. 4:3-12)
I wanted to highlight this scripture today for a couple reasons. The first being that Paul sees the highest goal we can attain as being in Christ. His words about being called to holiness and that to not do so is actually a rejection of God is a very convicting message. Especially, considering that we live in a day and age of unrestrained passion. It’s scandalous to read this and think that Paul actually means what he says when he calls each Christian to “possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust”, but that’s because we often lose sight of the purpose for which we’re called. What is that purpose? Is it to be a great leader? Is it to “reach for the stars”? I don’t believe so. This brings me to my second reason for getting into this scripture.
We have one main purpose – to be unified with God. To know God and to make Him known. Our purpose on this earth is not to be the best “gosh darn” version of ourselves we can be, but to be the only version we should be – the one that is in Christ. When Paul calls the Christians to watch their dealings with their neighbors, to live with honor and “that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you“, he’s portraying a message that is almost completely opposite to the popular ideas in the Christian “ideas market” today.
There are literally hundreds of books lining the shelves of the Christian section at any local bookstore that talk about “becoming your best self” and “finding your purpose”. They instruct you on taking your Christian life to the next level, and ultimately they cause us to lose focus on the genuine goal of our life. They point the gospel message back towards ourselves and our personal development. However, if you actually read Jesus’ words and the epistles of Paul, the life that is promised to us is not one filled with purpose and abundant blessings. It’s a life filled with Christ. It isn’t just the fluffy stuff. It’s a life which we may live quietly and toil in daily, but it’s a life that is filled with meaning, because Christ, the eternal logos, fills us with His Spirit and breathes life into it. Do we gain a purpose in it? Yes. Do we sometimes get blessed by God in it? Yes. But we do not seek those things. What do we seek?
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matt. 6:33-34)
There is no need to worry about being elevated to the next thing. God tells you to be concerned about today. He tells you to seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, meaning His holiness, and everything else will work itself out.
Think about this: if you are a Christian and you are anxious or becoming frustrated because you haven’t found your purpose, have you tried seeing Christ as your purpose? Have you tried making Him your purpose? The beauty of the Lord should overshadow all other pursuits in your life and should infill your life. Everything else becomes tertiary. The Christian who praises God inside a shack built on a trash heap is not less faithful or dear to God than the CEO of a church-planting ministry.