Purpose and Direction

Monday, July 20, 2015, 8:45 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put two songs in mind this morning: “He Gives Purpose” and “He Touched My Mouth.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read James 4:1-10 (NASB).

Friendship with the World (vv. 1-5)

What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: “He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us”?

When we come to faith in Jesus Christ, by God’s grace, we are crucified with Christ to sin, we are transformed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God in New Birth, and we are given new lives in Christ Jesus to be lived in his righteousness and holiness. If we say we have fellowship with God, but we continue to conduct our lives according to our sinful flesh, then we are liars, and the truth is not in us (1 Jn. 1:6). If we conduct our lives according to our flesh we will die, but if by the Spirit we put to death the deeds of our flesh, we will live (Ro. 8:1-14). Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24).

When we believe in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit comes into our lives. He teaches us all things, and reminds us of what Jesus taught when he was on this earth. He counsels, guides, and directs us in the way we should go. He convicts of sin, encourages us in our walks of faith, and comforts us with Christ’s love. He strengthens us in the faith and empowers us to live godly and holy lives. He also gives us spiritual gifts, according to his choosing, to be used within the body of Christ (of which all believers are a part) for the encouragement and edification of the body. As well, God assigns to each of us specific roles (parts) within the body which are ours to fulfill. He gives us purpose and direction.

In addition to all that, coming to faith in Jesus Christ means we enter into a marriage relationship (engagement) with him. He is our husband and we are his bride. The relationship is much like the Jewish marriages of Bible times. The engagement period was a legal contract, and it was the same as a marriage, just without the consummation of the marriage until sometime later when that took place. It is like that with Christ. We are in that engagement period, yet it is just as though we are married, only the consummation won’t take place until Christ returns for his bride.

What this means is that we are to treat Jesus and our relationship with him like we should treat a marriage relationship with a spouse whom we love and adore. We are to be completely faithful to him, forsaking all other lovers. We are to desire him above all else, and we should want to please him in all that we do. Also, we should want to be with him always, to share with him what is on our hearts, and to listen to him and to hear what is on his heart. And, we should walk in fellowship with him daily and obey him in all ways.

Jesus Christ, as our husband, is jealous when we decide we want to still live like we are single, i.e. when we decide to go our own way and to do what we want to do. It arouses him to jealousy when we do not consult him about the direction of our lives, or when we treat him like he is a genie in a bottle just there to grant our every wish, just so that we can live for our sinful pleasures. Yet, what kind of a marriage is it if a spouse acts like he or she is still single and shows little desire for his or her own spouse, and disregards the wise counsel, desires, feelings and thoughts of his or her marital partner?

So many professing followers of Christ treat Jesus just like they want to be single (unsaved), and that they don’t want to be married to him. They want all the benefits of marriage (salvation, eternal life) without any of the responsibility. Not only that, but they are on friendly (intimate) terms with the world of sin instead. That would be like a husband or a wife deciding to have sexual relations with others to whom he or she is not married, and without regard to how that is hurting his or her marital relationship.

Oh, if we could just see our relationship with Jesus Christ as a marriage, which it is, then perhaps we might better understand the heart of God, and what he desires for us, and we might begin to desire him as we ought, and not run after the sinful pleasures of this world.

He Gives Purpose / An Original Work / June 9, 2012

“Listen to Me when I’m calling to you.
Obey freely My word.
Follow Me in all of My ways.
Do all that I say.
Hear Me gently whisper to you
My will for your life and future.
Give all of your life and heart to
Follow Me always.”

Repent of your sins and worship Jesus.
He’s your Lord and Master.
He died for your sins so you could
Live with Him today.
He has a plan for your life and
He gives purpose and direction.
He gives meaning to your life,
So follow Him today.

“I love you so much I gave My life for
You to walk in My ways,
Living for Me each day as you
Bow to Me and pray.
Witness for Me of your love for Me and
Of My grace and mercy,
How I died to save you of your
Sins now and always.”

Grace to the Humble (vv. 6-10)

But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.

God gives grace to the humble. HE exalts those who are humble before him. The Lord Jesus gave me two biblical examples of this today. One is Isaiah, and the other is Jeremiah. When Isaiah was in the presence of Almighty God, and he saw the Lord seated on his throne, high and lifted up, and he saw him in all his glory and holiness, he cried, “Woe to me! I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips… and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.” Oh, that we might have such awe, respect and honor of God as did Isaiah! That is so lost in today’s modern flesh-driven church. Isaiah was humbled before God, he realized his own sinfulness, and that of his people, and he acknowledged that sin to God.

Because of his honor and respect for God, and his humility in acknowledging his own sinfulness to God, God touched him in purifying him of his uncleanness, in removing his guilt, and in atoning for his sin. This is a prefiguring of what Jesus Christ did for us in dying on the cross for our sins so that we might have our sins atoned for, our guilt taken away, and our hearts purified of all unrighteousness. As a result of all this, God called Isaiah to his service, and Isaiah responded by saying, “Here am I. Send me!” Then the Lord gave him his commission. Isaiah was to be God’s voice to God’s stubborn and rebellious people in confronting them with their sinful practices, in warning them of divine judgment, in calling them to repentance and renewed faith in God, and in giving them the hope of salvation.

When approached by God and told that he had been chosen by God to be a prophet to the nations, even before God had formed him in the womb of his mother, Jeremiah was humbled before God. He acknowledged to God that he did not have what he believed were the qualifications of a prophet, i.e. he saw himself as lacking the maturity and wisdom he felt necessary for such a position of honor. He did not glory in himself or think too highly of himself, nor was he such a one who would take such a position upon himself, presuming upon himself such an honor. Then, the Lord comforted him with the knowledge and understanding that it would not be Jeremiah’s words he would speak, but it would be the words of God. God touched his mouth and said, “Now I have put my words in your mouth.” He, as well, received a similar commission as that of Isaiah. He was to say whatever God commanded him to say, and he was not to be afraid of the people. Jeremiah submitted to God’s call upon his life, and he surrendered to the will and purpose of God for his life.

Instead of living like we are still single, thinking we can do whatever we want now that we are “saved,” we should be like these men of God. We should humble ourselves before God, acknowledging to God our own sinfulness and our own lack of human ability to follow God in surrender and obedience to his will for our lives. We should listen to what God tells us in his word are his plan and purpose for our lives, and we should submit ourselves to his plan and to his will for our lives, which is for us to die to sin and live to righteousness; to no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave himself up for us. We should say with Isaiah, “Here am I! Send me!” We should go where he sends us, and do what he tells us to do, and we should say what he gives us to say to the people, because many are without Christ and without hope of salvation, and many more are believing in a false hope, and are being led astray from the truth of the gospel. Yet, we can do none of this in our own human flesh, but only in the power and working of God’s Spirit in our lives, as we surrender our wills to him.

None of this is possible, though, if we are still holding on to sin, thinking we can live however we want. We must grieve over our sin, turn from our lives of living for sin and self, be born anew of the Spirit of God, and now walk in the power of the Holy Spirit within us in God’s holiness and righteousness. We must daily put on the armor of God (Eph. 6:10-20) in order to fight off temptation to sin and all Satan’s evil and wicked schemes against us. And, we must surrender our lives to God, submit to his will, and be willing to do whatever he asks us to do. This is the life God requires and desires for us – to live holy lives pleasing to him, in his service, ready and willing to obey him in all ways, because we love him.

He Touched My Mouth / An Original Work / June 13, 2012

Based off Isaiah 6:1-8; Jeremiah 1:4-9

Oh, I saw the Lord
Seated on His throne,
High and lifted up;
Holy is the Lord!
The earth is full
of His glory.
“Woe to me,” I cried,
“I’m of unclean lips.”

My Lord touched my mouth
With His cleansing pow’r;
Removed all my guilt,
Paid for by His blood.
He asked, “Whom shall I send;
Who will go for us?”
I said, “Here am I.
Send me!”

Before I was born,
God set me apart;
He appointed me
To His servant be.
I said, “I don’t know
How to speak.
I am but a child.”
Then, the Lord replied:

“Do not say to me,
‘I am but a child.’
You must go to all,
And do what I say.
Do not fear them,
For I’m with you.”
My Lord touched my mouth;
Gave me words to say.