This is kind of like a part two to my last blog, Seasons of Life and Purpose. I’m just so excited that purpose isn’t this elusive thing that we have to chase around, but that the Designer of our lives knows what needs to be done for us to do all that He created us for. He knows every broken part in our lives that He is healing, every gift and ability He gave, every fear that needs to be overcome and every single part of us. He is actively involved with us which is why intimacy with Him is so important. How can we hear what He’s saying or for that matter do what He’s saying if we’re not near to Him? We can’t. Intimacy with Him is directly tied to fulfilling our purpose and God-given dreams. The enemy would rather have us busy chasing our dreams on our own – even good ones like ministry or helping people – than see us intimate with God. He knows that intimacy with God equals a powerful life because it simply cannot be any other way. We have a God Who loves passionately and being near Him cannot help but produce that love for others in us. John 13:35 says, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. The result of an intimate life with God will always be a deeper love for people. Purpose in our lives will always center on loving others. That’s God’s heartbeat.
I am learning that the goal of EVERY season in our life is simply to know Him more. That’s it. NOTHING else matters – at all. That doesn’t mean you won’t do anything but sit around doing your own thing or that you won’t be doing anything of value at all. Quite the opposite, in fact. The difference will be that you will have HIS passion and HIS heart. You need it desperately for your family, for your job, for your kids, for your ministry, for your neighbors, for your life and I do too. When we do things and are missing God’s heart – we are more or less a little noisy to people around us. I Corinthians 13:1 says that we can do amazing things, but if it’s done without love, we’re just a resounding gong or clanging symbol. In other words – annoying.
I don’t want to be a star on someone’s chart – I kind of doubt you do either. People were never stars on Jesus’ chart because His value wasn’t tied to what He did or how people responded to Him. He was compelled to act because of His compassion and love. We desperately need to understand God’s heart for us because I John 4:19 says that “We love because He first loved us.” We can only know that through knowing Him. The closer we get to Him, the more we know how loved we are. When our value is placed on what we do, we use others to make us feel good about ourselves. Our acts are done out of a need for approval instead of out of love. Our kids act ‘good?’ star on our chart. Our kids mess up? our value goes down. A lot of people in attendance at the Bible study we lead? star on our chart. No one showed up tonight? We feel that God must be disappointed in us. See how when our value is tied to what we do, it gets messy, hurtful and annoying and it barrs us from loving others? Intimacy with God is what gives us the heart we need to fulfill God’s dream for our lives. If we’re missing God’s heart – we’ll ultimately miss our purpose even if we’re doing great things. It doesn’t take a lot to see the damage that is done when the heart of something is missing. The enemy is always looking to rip the heart out of things and he knows if he can disconnect us from God’s heart, there will be no life in it or heart for the people around us. God uses the seasons in our lives to continue prepare our hearts and make us more like Him. God has a purpose for whatever season you’re in right now.
This morning when I was reading, I came across Acts 7 where Stephen is giving his last words before he was stoned. That is an amazing story in itself, but the part that really stood out to me was when he was talking about Moses. Moses killed an Egyptian to defend a fellow Israelite who was being beaten. Acts 7:25 says that Moses supposed that his brethren understood that God was granting them deliverance through him; but they did not understand. This was his dream – that he would be the deliverer of his people. Moses thought he was delivering his people by killing the Egyptian. He killed ONE Egyptian and ended up having to run for his life and landed in a wilderness where he lived a somewhat regular life as a shepherd for forty years!! That is hardly the life of a deliverer. After 40 YEARS, I’m sure both Egypt and the dream became a somewhat distant memory. This is where I want to pick up and go to the part that jumped out at me.
Acts 7:34 says, “Come now, I will send you to Egypt.” “Huh?!! But Lord! I’ve been here 40 YEARS! That deliverer dream? I was just kind of a crazy, young guy. That dream was from YOU? Really Lord? I was all excited about it back in Egypt, but now I’m a long way from there.” All He knew at this point was that God was sending Him to Egypt. He didn’t know all that would take place. What was God working in him in the secret place for 40 years? Perhaps in the desert, God was building his faith and making him into who he needed him to be. Perhaps he needed compassion built into him and a tenacity that he couldn’t have had coming from a palace. He needed to know ‘I AM’ so that he understood that ‘he was not.’ Maybe God was giving Moses His heart and passion for His people. Maybe the more Moses was with the sheep, the more he longed for his people’s deliverance. Maybe God gave him a love that would compel him to leave his comfortable life and head for Egypt when God said, “Go.” Previously, he’d done it his own way. He had tried to deliver one, but God wanted to use him to deliver a whole nation. He had a passion to be a deliverer, but God needed to give Moses the tools and heart he would need to truly be used by Him to be the deliverer. Maybe alone day after day with those sheep, that’s where Moses got to really know God. Do you know what else he learned? To live in a desert! He needed that to lead the Israelites. I’m quite sure that Moses had no idea how to lead people through a wildnerness after living only in Pharoah’s palaces and living a pampered life. Sometimes we need to live a little life (ie season) before we can be in the next season. I used to kind of think Moses was a failure those forty years and then finally made it in life, but now I see those forty years were preparation. You need a lot if God is going to use you to deliver a nation from the hand of a mighty Pharoah!
He tried to deliver in secret but God wanted a deliverance that was loud, spectacular and in full view of the enemy and could not be mistaken for a man’s doing. Moses wanted an ordinary deliverance that could be accomplished by human hands, but God wanted a deliverance that could only be accomplished through Him surrounded by things only He can do. Moses tried to deliver one, but God had the whole nation in mind. Moses’ dream was incredibly small compared to God’s. Moses’ dream was God’s dream, but God wanted to accomplish it and wouldn’t let Moses succeed in accomplishing it on his own. “No, Moses. This dream you have, it’s Mine, but you need My heart to fulfill what I have in My mind. I want my people free more than you do. You need to learn My ways, Who I am, and so many things first.” Did you know it says in Exodus 33:11 that Moses spoke to God face to face? That’s pretty intimate if you ask me. It seems to me that the closeness Moses had may have been learned in those forty years in the desert. Purposeless, hidden, wilderness time? I think not. I’m sure to Moses his days looked pretty bleak and boring, but God was preparing. Moses was a nation deliverer in the making. Sure, he was scared spitless and God had to send Aaron along to help him talk to Pharoah, but he had to have some serious trust in God to go back to Egypt and face Pharoah.
Has God given you something that you’re passionate about? Something that makes your heart leap a little when you hear about it? There are as many dreams as people. Sometimes we bury them, sometimes we idolize them, but what if we unbury them or take them down from their throne and hand them to God. “God, is this Your dream? A piece of your heart You’ve put in me?” Don’t be afraid to give it to Him, afterall He is the Dream Giver. He has designed our lives and has a purpose for each of us. Really a lot of them are His dreams that He’s imprinted on us. Not all of our dreams are His, but He is quite capable of sorting that out and allowing His to surface as long as we don’t hold on too tightly and have to have it our way. Do you know what else I’ve learned? We don’t need to go chasing our purpose or dreams around! When we walk intimately with God, things get clearer, steps of obedience grow more obvious and our heart becomes more like His. Moses certainly wasn’t chasing his dream around after his first attempt at fulfilling it, but God found him. He had to investigate the burning bush, but I bet it was probably pretty hard to miss. Moses had to make the decision to obey. If he’d decided his life was more comfortable as a shepherd, then a nation may not have gotten delivered. At least he wouldn’t have been part of it. He didn’t tell God, “Well, if you bring Pharoah here I’ll talk to him.” He did what God told him to do without knowing what was going to happen, but this time around He had God’s heart.
When we have something we feel God has given us, we can try and fulfill it on our own, but it will never bear the fruit that He had in mind. We can run all over the globe or our cities and do all kinds of good things, but if we’re missing His heart it won’t matter. His heart is love. Not only that, but He IS love. All good things stem from love. Love as a motive is pure, but any other motive is somewhat selfish. Fulfilling His dream or purpose without His heart will miss the point. Isn’t His heart ultimately what He wants people to see? We can say or do the right thing in the wrong way. All of that to say, it doesn’t mean that all people will love what we’re saying even if we’re saying it with the right heart. Remember Stephen at the beginning of this blog? He was giving his last words before he was stoned. I don’t think the people liked what he had to say. Do you know what his job in the church was? Helping people. Sometimes love says hard things – truth can be hard to swallow and it can cost our lives. We see it every day in the news. He was stoned because the religious leaders “couldn’t contend with the Spirit and wisdom.” They couldn’t contend with God who was so evidently with Stephen. That can only come from intimacy. The strength he had came from intimacy with God. Intimacy with God costs us something, but it gives us so much more.
All of that to say, if we’re walking closely with the Dream Giver – I’m pretty sure He’ll not forget to give us the next step. He’s not sitting there dangling ‘purpose’ as we play hide and seek looking for it. Go ahead, write down the things He’s put in your heart. Maybe you don’t know – ask Him. There can be all kinds of things that God puts in us whether it’s to see people walk in freedom, orphans to find a home, abused women to be healed, the church to walk in unity, families to be healthy, marriages to be strong, single people to belong, homeless to find homes, inner city youth to find belonging, violence exchanged for peace, the uneducated to get education, all kinds of art, music, business ventures etc etc etc. So many, many things on God’s heart that He wants to share with us. Things He wants to do through us and things we are created for that will bring Him much glory.
Let’s focus on the One Who gives us His heart and allow Him to do things in and through us in His time and in His way.