Working together with Him, we strongly urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain [by turning away from sound doctrine and His merciful kindness].
2 Corinthians 6:1
God has saved us for Himself. “I press on,” says Paul, “if so be that I may apprehend that for which also I was apprehended of Christ Jesus.” We we’re not apprehended for eternal salvation only, but for a quite definite purpose now: to be God’s fellow-workers. What is His work today? It is to sum up all things in Christ; to leave no odds and ends of any kind in the universe out of harmony with His exalted Son. How can I cooperate with God? How can I even touch so great a work? I do not know; but with Paul, I want above all things to apprehend that.
Purpose. Everything that God created has a divinely appointed purpose. In our limited knowledge and wisdom, we may not fully understand exactly what that purpose may be, nevertheless, the Creator designed and planned His creation and nothing is useless. We may have yet to discover the purpose, but everything great and small has a purpose.
As God created humans, He gave them purpose. Listen to His instructions to Adam and Eve:
“So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them. And God blessed them [granting them certain authority] and said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subjugate it [putting it under your power]; and rule over (dominate) the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and every living thing that moves upon the earth.” So God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of the entire earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; and to all the animals on the earth and to every bird of the air and to everything that moves on the ground—to everything in which there is the breath of life—I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so [because He commanded it]. God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good and He validated it completely. And there was evening and there was morning, a sixth day.”
Genesis 1: 27-31
Everything that God had created had a purpose in providing sustenance for the humans He had created. They, too, had a purpose and that purpose was to provide fellowship with God.
“So the Lord God took the man [He had made] and settled him in the Garden of Eden to cultivate and keep it. And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool [afternoon breeze] of the day, so the man and his wife hid and kept themselves hidden from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.”
Genesis 2:15, 3:8
As we continue to read, we discover that Satan enters the scene and convinces humanity to distort their purpose and instead use their abilities to work against the plan of God. For centuries this continued even though there were those who rediscovered their purpose and lived to carry out the plans that God had designed for them. We read of Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joesph, Moses, and Joshua and how they fulfilled their God-given purposes. Some of us as we read their stories may think that it takes special individuals to find and carry out the purposes of God, but that’s not really the case. Every person has been given by God the capacity to carry out His purposes, even before they’re born.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you [and approved of you as My chosen instrument],And before you were born I consecrated you [to Myself as My own];I have appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
These are the words spoken to a young man by God as he is being called to the purposes of God. Like us, he doesn’t feel capable of such a great purpose that God is sitting before him and his objections mirror ours:
“Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, For I am [only] a young man.”
For most of us the purpose that God has planned for our lives feels way beyond our abilities, knowledge, and strength. Jeremiah saw himself as an insignificant nobody from a small community in a small struggling nation and he was sure that God had more capable, qualified people that He could use. And often that’s how we think. When we look around we see others who we are sure could do much better than we might. What we miss is that God is aware of all the possibilities and has chosen us. It’s not that we applied for the task or even that we qualify as the best candidate. The reality is that God has chosen us for His own purpose and our only response is willing obedience or willful rejection.
“You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and I have appointed placed purposefully planted you, so that you would go and bear fruit keep on bearing, and that your fruit will remain be lasting, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name [as My representative] He may give to you.”
The most complete and satisfied humans on the planet are those who have discovered and given themselves to the purpose for which God has made them. Far too many endure life, work in unfulfilled careers, and go through the motions of life. Paul understood that God has appointed us for greater purposes than the temporary ones of this life. He uses interesting words as he describes the life that finds and fulfills its purpose. He say “I am apprehended.” The dictionary defines apprehended as: to arrest or take into custody. When Paul’s uses that word, he is describing the one whose heart has been captured by the love of God and whose love for God has bound itself to Him. It is a life that has given up its selfish desires and has chosen to carry out the purposes of God. Paul tells us that after all his attempts, he has not yet “apprehended” fully the purpose of God. I think that he is saying that we will never fully fulfill our purpose until we have completed our journey in this world and are presented before Christ.
The purpose of God isn’t seasonal. It’s isn’t just for certain times in the course of life. We don’t get to “do our thirty” and retire. From the moment we yield our souls to Christ until we breathe our last breath, we are to strive to apprehend what we have been apprehended to do. Our purpose and our work is not separated from God for we work together with Him and those He places around us to carry out His divine purposes.
So today let me encourage you to take the time and meet with God and ask Him to define and reveal to you your specific purpose in His kingdom. If you already know what it is, ask God to help you overcome fear and hindrances keeping you from carrying out your divinely appointed purpose. If you know your purpose and you have been working to carry it out, ask God to let you come closer and more involved in your purpose until you find yourself working hand-in-glove with Christ.
Dr. John Thompson