One of things that trips me up the most is the balance between what I am supposed to be accomplishing in my life, and what I am supposed to be relying on God to do for me! This seems to be a dilemma many also share. I frequently hear questions such as “What does God want me to do” or “What am I supposed to do with my life?” “Does God want me to do this job,” “move there,” “date or marry this person,” “attempt this or that?” Good questions! I think these generally come from well intentioned people who want God’s best for their lives, who may be confused about what to do, and certainly don’t want to do something God doesn’t want them to do.
In scripture we see a number of principles to help us in the area of purpose and the questions surrounding “what is my purpose?” In John 5:17, Jesus was clear that God was at work and that he too was always working. He doesn’t just let us wander around with no direction and no purpose; but it is clear the purposes of God will be fulfilled. Our mistakes, wrong moves, even bad decisions will not thwart what God intends to do in your life and mine. He is the one who has the purpose, and the one who will fulfill it for our lives-We Don’t Do It! The Psalmist said it well: “The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me” (see Psalm 57:2 & 138:8). In speaking to Christ followers, Paul encouraged us it is God who is working in us for the very intention of fulfilling his purpose for us: “for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Phil 2:13).
A number of years ago in a Bible study on God’s will, one of my pastors made a great analogy for God’s purpose for our lives and some of the questions we seem to have. Consider life as being on a cruise ship. God is the captain! We can be certain that ship is going to go where He takes it, and we are going where He directs us! But along the way, we have plenty of choices: to have fun, to work out, to eat, to rest, to be with others in enjoyable relationship. God’s plan, His purpose; yet we have a lot of choices along the way!
So we see then, the purpose we often deem as ours to have to work towards and labor to accomplish, is really God’s purpose for us-it’s not ours at all! For me this gives a sense of relief, and a peace to be able to accept I am not perfect. I make mistakes and take wrong turns in my life; but God will still work it all out for good! Let’s rest in God, and rely on God to do the work He is already busy doing (see also: Isa 46:9-11; Isa 55:11; Rom 8:28; Eph 1:11-13).