When you begin to accept the reality that you aren’t (and never will be) perfect, it gives you space to discover who you really are – your passions, your dreams, your talents, your gifts – you. You begin to realize that it’s ok to be you and not someone else. In fact, God has gifted you with certain abilities and dreams for specific purposes that He desires for your life.
Ephesians 2:10 teaches us that he has good works for us to do in our lives. But don’t skip over the verses leading up to this. That’s where we get all messed up. “For by GRACE are ye saved through faith; and that NOT OF YOURSELVES: it is the GIFT OF GOD: NOT OF WORKS lest any man should boast. For we are HIS WORKMANSHIP created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
If you feel a little lost in life, are wondering what you really should be doing, or want to feel like you are making a difference, this is for you. Let’s unwrap these verses together.
As we’ve already discussed before, we aren’t perfect. We are flawed humans. We have “fallen short” of God’s glory. On our own, we will never be able to fill that void in our lives. Something will always be missing. We may try to fill that void with relationships, religion, or new routines, but the satisfaction will be temporary at best. True satisfaction and joy comes only through the saving grace of our faith being placed in Jesus Christ. And it is then, and only then, that we will begin to see how our imperfections can be taken and shaped into something beautiful for our good and God’s glory.
Ironically, many Christians get that first step right. They place their faith in Jesus Christ and know it is only by His grace that they have been saved from the eternal penalty for sin. However, in no time at all, they are back to living their lives in their own strength and on their own agenda rather than the grace of God.
Paul refers to this when he is writing to the church at Galatia. He asks them, “Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3) And, as a testament of his own life, he says “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” (I Corinthians 15:10)
Why can’t we get the perfect life by just working harder? The answer is found back in Ephesians – “lest any man should boast.” The ultimate purpose of any person is to bring glory to God, and if we are doing it all on our own, that’s not going to happen.
Have you been struggling to identify your purpose in life? Or maybe you thought you had it all figured out, and now it seems as if it was all ripped out from underneath you?
First of all, you’ve got to settle this thing of how you are going to live your life and who is going to get the praise – you or God. If you want to be truly satisfied, it is going to require a death to self in order to live for God. Surprisingly, though the initial “death” is difficult, once the choice is made, the joy you experience will be unlike anything you’ve known before. It’s also possible that you’ve made this decision before, but life has just taken you down a road where you’ve begun to live for self rather than God. Maybe it’s time to revisit that.
Secondly, the specifics of your life’s purpose will vary according to what season you are in. The will of God is not some broad, intangible thing.
Right now, you may be in a season of singleness. Seek God’s heart as to what He would love to do through you with this opportunity. Or, you may be a mom with lots of little ones to look after every day. What does God’s word say about mothering? And you may just be a girl who feels lost in this thing called life. Believe me, God does have good things for you. He says so in His Word.
But it all starts with realizing we are imperfect. The best standard to live by is grace (God’s help extended to us anytime, anywhere, in whatever way we need). And, it’s a journey.
Have faith that God does have great things in store for you – to bring him glory and to bless others. Get curious about who you really are – not what you’ve always thought you would be. And if you’re looking for a place to get started on that, come back in the coming weeks as I will be sharing some of my favorite questions to prayerfully consider.