Previously we found that God’s idea of success for us is simply actively depending on Him to live His life in and through us, on His terms, and that our purpose now, what we are doing here now, is to know God on His terms and in His timing. But what about God’s purpose? What is He getting out of this relationship?
For many of us when we consider this question we are drawn into large-scale events, like what is the Lord doing in terms of end-time events or the preaching of the gospel to all nations. But we want to look at what His purpose is in relationship to us as individuals; we will not be able to get a grasp of what He is doing on a large scale until we can relate to Him on a personal scale.
God does what God is, and what God is is His nature. We’ve already looked at some of His characteristics (He is Holy, Eternal, Creative, etc.), but He not only has these characteristics, but is by His nature sharing them with His creation as well. God’s nature is to give what He is, which is why He created us to be receivers.
God’s Purpose Now:
God Gives Himself
God’s purpose now is to give Himself to us and through us. Since this is His nature, and it will not change, receiving what He wants to give is something we’d better get good at. From our perspective, this giving is evidenced by His meeting our needs for unconditional love, acceptance and individual value. There is no limit to His meeting of these needs, and He shows no partiality in the way that He meets them. In other words, He doesn’t meet our need for unconditional love more than He meets our need for unconditional acceptance or individual significance. Love without acceptance is meaningless, as is acceptance without the recognition of a person’s individuality.
God Reveals Himself
One of the ways God gives Himself to us and through us is by revealing Himself to us and through us. Each of us needs to have our senses tuned to His wavelength, so we can recognize Him and learn to know Him on His terms. Though God often manifests Himself to our natural senses, and enjoys doing so, He is always manifesting Himself spiritually — in the spiritual realm, His Spirit to our spirit — and desires to make Himself known, to manifest Himself, more and more clearly on the supernatural level. But this requires ears that hear and eyes that see on our part, so that we don’t insist that He only reveal Himself to our natural senses. None of us can possibly have any idea how He wants to make Himself known — what He has in store for us! But as we become trustworthy, and pursue Him with expectation and persistence, we will come to a place where whatever He is doing or saying, He can share it with us.
God Directs Us
God wants to reveal Himself to us in part so that He can direct us. Very often we want to be led by Him, following after Him, but as we grow to depend on Him, more and more He wants to point out the way, then move with us as we proceed. This may seem contradictory to walking in dependence, but what actually happens is that our confidence in our resting and abiding deepens, so that our actions and behavior line up to such an extent that we find ourselves moving in Him and “obeying” Him without thinking or deciding to. As our soul and body line up with (come under the control of) our spirit, there is a unity that truly knows the way to go, and goes, without the need for signs, confirmations, or proof-after-the-fact. The knowing of confidence becomes all. This is an experience that is better “felt” than “telt,” but we must hold out for knowing Him by spirit, rather than settling for the natural and supernatural manifestations of the Lord we will experience as our supernatural and natural senses are tuned.
God Consumes Our Flesh
Another of God’s jobs now is to consume our flesh. It is particularly important to remember that this is His job, not ours, and that He is always working on this. Our flesh is the only thing that truly stands in the way of our resting and relaxing in our new identity, and it is the only thing that interferes with God’s life working in and through us. So it is His priority to consume the flesh, though because of His love for us, and because He knows how fragile we are, He doesn’t strip us of all our flesh at once… we just couldn’t stand it. So He’s got His own time-table, and we can rest assured that He’s working on what’s most important to Him, though it may not be what we want Him to be working on. It’s also reassuring to know that by the time He makes us aware of an aspect of the flesh He’s working to consume, the vast majority has already been dealt with, so we’re involved only in the bonfire of victory.
Remember here that God, though He hates the flesh, doesn’t hold it’s presence against us. He knew from the very beginning that we would create the flesh that we’re contending with today. From the very beginning He has been arranging circumstances to expose our flesh, so that we can receive healing and enjoy having our needs met.
We are on God’s side in this; who we truly are — spirit beings — is in full agreement with what God is doing; but flesh doesn’t want to die, and our soul has never been this way before. Here we cannot be reminded enough to be patient with ourselves and with God — God Is Love, and He Is a Consuming Fire! He will finish what He’s started! Jesus will put His finger on what stands between us and knowing God, which is eternal life. Though we often don’t understand what He’s doing, we come to understand that although there is a way that seems right to us, its end result brings separation from the things of God. We cannot expect God to share His dominion and authority with our flesh.
God Teaches Us How To Walk In Freedom
God’s purpose is to teach us in practical terms how to walk in this life in freedom from the influence of the world, our flesh and the devil. That doesn’t mean that He removes us from their influence, or that He removes them from this earthly realm. It does mean that as we learn to walk in confident victory day-by-day we become impervious to their influence, like brushing the dirt off of our shoes. This is one of God’s major goals, and He spends 24 hours of every day doing nothing but thinking about us and arranging our lives and circumstances to draw us into perfect union within our being and complete unity with Him.
What Hinders God’s Purpose Now?
Nothing! He will not let anything — our mind, our will or our emotions — stand in His way! Our soul, even our will, is not stronger than God. Who we truly are — spirit — has already given God permission to do whatever He wants to do, and is actively cooperating with God’s dealings in our lives. So even when we want Him to stop, or are feeling like we can’t go on, it is just our soul (and sometimes our body) resisting change, and will not deter God from His purposes. Over time as we learn to recognize Him giving us victory in these areas, we learn to rest and abide, even amongst the great fires He sends our way.
How Do We Join God In Accomplishing His Purpose?
Learning to walk in the Spirit is not as hard as it is sometimes made out to be if we remember that God is the one doing the teaching. If it were up to us to learn, we’d be hopeless. But God Himself is providing everything we need to join Him in His purposes now.
Time and Attention
So is there anything we can do? First, we show up for class. This is sometimes so simple we forget to do it. God really only wants two things from us: our Time and our Attention. We usually don’t grumble (too much) when others make a claim on them, but somehow, perhaps because we don’t see a quick response, we have a hard time giving our time and attention to God. Second, we work on the assignments He gives us. Again, this involves knowing what His ultimate agenda is, recognizing and submitting to His sovereignty, and learning to abide and rest in Him. We are to study to show ourselves approved, not to get ourselves approved. We study, do our homework, in order to reveal what He has already done. Then when the tests come — His idea of tests, at least — the changes that He has made are revealed. When we approach each day in this way His call to walk His way is exciting and encouraging, because we can depend on Him to have prepared us for each day and everything it holds. He tests us not to reveal what we have or haven’t learned, but to reveal His Son in us. And since His Son always gets an “A+”, we are assured of God’s approval in a practical way.
We also join in God’s purposes by sticking it out with Him. There will be many opportunities to settle for less, because good and better are always the greatest enemy of best. When we’ve received a little healing, or even a lot, we often stop and enjoy it a little too long, especially when, as we seek more healing, we recall the sometimes-unpleasant things that happened as part of the initial healing process.
Or we compare what God is doing in our lives with what is going on in others’. The more healing you receive, the less you will be “like” those who haven’t. You may begin to fit in less and less with your old crowd, so there will be a temptation to settle for the healing and freedom you’ve already received in order to fit in. Here a decision has to be made; since it is for freedom we’ve been set free, once you’ve tasted it and been changed by it, to turn your back on it means more to God and to your true spiritual nature than if you had never experienced freedom in the first place. Saying “enough” to the Lord is rejecting His plan, and He deals quite precisely with us in these cases, often by giving us what we want — to be left alone. So commit yourself to enduring to the end, and don’t settle for less than the absolute freedom and wholeness God intends for you.
Joining God as He works out His purposes in our lives enables us to rest and abide with confidence. When we know we’re on God’s side, we know the result is guaranteed and will be satisfying for both us and God, though it may be a hidden thing. We can face life’s guaranteed trials and tribulations with excitement, waiting to see what God is going to do, knowing that all is under His loving control. And we can step up to the plate of our own lives, knowing that God is aligning our desires, dreams, goals and aspirations with His. As we get to truly know God in an experiential way we enjoy eternal life now. Though our lives are no longer under the control of our souls, but of our spirit, the contentment experienced by our soul (and eventually our body) is well worth the sacrifice of our time, attention, and whatever demands God may place on us. Press On!
Adapted from Practical Christianity by Dianne Thomas