I want to start this post with this verse in mind…
Philippians 2:13NIV “For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose”
I am sure you have asked yourself and people have asked you; “what is your purpose in life?” or “what do you think your calling is?” I know I have asked these questions to myself numerous times throughout my life. When I read this verse from Philippians it hit me. The question on calling and purpose have halfway been answered through this verse. It is God who works in us to will and act. This tells me that God does the work in our life to fulfill His purpose in our life. But, there is one important thing we must do for God to work in us. We must allow Christ into our life through a relationship with Him, so He can work in us to fulfill His good purpose.
If we invite the Lord into our life and establish that close relationship with Him, He will show us the way to our calling and purpose. This is where most people get stuck as they try and figure their life out by trying different things to discover what their calling is. For some people this could come naturally, but for most out there it can be a long drawn out discovery process. Your calling can be multiple things throughout your lifetime. It can be a calling to serve somewhere, it can be a calling to lead somewhere, or it can be a calling to play in a worship band at the age of 65, you never can tell what God has in store for you if you don’t communicate with Him and get close to Him. So, first thing is first, seek the Lord, then seek your calling.
Seeking a relationship with Christ and understanding His word can help you to recognize His will and His good purpose. You must strengthen your spiritual life through prayer and worship, and be spiritually cognizant of how He works through you daily. Through understanding you will realize that He is providing you with direction and all you must do is follow it. You are the one driving, but God is giving you the directions.
If you are at that point where you think you will never be called to do anything, then it’s time to strengthen your relationship with God. If you feel you have a strong relationship with Him but are still having a difficult time finding your calling, then maybe it’s time for you to start putting in more effort. God will pave the way in this relationship with Him, but He is not going to hand you a future on a silver platter. He wants you to pursue it and work for it.
God’s calling for you is a gift that you need to discover. When you do, you need to own it with all your heart and soul by putting in every ounce of effort to make it possible. When you put in your work, God will do His work in you to fulfill His good purpose!
I added some core values to the Framework to Life that essentially set up the foundation. Like every house or building that is built, it starts on a strong foundation. Consider these values the materials that create the foundation for this framework to stand on.
Faith: This is having trust in what you cannot see in front of you. First, you must have faith in Jesus Christ that He is your Lord and Savior, and through Him, you will have eternal life. If you have faith in the Lord, you understand that faith in yourself becomes stronger because of the empowerment of the Holy Spirit that dwells within you. So everything you do as you strive toward achievement is driven by the Spirit as long as you have faith. Faith is the number one value, because without faith, the other values that follow are not as valuable.
Ambitious heart: This is your heart’s desire to achieve. Heart is the key word here. Without heart, there is neither true purpose nor desire. Your heart is the epicenter of everything you do, from the birth of your vision all the way to making it a reality. It’s what drives the character and attitude that shape who you are. Ambition keeps your heart pumping for the achievement that you desire.
Continuous Knowledge: Knowledge leads to understanding which results in wisdom. You must apply all knowledge that is relevant, so your vision is clear through understanding. Knowledge must flow continuously!
Quality Effort: Everything you do, and perform, toward achievement has value toward the end result. To give effort the most value, you have to strive for perfection with the understanding of how important it is toward your vision. No matter how small it is, if it is something that gets you closer to achievement, value every second of the effort as you perform to the highest standard. No one is perfect, but that does not mean we can’t strive for it.
Faithful Perseverance: Perseverance is your determination that will get you through the tough times and allow you to keep pushing toward achievement. If you add faith and perseverance together, this means you trust that the Lord will guide you, protect you, and be with you all the way to the end. Faithful perseverance is powerful and unstoppable!
This past weekend I had an awesome time of praise and worship at Heavenfest in Morrison, Colorado. It was 2 days of watching Christian musicians from a variety of genres. The crowd was people of all ages praising and worshiping our Lord Jesus Christ all day and all night. The weather was hot but it was worth it. There was one Christian rapper that stood out to me because of the messages that he shared upon the stage. They were messages that needed to be heard by all that were there, especially the younger generation. The rapper goes by the name Propaganda. I found this one particular message that everyone must hear and share.
I just came back from a long much needed vacation. Which is the reason I have been off the weekly rhythm. It gave me time to think about this next post because this one is about my favorite topic, faith! To me, this is the most important piece of armor out of all of them. Without faith everything else becomes vulnerable. What good is righteousness without faith? What good is salvation without faith? What good is truth and peace without faith? Faith in general means to have trust and to believe in a reality that is unseen through the human eye. God wants us to have faith within our hearts because that is where He wants us to feel His presence. Feeling the presence of God working through our hearts is much greater than any of the five senses that He has given us to fully function on this earth. If we have Christ in our hearts it will be in our nature to trust in God as He works through us. This is what faith is! Faith is initially gained by accepting the Lord into our life as a young believer and then as we gain wisdom through God’s Word our faith becomes a shield that protects us so the relationship between us and the Lord becomes inseparable.
A soldier in battle holds their shield out in front of them to take any blow that comes from the enemy. Paul mentions that it protects us from the fiery arrows that come from the enemy. He doesn’t mention just arrows but fiery arrows. Fiery arrows are intended to do widespread damage so it can affect multiple soldiers at once. They can also cause enough damage so that the armor on the soldier will be ineffective if it becomes engulfed in flames. From a spiritual perspective the enemy wants to hit us personally and everyone around us. They will shoot whatever they have to disrupt our relationships between family, friends, and most importantly our relationship with Jesus Christ. However, if we hold our shield out in front and stand strong in faith, everything behind our shield is protected. The fiery arrows from the enemy can be great enough to burn through our breastplate, our helmet, and deliver enough damage that will inhibit us from reaching our sword to fight back if we are burned bad enough. Our shield is described as our faith because behind faith lies our righteous hearts, our minds on salvation, our focus on God’s truth and peace.
There are a lot of believers that tend to lose faith during times of trials. They may think the struggle is impossible to overcome. If these believers can just read God’s Word, and understand that these times of trials and tribulations are when God wants us to communicate with Him the most. These trials are the ultimate test to faith but there are a lot of us that give up or forget that He is there waiting to hear our voice call His name.
Ephesians 6:15 (NIV) “and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.”
As you know by reading the whole armor of God, the Apostle Paul is telling us how we need to suit up for spiritual warfare. In Ephesians 6:15 he is telling us we need to be fitted with readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. To be ready in the sense of spiritual warfare means to be mentally and emotionally willing to battle with peace in our heart. How can a soldier in battle have a peaceful heart with intent to destroy their enemy? So having a peaceful heart in a spiritual battle means that you have a full understanding of God’s Truth. As you consistently read and listen to God’s Word you realize that the enemy is already defeated through your faith. If you know that you are already victorious through Christ, then why have anguish and fear through the many battles in life? The more you absorb scripture into your heart, the more fitted you will be with God’s Word. Paul uses the word “readiness” along with being “fitted”. Once you have the gospel fitted in your life, it is time to prepare and be ready for battle with peace of mind. Peace in Greek means rest and quietness, so in other words you can say the gospel of peace is our good news of rest. Rest, as in resting our soul and letting Jesus Christ handle the issues of spiritual warfare. Throughout life we all have issues that we struggle with. As I mentioned in my previous post regarding the pillars of sin, these issues can be those pillars that the enemy has built up within us. Tearing them down can be a struggle which is a spiritual battle that takes place within our heart, mind, and soul. We just need to keep it in our minds that the enemy is already defeated. We just need to stand behind the Lord and have faith that he is there to deliver us from the wickedness of this world.
Matthew 11:28 (NIV) “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
What is truth? The definition of truth is fact that has been confirmed. God’s truth is His living Word that has been confirmed throughout time. It is everything from Genesis to Revelation and nothing more. As Christians, you don’t just believe in it, you walk in it. In Ephesians 6:14 Paul begins describing the armor of God with the belt of truth because the truth is where everything starts as a believer in Christ. If you don’t have the full truth or if you become misled with something additional that could twist the truth, then you are not walking in God’s full truth. So what is the meaning behind the belt? Back in Paul’s day a belt was used by Roman soldiers to protect their midsection, it would keep the soldier upright in posture as they walk with heavy armor. The belt would also keep other pieces of armor aligned and fastened to their body. If you look at truth in the same way a soldier is wearing a belt, you can see how important the integrity of God’s truth is. By walking in God’s truth, you will remain upright with integrity and your righteousness will remain aligned with it.
When you understand the Word of God and have faith in His salvation, it begins to change who you are as an individual. This transformation takes place in the heart. Paul mentions the breastplate of righteousness as a part of God’s armor. The actual breastplate of a Roman soldier would protect the chest and the upper torso in battle. It protects the internal organs, the ribs, and of course the most vital organ, the heart. The heart that Paul is referring to though, is not the physical heart but the heart that ascertains who you are as a person. Your heart is what makes you a one of a kind individual. The heart of a person is where everything comes from such as personalities, emotions, character, and other elements that can make up a person’s nature. God wants you to change your nature. He wants you to change the person you are now to one of righteousness. He wants you to change your mindset, your morals and the standards you live by. He wants you to put on the breastplate of righteousness by living with a righteous heart that thrives under righteous values.
With all the distractions the world puts in front of you, you have to keep your spiritual heart pumping. If your spiritual heart stops pumping, the Holy Spirit within you stops flowing. A righteous heart keeps the Holy Spirit alive inside of you. Your body becomes a temple for the Holy Spirit. So when God’s Spirit thrives through you, you begin to notice changes in your actions. So when Paul tells you to put on the breastplate of righteousness, he is saying to uphold the righteous values that you need to live by, no matter what the circumstances are. So how do we have a righteous heart? It is done through faith and by living under the values that bring glory to the Lord in everything you do. Living for the Lord means you have left the old you by being born again. We are all born in the flesh but the new you, is born in the Spirit!
Bible Challenge: What is the difference between your heart, soul, and spirit?
Look up these three Greek terms (Psyche, Pneuma, Kardia) in any concordance and answer the question above. This challenge can help you get an understanding of how these terms correlate with each other.