“He was made to do that.”
“It’s like her whole life has built up to this one point.”
“That has to be their whole purpose in life.”
Every now and again we watch a person perform some beautiful accomplishment and say one of those phrases. It seems that their very creation and all of their life experiences have conspired to bring them to this particular point in time. In John 1:6-9, we read a passage about John the Baptist that seems to be a great summary of this idea.
There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify about the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but he came to testify about the light. The true light that gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.
John had one of the great “so that” reasons for living. The whole of his existence was so that he could fulfill this great destiny. Jonathan Edwards understood this kind of idea. He once stated, “God’s purpose for my life was that I have a passion for God’s glory and that I have a passion for my joy in that glory, and that these two are one passion.” In this passage, we learn that when we focus on God’s glory, we will experience great joy in fulfilling God’s purposes for our life.
John the Baptist pointed to the Light. The entirety of John’s life (Luke 1:76-77) was to highlight Jesus’ arrival. When verse six states that John was “sent from God,” it is not a generalized statement. Instead, the Greek term apostello is employed to indicate that he is sent by one in authority to accomplish a specific task. He came as a witness and to testify about Jesus. These two terms are from the same root and could be translated as “He came to be a testifying testifier” or “He came as a witnessing witness.” John’s “so that” was to testify about Jesus in such a way that everyone would believe in Christ.
Jesus is the true Light. The statement that Jesus is the “true light” was a confrontation of the false lights in the world. The Christ was arriving into the world and would prove all the rest to be imposters. The concept of the Incarnation is not something to pass by quickly. Other religious posers offered spiritual insight to some people; especially those who would pay or show moral conformity. Jesus is the “true light that gives light to everyone.”
So what do we do with these two dynamic concepts?
1. God has an assignment for you. We wonder if God has a plan like us in the same way He did for John the Baptist. He does. As a member of the Body of Christ, you are a part of the whole work of God being accomplished through the church. Each part has a purpose. Ephesian 2:10 says, For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do. You were created for the good works that God has planned. You are a work of art that He planned to participate in His great mission in the world. Discovering your purpose is not complicated but it does take relational commitment. When we recognize that our God is a sending and generous God, then we are released to be a going and giving people. Being sent is always better than being stationary.
2. You have an identity that should be reflected in your activity. The world does not just vie for your attention. It desperately wants you allegiance. As Christians, we have given our whole lives to Jesus. So don’t allow the world to give you poor substitutes for what Christ is doing in you. We are now the witnessing witnesses to God’s beautiful grace. Dig into your identity in Christ and allow it to live through you.
3. Our greatest work is to help someone else believe. We are reconciled to God so that we can be ministers of reconciliation. We are saved and can introduce everyone else to this great salvation. Ask yourself: “Who needs me to give them a testimony of Jesus’ saving power?”
What is your “so that” in life? We all have a purpose. We are all showcases for God’s grace. But the Lord has specific work for you to do in this specific time and in some specific place. As we seek intimacy with God, we will come to know that purpose. But seek intimacy first. I’ll end with the words of Jonathan Edwards:
God is the highest good of the reasonable creature. The enjoyment of him is our proper; and is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. Better than fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, or children, or the company of any, or all earthly friends. These are but shadows; but the enjoyment of God is the substance. These are but scattered beams; but God is the sun. These are but streams; but God is the fountain. These are but drops, but God is the ocean.
As part of my sermon series through the Gospel of John, I’ll be posting summaries of my messages and sermon notes. You can listen to the messages at FirstBradenton.com.