Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Why Are We Here?

People often come up with all kinds of answers when asked the question, "Why are we here?" However, I must admit that many times I hear answers to this very important question that have no reference to God and the crucial role of faith in Him. I am certain that without God, we really cannot know our true purpose in our lives.

Ecclesiastes chapter 1 tells us the negative effects of not knowing our purpose. Everything leads to weariness. Life becomes a "treadmill." Life will seem unfulfilling. People are restless; never satisfied or at peace. Nothing is new.

Some things seem unfixable. "What is twisted cannot be straightened" refers to the ultimate perplexity and confusion that come to us because of all the unanswered questions in life.

Solomon, writing about his own life, discovered that neither his accomplishments nor his wisdom could make him truly happy. True wisdom is found in God, and true happiness comes from pleasing Him.

Family, good career, being the best we can be, making a difference in this life, helping other people, learning and growing and appreciating our lives every day are all very important. However, we need to thank God for being here in the first place and remember that ultimately our purpose in life comes from Him through the timeless truths of His Word.

A man who labels himself atheist/agnostic often posts messages to counter and challenge Biblical principles and wisdom at my message board. He once asked me, "Do Christians help others because they’re trying to (1.) score brownie points with God, or (2.) because helping other people is the right thing to do?" Then he said, "If you picked #2, then you didn’t need God to tell you that."

My answer to point # 1 is "no". We cannot out-give God, and thus all that we do in the name of Jesus is out of gratitude and love for God and not out of obligation or "brownie points".

Look at the following verse:

Isaiah 64:6 - For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
New American Standard Bible © 1995 Lockman Foundation

The same verse in the NLT version:

Isaiah 64:6 - We are all infected and impure with sin. When we proudly display our righteous deeds, we find they are but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall. And our sins, like the wind, sweep us away.
New Living Translation © 1996 Tyndale Charitable Trust

Someone else at the message board stated that Christians aren't doing a very good job and she cited the pedophile priest scandal.

I sincerely think that the priests who were involved with the sexual abuse of young, and teenaged boys happened as a result of them being a "broken vessel". Despite their desire to be priests, they also had allowed themselves to engage in abominable behavior.

Blaise Pascal, a French physicist and philosopher of the 17th century said, "There is a God-shaped vacuum in every heart." I think that many people who go astray, try to fill that "vacuum" with substitutes...often very unhealthy ones too. They fill that vacuum up with everything but God.

The Bible discusses "broken clay vessels" in Jeremiah 18:4 (NIV). We might expect most broken vessels to end up in a trash heap somewhere. But God can reach down and if we allow him to, God, as the "potter" can "form us into another pot, shaping it (us) as seems best to him."

I pray that these priests will allow God to do this for them.

As our conversation continued, she said that she is disappointed in the teens she knows. Many are not involved with helping the poor and she suggested giving up the money that would have been spent on just one Christmas gift for the teen and, instead, donate that money to a needy family. Bless her heart! A great idea.

However, we might be pleasantly surprised to hear that there are many kids and teens who do that very thing! And, many are volunteering at churches, missions, soup kitchens. Unfortunately, their volunteerism goes mostly unnoticed by the press and TV news.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NIV) - Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work. If one falls down, his friend can help him up....A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

The words of the Teacher in Ecclesiastes capture the importance of our uniting with our brothers and sisters in Christ, for just as a rope with many strands is strong, so is the man or woman (or teen!) of God who labors with another Christian. The tasks for helping the poor and needy can seem insurmountable. But with each of us binding together with one or more people, we can make a difference for one person and/or family at a time.

One of the reasons we don't always hear about people doing good for the poor and needy is because "bad" news sells in newspapers, radio and TV. The 700 Club often has humanitarian stories that include teens.

Jesus told us in the Bible that we would always have the poor among us. We are to do our best to help...even if it is only one soul or family at a time...even if we are not recognized and/or rewarded for our efforts; for "great is our reward in heaven" rather than the "material things" here on this earth.

We are to set our sights on things that will matter for eternity, rather than those things which only last for a brief time. One day the earth with "pass away" but the Word of God lives forever. We should be concerned about both feeding the bodies of the poor, as well as sharing the "hope that is in us". We are called to do both, and that "hope within us" is Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

I just love Michael W. Smith's music. This song just came on and I wanted to share the lyrics here:

Here I Am

There's a place where I can go
Where the angels hear me pray
I want to change
Yes I need Your touch
I'm waiting here for You
And I fall, at Your feet
I'll give it all, until the day we meet

Here I am
Ready to give up my life for the One
Here I am
Ready to pour out my heart for the Son
Here I am
Here I come to Your threshing floor
Where the angels fear to tread
I'm waiting here for the King of love
And to hold the hands that bled
And I fall, at Your feet
I'll give it all, until the day we meet

Listen to a Here I Am music clip. Scroll down to #16 and click on the words "Here I Am."

Ready to pour out my heart, for the Son!


Anna said...

Hi Christine!

Great post! Many people think of coming to Christ as just "fire insurance." Yet, accepting Christ is just the first step. Sin knocked us off El Camino Real, the Royal Road. You see God has a plan for each of our lives, which fits into His overall purpose. Accepting Christ gets us back on the road. At that point, the journey has only begun.

As we grow from spiritual babes to mature believers, we learn to discern between good and evil. We learn the character of God. As we renew our minds with the Word of God and walk in obedience to Him, we are transformed into His likeness (character).

Our time here is short. Let's make it count for eternity.


Christinewjc said...

anna said: "Accepting Christ gets us back on the road. At that point, the journey has only begun."

When I think back about my life in the past I still cringe. I think about how I was before Christ came into my heart and I'm so far better off now. He changed me for the better. Oh yes. I had times of happiness, of course, but not the joy that I now have. A joy that can never be taken away!

Yes. The journey only begins at the point of conversion. "Working out our salvation" is a life long journey of sanctification.

Phillipians 2:12 - Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

Susan Smith said...

Christine: This is a beautiful message of hope for all who have ears to hear. You said: "The Bible discusses "broken clay vessels" in Jeremiah 18:4 (NIV). We might expect most broken vessels to end up in a trash heap somewhere. But God can reach down and if we allow him to, God, as the "potter" can "form us into another pot, shaping it (us) as seems best to him.""

My life was broken all to pieces by lesbianism, sexual lust and alcohol abuse. My attitude was terrible and I did not love myself during those years of rampant and abominable sin in my life. I had no idea how to love others with the lasting love of God. My pain from rejection by others was unbearable at times and the things I did to my body and mind were demonic in nature as I tried over and over to find relief from the pain. God delivered me!

I praise the Lord for continuing to mold and shape my life today. God is love and Love NEVER fails. Jesus the Messiah is my deliverer and He continues to save/deliver me daily.

Much love from East Talpiot. (ss)